You see these simple confectionary treats at every Chinese restaurant you go to, but fortune cookies actually originated from Japan. Around World War II, Chinese-Americans started manufacturing the cookies, altering the recipe, but keeping the tradition of accompanying a fortune with each cookie.

My idea for cranberry cardamom cookies came because I thought that fortune cookies were super underrated - probably because it’s associated with inexpensive Chinese takeout. But when you think about it, the cookie itself is actually quite unique, and when dressed up, it can become gourmet quite quickly.

So, before I go any further, I want to say that the making of this cookie is not for the faint of heart. Anyone, who has made tuille cookies or home-made ice cream cones before know that factors like temperature and “doneness” of the cookie has to be just right when you shape it. If you take it out of the oven early, the cookie won’t shape up. If you take it out too late or wait too long before shaping, the cookie will harden and crack. And so, be warned. You will most likely have to make several rounds of cookies before perfecting the technique and guaging what state the cookie should be in for shaping.

But if you’re still reading this, my guess is you’re up for the challenge, and so here are my tips.

  • When making your first round of cookies, note the factors and techniques, which need to be standardize for the makings of a good fortune cookie e.g. thickness of how you spread the batter, oven temperature, time needed to baked.
  • Make sure to have everything ready by the time you take the cookies out to shape them. Don’t wait too long or they will harden.
  • Make the cookies 2 or 3 at a time, otherwise they will also harden and you’ll have yourself a bunch of leftover flat fortune cookies.
  • When shaping the cookies, don’t make a hard fold. It is much easier to get a puffed-out fortune cookie if you shape it by holding onto the tops and then folding it over the edges of a cup or bowl.

All righty, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s go on with the recipe.

Directions

1. Write fortunes on strips of paper about 3-inches long and 1/4 inch wide. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Finely dice 1/4 cup of dried cranberries. Set aside.

3. In a bowl, mix together the cranberries, flour, cornstarch, cardamom and salt together.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat together egg whites and sugar until soft peaks. Add in dry mixture.

5. Add in oil and the vanilla and almond extracts.

6. Place 2-3 mounds of batter, about a tablespoon each, onto a silicone cookie sheet. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter into 3-inch circles. Leave room as the cookies will spread.

6. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown about 12-14 minutes.

7. Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. Without pressing to form a crease, gently fold cookie over to make a loose half-moon shape. Holding the cookie at the edges, pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass or bowl. Keep your hands on the cookie to hold the form until it hardens slightly. Let cool in muffin tins to help keep the cookies shape.

Notice cracking on the left side. Keep folds loose.

8. Ready to be eaten or packaged as gifts!!

Ingredients

(Makes 12-15 cookies)

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract