Fortune cookies are served in “Chinese” restaurants around the world except China. It is so true because these oddly shaped, crispy cookies originated in Japan, not China.
Japanese immigrants or Japanese-Americans in California used to own many restaurants that served Americanized Chinese food. They were responsible for introducing these cookies to Americans as early as before World War II.
As these cookies gained popularity, Chinese bakers eventually started making them, but again not in China. In 1980, a U.S. fortune cookie maker attempted to introduce them in China, but the effort was fruitless.
Over ten years later, a Japanese researcher, Yasuko Nakamachi, located a drawing dated back in 1878 depicting Japanese bakers making fortune cookies1. This only confirmed their origin.
Making them at home is a fun activity that children probably love to help, especially with the shaping part. Just take your time and understand that practice makes perfect.
|Confectioners’ sugar||¼ cup|
|Egg white||1 large|
|Vanilla extract||1 tsp|
|A pinch of salt|
|All purpose flour||¼ cup|
|10 – 14 strips of paper (3″ x ½” each) with fortunes|
For larger cookie baskets, use a tablespoon of batter instead of a teaspoon.
The possibilities of shaping these hot cookies are limited only by your imagination.
1Lee, Jennifer – The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Twelve Books – 2008.