Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate covered Fortune Cookies!

It's Father's Day again! Unfortunately, unlike last year, I won't be home to celebrate with my dad. It's kind of a shame because my dad is a sucker for things like that. My mom is more low-maintenance in this department (she's all practicality), but Dad has always been the softy.

Sooo...with the help of a friend, I came up with an ingenious idea for this year's Father's Day. I sent a care package - with a giant chocolate covered Fortune cookie!!! FYI, give fortune cookie makers some props because the damn thing is a lot harder to make than it looks. But after a few failed attempts, I got the hang of it and started having quite a bit of fun with the folding. It got to the point where even the friends on my floor couldn't finish them anymore, there was just too much chocolate and cookie everywhere. Oh by the way, expect a messy kitchen if you ever undertake this endeavor. Especially with the chocolate - melted chocolate is always bad news on a clean counter top.

And then there was the shipping. I was so afraid that the cookie would break while being shipped to California, so I put tons of cushioning around it. Fortunately, I order a lot of stuff off Amazon, so boxes and packing material weren't hard to come by, but it definitely did not win any points in wrapping presentation. That's okay, as long as the goods within aren't damaged right? I read online somewhere that one way of doing things was to cover the cookie in parchment paper, put it in a very tight box so that it could not move around within, stuff tissue paper/parchment paper in the holes around it, and then put that box in a bigger box, and then stuff the bigger box with more packing material.

Ever since going to medical school, I've noticed that it is harder and harder to stay connected with my parents. Back in undergrad, even though I lived far from home and rarely went back, I found it a necessity to call at least once a day - things just didn't seem right if I didn't. But with the workload and stress of medical school, the distance, and the time differences, I all too often let things slip. And what makes it harder is that I often find myself much too similar to my dad - we both share the same stubbornness, short temper, and impatience. Which is a bad combination on top of stress and sleep deprivation (a common occurrence for the both of us). So all too often, I find myself MIA for days, and then finally calling home to get into a pointless and stupid argument. Things are better now that it's summer, but once the school year starts, the workload is only going to get worse. I've got to find a better way of dealing.

But the great thing about parents is that no matter what happens, the love is always there :)

Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookies


2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons water

1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Write out your fortune. 
2. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. 
3. Add the other ingredients, then beat until all are fully incorporated. The batter should be runny but a bit viscous (like pancake batter).  
3. Now you can either use a very well greased cookie sheet pan or parchment paper (which is what I did) on a flat baking pan. Put about 4-5 tbsp of batter (more or less, depending on how big you want your cookie) in the center, then spread it around in a circle. Try to make the circle as even as possible - this will make the cookie more symmetric. Also the batter should be very thin! You should be able to sort of see the pan/paper underneath. If it is too thick (which is what I kept doing initially), you will get a soft, cake-like cookie instead of the traditional fortune cookie texture. 
4. Bake in the oven until the edges are brown and crispy. The baking time is also variable, depending on how large your cookie is. 
5. Extract from oven and IMMEDIATELY loosen from the pan/paper. WORKING QUICKLY, put the fortune in the middle, fold the circle in half, then use a bowl or cup rim to put a wedge in the center of the fold again. This is a bit hard to explain, but if you want a visual tutorial, check out this. It is important to work quickly! If the cookie cools too much before you fold, it will crack. 
6. Leave in this position until the cookie cools and hardens, then store in an airtight container (if you leave it out in the open, the moisture in the air will soften it). 
7. You can pour melted chocolate over the top, then dress with hazelnuts (which is what I did). You can also a variety of things - for color, add food coloring to the batter. You can also have other flavors of cookie by substituting different extracts as well. 

Note: if you are like me and don't plan things until the last minute, you may forget to write the fortune until after you make the cookie. What I did was just fold the fortune really small, and then stuff it into the side with a pair of chopsticks. Whatever...hopefully, the recipient will be too engrossed with your chocolate-y creation to mind too much!

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