Friday, February 25, 2011

Today's fortune: February 25, 2011 - PHOTO ESSAY

Today's fortune: You deserve to have a good time after a hard day's work.

I couldn't agree more, fortune cookie. I put in a hard, albeit short, day's work today. Jamie did, too. And we are going to reward ourselves tonight with dinner and a movie at home.

Originally, our plans were much more flashy than that. We had intended to have a dinner party this evening, fulfilling a fortune from a few weeks ago which told me I would host a party this month. Mother Nature got in the way, however, and we postponed until next weekend when, hopefully, the weather will be better.

But Jamie and I still prepared our house and our pantry for that party. And last night we created a fun and topic-appropriate dessert: homemade fortune cookies.

You read it here first, folks: you can make fortune cookies at home.

The first step is the obvious one: you have to make your own fortunes. With the help of my wife and my brother Marty, we came up with a list of 25 or so fun fortunes. These aren't your average, every-day Confusius wisdom: we used short jokes, movie quotes, famous sayings, not-so-famous sayings and some other quality drivel. Some of the best:

That's what she said.

What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Be alert. America needs more lerts.

A guy walks into a bar. Concussion.

Home is where the house is.

(And my personal favorite) For a good time, call a party planner.

I looked up a fortune cookie recipe online, and surprisingly, there are hundreds to choose from. I picked this one from, which seemed pretty simple:

1 egg white
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar (although most AllRecipes commenters suggested cutting back to 2 tablespoons, so that's what we did)

(To paraphrase the recipe) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg white and vanilla extract together until it's foamy. Mix the dry ingredients together, and beat the egg white mixture in. Pour the batter onto a buttered cookie sheet in four equal circles. Bake for 5 minutes. Quickly fold fortunes inside before cookies harden.

Jamie and I don't bake a lot, and as a result we don't have all of the necessary tools. Instead of using a 1/4 cup measuring device, I used a 1/2 cup measurer and eyeballed it to half full. Same goes with the 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract, which we poured into a quarter-teaspoon measurer. And we don't even have a pinch-sized measuring cup. But we tried our best.

On our first attempt, the batter had the consistency of cookie dough; you couldn't exactly "pour" it onto the cookie sheet. After five minutes in the oven, our "fortune cookies," to use the term loosely, looked like this:

Can't exactly fold that around a paper fortune.

We needed to thin the batter. Jamie came up with the idea of adding a second egg white to the mixture. On the second attempt, the concoction looked more like pancake batter, which was perfect. However, when we removed the cookies from the oven, I had difficulty with the folding. The second batch turned out looking like this:

Well, it was beginning to resemble a fortune cookie, at least. But I wasn't giving up. On our third attempt, and on a few more attempts after that, we produced cookies like these:

That's what I'm talkin' about! I couldn't believe how good they looked. One cookie in particular looked so perfect that when I texted the photo to my brother, he thought I was trying to play a trick by substituting a store-bought cookie. But it's the real deal:

At the end of the ordeal, Jamie and I had made about 15 passable fortune cookies, including seven or eight really good ones. From beginning to end - not counting writing the fortunes - the process took almost three hours, or about 12 and a half minutes per cookie.

Sooooo not worth it.

But we had a lot of fun, and I enjoyed telling the story to my co-workers today.

Not only from a hard day's work, but also from a hard night making homemade cookies, Jamie and I are going to recuperate with a lovely evening in front of the Robert Duvall film Get Low. I can't wait to see it.

For dessert, we may even devour one of our fragile creations.


  1. Oh, forgot to mention how much I enjoy your sense of humor ... Those are great fortunes! My personal fav's:
    The Party Planner ...
    The fork in the road
    And my all time fav ...

    What if the Hokey Pokey ...

  2. Gotta give Jamie credit for the Hokey Pokey fortune.