I absolutely love Chinese New Year. It’s such a fun holiday filled with tradition and excitement, and it’s just so exciting. And the year of the Horse this year? That’s really exciting. Today begins a very important celebration in the Chinese calendar… so important that it’s the longest holiday celebrated in their year. Because the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the month starts on the darkest day of the lunar month (the first of the lunar month) and continuing until the brightest night, often the 15th day of the lunar month.
This recipe is so easy, that it is perfect for children to bake with supervision! This post will also give you a chance to brush up on some Chinese New Year and Fortune Cookie facts, so you can learn more about these cookies, and New Year tradition, while you bake together!
While fortune cookies aren’t inherently Chinese, they ARE delicious, and I had to try my hand at creating an Asian-inspired cookie that tastes very similar to a fortune cookie, complete with fortune printables for you!
The first step to these cookies is to download the printable found at the bottom of this post, and cut apart the fortunes. Trust me, you don’t want to start the cookies without doing this step, or they’ll break when you try to roll them, as they’ll have cooled too much. It’s good to do this step first.
So, with this being the year of the horse, it’s important to realize that those born in the year of the horse are considered to be cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, talented, witty, and good with their hands.
As a dragon, I’m enthusiastic, quick-witted, and sometimes a little hot-headed. But I inspire confidence, and that’s a good thing. Plus, when life knocks me down, the Chinese Zodiac says I’m dauntless and get right back up. I think Dragon suits me well!
Gather your ingredients next. You’ll also want to add white chocolate chips and sprinkles if you plan to dip them, as pictured! They’re tasty undipped, too, but they’re so pretty dipped! To be a little clearer, you’ll want 2 egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract (a little goes a long way!), 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, a generous pinch of salt, and the white chocolate and sprinkles.
Rembrandt, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, and President Theodore Roosevelt are all Horses according to Chinese Zodiac, so if you’re a horse, you’re in good company.
Start by beating the egg whites and almond extract until they’re foamy, but NOT stiff. They’ll look nice and frothy, as shown.
At Chinese New Year celebrations, people don red clothing, decorate the place with poems on red paper, and red envelopes are given to children, containing lucky money! Red is significant because it represents fire, and fire is a great way to drive away bad luck! For the same bad luck hates fire reason, fireworks are shot off in beautiful displays.
In a separate bowl, you can sift your flour, sugar, and salt.
While fortune cookies aren’t Chinese, they actually might not be Chinese-American, either. Invented in California, there’s a lot of debate about how they got their start. Today, though, they’re definitely equated with Chinese food in most Americans’ minds, just like Chop Suey (which is also not Chinese).
Slowly mix your flour mixture into your egg mixture to create a cookie batter.
A possible source of the fortune cookie is David Jung. He immigrated from China and opened a restaurant in LA. He saw poor walking the streets and, in 1918, was rumored to hand out the cookies free to give them something to eat, each containing inspirational Bible scripture, written for the restaurant owner by a minister.
Drop tablespoonfuls of the cookie batter far apart on a greased cookie sheet. Your oven should be preheated to 400.
Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese gardener living in San Francisco, is another possible source of the fortune cookie. He designed the famous tea garden in Golden Gate Park; he was fired from his gardening job when an anti-Japanese mayor took office, but later, a different mayor reinstated him! As a thank you, he decided to bake cookies with thank you notes inside, passing them out in the Japanese Tea Garden in 1914. They became so popular that they were a regular staple of the tea garden, and were even shown off at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, a World Fair in San Francisco in 1915.
Both San Francisco and Los Angeles claim the cookie, and even historical review courts can’t agree.
Spray a spoon with cooking spray and use it to spread the cookies into a wafer-thin layer. It’ll make them have a nice crispy crunch when cooked!
Originally made by hand using chopsticks, today’s fortune cookies are made by machine. For good reason, too– the largest manufacturer of fortune cookies ship out over 60 million cookies every month. That’s nearly 2 million each day!
This is when you have to work quickly, and because the cookies are SO hot, it’s a job best for adults. As soon as you pull the pan from the oven, place a fortune on it and roll the cookie up. It will be VERY hot, I’ll say again.
If you let the cookies wait more than about 45 seconds, they’ll start to crack when rolled– that’s why you need to cook only 3-4 to a pan.
If you place the folded cookies next to each other, they’ll keep each other from unwrapping themselves until they cool off a bit.
From here, you’ll want to melt white chocolate and dip the ends in the chocolate to create the dipped look shown in the first image. I also chose to sprinkle some adorable sprinkles on while the chocolate was wet.
If you’re concerned about the cookies being too hot for you to comfortably roll, are cooking with very young kids, or just don’t want to risk breaking any, you can always leave them flat. I packaged mine up a few to a bag, with a fortune in the bag! Same flavor, same fortune, less rolling.
You’ll get a dozen cookies out of the recipe! And you can fight it out amongst yourselves whether the cookies are from LA or San Francisco, but either way, no one will be arguing that the flavor is amazing!
You can download my fortune printable here!
Counting calories this Chinese New Year? These cookies clock in at only 97 calories per dipped cookie!
Do you know your Chinese Zodiac sign? Let me know in the comments below!