Thursday, February 4, 2010
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” I've been having an interior dialogue with Robert Browning today. You see, he wrote those words to comfort me. He knew that hubris would one day be my undoing. Make no mistake about it, I've been undone and it's time to "man" up. The cookie you see is the sole survivor of a kitchen experiment gone awry. This one hurts. These hands have spun sugar, boned duck and fashioned puff pastry so flaky and crisp that grown men have been known to weep and plead for mercy. These hands were sure they could make quick work of this task. After all, how hard could it be? Some flour, a little sugar, an egg or two, and, voila, home made fortune cookies. What could possibly be simpler? I had written special fortunes and color coded them so I'd know who should receive each of the cookies I'd baked. They were to be a special treat for Chinese New Year. I followed the recipe to a tee, but sensed from the get-go that I was in trouble. The thin batter rippled as as I smoothed the cookies on parchment paper. First note to self! Bake the cookies on silpat pads rather than parchment paper. Second note to self! Work with one cookie at a time, unless your hands suddenly develop a speed that rivals that of a hummingbird's wings. By the time I finished with one cookie, the others were unmalleable. Third note to self! Call Lok Yuan and order a hundred fortune cookies. After all, it's the thought that counts. I don't doubt this recipe is doable. The cookies are delicious and, if you're dexterous, a snap to make. I'm not dexterous. If you have time and are nimble, they're well worth a try. Here's the recipe.
Fortune Cookies...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Sara Perry and Nancy McDermott
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a reusable nonstick liner or parchment paper. Place fortune strips in a small bowl. Set out a measuring cup and a 12-cup muffin tin to help form cookies while they are hot.
2) Whisk flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl until well-blended. Add oil, egg whites, orange zest and juice and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
3) Working with just two cookies at a time and leaving 3 inches between them, drop batter from a level tablespoon measure onto prepared baking sheet. Using back of a spoon or an offset spatula, spread each portion of batter into a 4-inch diameter circle. Bake until edges start to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
4) Using a thin, flexible spatula, lift each cookie off baking pan. Place a fortune strip in center of each cookie, then quickly fold in half. Pick up and drape over edge of measuring cup, gently pressing edges down to form standard fortune cookie shape. Place shaped cookies into muffin cups to complete cooling. Continue baking and shaping until all batter has been used. Store airtight. Yield: 12 cookies.