Fortune cookies are signature desserts that represent China & America.
The taste is lightly sweet, with a crispy texture, with a hidden fortune inside. It is a perfect blend of American and Chinese cultures. It’s a fun dessert to make and eat.
That’s why I named my blog and called myself the Fortune Cookie Mom.
Also, in my first name, one of the Chinese characters is the character for “sweet”.
I have moved to America, became a mother, and a homeschooling blogger. The journey has been full of fun, surprises, and sweet experiences.
That’s why Fortune Cookie Mom is a perfect name for my blog.
So, I guess it is only fair that I teach you how to make them.
More than that, I’m going to share activities and tips for teaching kids Chinese while you make them. This will be an excellent family activity!
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Table of Contents
What is a Fortune Cookie?
Guess what? I have never eaten any fortune cookies in Hong Kong, It wasn’t until I went to the United State to study that I had my first fortune cookie.
Yup. I have never seen one in China.
Some tell tales of legendary stories about how and when the first fortune cookie came to be.
But no matter what, we know its creation happened in a Chinese restaurant in California. It was a dessert after meals, and the most important thing was the fortune inside.
It is also called:
- 幸運籤餅/ 幸运籤饼 (xìng yùn qiān bǐng/ hang6 wan6 cim1 beng2)
- 簽語餅/ 簽語饼 (qiān yǔ bǐng/ cim1 jyu5 beng2)
- 幸運甜餅/ 幸运甜饼 (xìng yùn tián bǐng/ hang6 wan6 tim4 beng2)
- 幸福餅乾/ 幸福饼干 (xìng yùn tián bǐng/ hang6 fuk1 beng2 gon1)
- 占卜餅/ 占卜饼 (zhàn bǔ bǐng/ zim3 buk1 beng2)
Nowadays, fortune cookies are a great gift, snack, or dessert.
When homemade they create memorable opportunities to write and remember Chinese characters.
But if you don’t want to make them yourselves you can order custom ones online. But whether you make them or buy them they are great for the Chinese New Year, any parties, or other occasions.
What are some good fortune cookie sayings?
Most of the fortunes contain quotes or phrases that encourage and brighten your day.
Chinese loves messages promoting good health, relationships, wealth, beauty, and happiness in life.
Avoid these things in your fortunes! They are bad luck in Chinese Culture
To those who are superstitious, these are bad luck.
- Number 4 – It means death, so you cannot find the 4th floor in most of the buildings in China.
- When ravens or crows appear
- Placing chopstick straight up in a rice bowl – signifies feeding the dead
- Breaking a mirror
- Opening an umbrella inside your home
- Any black cats pass by and more
I have prepared FREE Chinese & English fortune messages for you to download at the end of this blog post.
How to Make Homemade Fortune Cookies
I searched for recipes to make the best homemade fortune cookies.
I found recipes with corn starch and without it, I tried both. I even tried a waffle cone recipe as well.
None of them became crispy like the ones from Panda Express or store-bought ones.
All turned out soggy and limp.
I tried and tried to make the perfect crispy fortune cookie and finally, I did it!
It was like a science project for me, and today I’m going to show you how to do it.
About the Recipe
I have tried and tested many recipes and this is the one I prefer.
It is not a complicated food to make, but it does take practice and patience. It is worth it and it’s such a fun food to make with kids as well.
Watch How to Make Fortune Cookies
Ingredients You Need
- 3 Egg whites
- 3 Tbsp White Sugar
- 1/2 Vanilla Extract
- 4 Tbsp Melted Butter
- 2 Tbsp Water
- 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- Melted chocolate (optional)
- Chopped nuts (optional)
- Gold Star sprinkles, red rice-paper sprinkles (optional)
- Food coloring (optional)
To make vegan gluten-free fortune cookies
Substitute with the following items:
- 6 Tbsp water from canned chickpeas (replace the egg white)
- 4 Tbsp Canola oil (replace melted butter)
- 1/2 cup Gluten-free baking flour (replace all-purpose flour)
- Baking sheet with a silicone baking mat
- Cotton gloves [MUST HAVE] (to protect your hands from the heat)
- Bowl (to make the shape)
- Muffin tin (to form the shape)
- Spatula (to flip the cookies)
- Zip-log bag (to store the cookies)
- Paper Towel (to absorb the extra oil away from the cookies)
- Parchment paper (to put it underneath while decorating)
- Stopwatch/timer (I use my Smart Watch, it’s amazing!)
1. Write/ print at least 15 strips of fortune messages to put inside the cookies.
(I made you some FREE one, just keep scrolling down!)
2. Preheat the oven to 355°F / 180°C (gluten-free 340°F/177°C), and put a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat inside.
3. Place all the supplies on the counter.
Make the Fortune Cookies
1. In a small saucepan or microwave, melt the butter in low heat, then remove from heat.
2. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat egg white and sugar until it forms foam.
3. Add vanilla extract, melted butter, and water, and whip until incorporated.
4. Add salt and flour until smooth.
(If you want to add food coloring, it’s time to add a couple of drops in the batter).
Shape the Fortune Cookies
1. Pour 1 tablespoon of batter onto the heated baking sheet.
Spread with the back of the spoon to form a round, thin circle about 3 to 4-inches in diameter.
2. Repeat with another spoonful and make a maximum of 4 circles at a time.
3. Bake until cookies light yellow or the edge turn light golden for 5-7 minutes/ about 8 minutes for the gluten-free one.
4. Bring the baking sheet out of the oven. Use the spatula to separate the baking mat and cookies.
5. Place a fortune message in the middle of the cookie, and then quickly fold the semicircle over the edge of each cookie.
6. Place it down unto the rim of the mug or bowl to gently create the fortune cookie shape with your cotton gloves on.
7. Hold the two corners of the cookie while placing it in the muffin tin to hold its shape while cooling.
8. Repeat the process until all the cookies are made. Let the cookies cool down.
Make it Crispy [That’s the secret!]
YES!! It’s CORRECT! (A lot of people asked me about that…)
I have tried MANY ways to make the fortune cookies as crispy as the store-bought one!
This is the ONLY way!
If you know other ways to make them crispy, please let me know.
Anyways, here is the secret!
1. Once the oven has mostly cooled down, set it to 180°F/ 82°C or keep warm setting, and place all the cookies back in the oven while they are still in the muffin tins.
2. Bake them for 6-8 hours. And store them in an air-tight container or bag for later.
** For the Gluenton-free one, since it’s easier to stay crispy, so only baked in the muffin tins for 2 hours at 170°F/ 76°C.
To decorate the fortune cookies
2. Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter, and then dip the cookies in and/or drizzle them with chocolate and other decorations such as nuts, sprinkles.
- Vanilla extract alternatives – almond extract, rose water, or cocoa powder.
- Don’t make them too big! The batter will spread, then they won’t fit in the muffin tin.
- Don’t bake them too long. Light yellow is ok!
- After the cookies have baked you need to shape them immediately. So don’t bake more than 4 at a time.
- Baking times can differ from oven to oven, so watch closely especially for the first two batches.
- Want to know how to best melt the chocolate? Here is a link to help.
- Want to add decorations like sprinkles after baking? Here is a link with great info.
How to Store Each Fortune Cookies
The best way is to store them in an air-tight container for later.
If you want to crisp your leftover cookies up, bake them in a preheated oven at 130°C/260°F for 6 minutes or so.
Making Fortune Cookies with Kids
It’s true, it’s much easier to cook without kids, especially when you don’t have a large kitchen. It gets crowded. It is also easy to feel stressed about how the food will turn out and for our kid’s safety. A lot is going on and a lot can go wrong.
So to help cut the stress I have my kids take turns helping me with the fortune cookies. It worked out great.
I divided the process into different jobs for my younger and older kids to do. This way we all had fun helping make them.
For younger kids (under 5)
Only let younger kids help with the beginning process. Such as, going shopping and mixing the ingredients.
They won’t help shape the fortune cookies after they are baked, because they are very hot and fragile to make.
I will invite them to look into the oven and see the fortune cookies turn yellow. While they are watching I take the opportunity to teach them what’s hot and how to say it in Chinese.
For Older Kids (age 5+)
Give older children a pair of cotton gloves to wear. They can learn to fold the cookies into the right shape while being safe.
Also, let them set the timer. It’s a great exercise for learning to use a timer or watch.
It’s a great experience for them to overcome the fear of heat, and you get an extra hand to help fold the cookies. It may or may not be faster but it is a good experience.
While waiting for the next batch, chat about what fortune cookies are, about the fortunes
s to learn Chinese while making & eating Fortune Cookies
- Cook together and learn Chinese vocab and phrases for cooking
- Review Chinese Characters by putting vocab/phrases taught recently inside the fortune cookies
- Learn new characters by allowing your kids to try and read the fortunes in each cookie
- Create an Order Sentences Game. Put 2-4 Chinese characters inside the cookies and allow your kids to order them to make sentences.
- Make sentences using vocabulary from the cookies.
- Write fortunes as a family before making fortune cookies
- Make fortune cookies as gifts and deliver them to friends. Have the kids read and tell them what the fortunes mean
What other ways can making fortune cookies be a Chinese learning opportunity?
Feel free to leave a comment below of other activities you think of.
Freebies: fortune Cookies MEssage
I have prepared FREE Chinese & English fortune cookie messages for you and your kids to use.
It’s great to write and create your own, but when you have no time these will come in handy.
The first page is the normal typical fortune seen in store-bought fortune cookies, all in English.
32 English fortune messages in a total.
In the 2-4th pages, 32 fortunes from famous quotes and phrases from Chinese books, well-known Chinese educators, and other well-known authors and educators from all over the world are included.
William Shakespeare, John Ruskin, Alighieri Dante, Abraham Lincoln, etc.
- English, Traditional Chinese with Jyutping
- English, Traditional Chinese with Pinyin
- English, Simplified Chinese with Pinyin
Making Fortune cookies is an uplifting and Chinese educational learning experience. It is a fun way to experience the Chinese culture with kids.
<<<Grab both my fortune cookies’ recipe
+ Chinese & English fortune messages below>>>
Want to try the FREE version? Click the button below and sign up!
If you have already subscribed to my email list, you can find this freebie in the Chinese Resource Library.
Do you like this activity and the recipe?
If you use this freebie and make fortune cookies, share your experience. Tag @fortunecookiemom on Facebook and Instagram to share with me. We would love to celebrate with you.
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Homeschooling/ Teaching Chinese at Home Tips
- How to Start Teaching Chinese at Home
- An Interview about My Homeschooling life in Hong Kong
- How to Write a Year-Long Bilingual Homeschooling Plan (Series of Blog Posts)
- How to Create a Language Rich Environment to Learn Chinese at Home
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- Writing Chinese Characters: 10 tips for teaching young children how to write Chinese characters
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- Homeschooling in Hong Kong: The Fortune Cookie Mom from Honey! I’m Homeschooling My Kids
You Are Not Doing it Alone
Join my Facebook support group to meet and get connections with parents and educators with the same goals.
After being a member, you can attend all the special LIVE training, events, and activities together.
身为职业妈妈的我,常常牺牲睡眠来自作教材。版主全方位学习的新年教材真让我省下不少宝贵的时间找资料。四岁的女儿对中文学习有点抗拒。我们善用版主提供的迷你故事书和生字卡来增强她对语文的认识。版主的中文单词棋盘游戏更让女儿投入学习, 因为她想赢嘛！版主的教材可让小孩边玩边学, 太棒了。
This is the second 5-Day Challenge that we have done with Fortune Cookie Mom. Both have been very beneficial to our family. I am a homeschool mom of three little kids. We are not Chinese and do not speak any Chinese. With the help of Fortune Cookie Mom, we are slowly learning! The challenges have given me fun activities to do at home with the kids. Each one has reignited my kid's interest in learning. It has been a fun experience for everybody!