Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I know a lot of you probably did at least some of your celebrating over the weekend, but just in case you still wanted to make a fun and festive treat for your sweetie, kids, friends or neighbors, here is one more idea.  I purposely saved these for today because they really are an simple last minute option.  Now, I know what you’re thinking – they look complicated.  But, they require only four ingredients, all of which are probably in your house right now.  And despite their looks, they are actually very simple to make.  The best kind of holiday treat – easy and impressive!  The batter does need to chill for one hour, so that gives you just enough time to write out sweet little love notes to stick inside.

The thing with these cookies is that they are all about timing.  You really only want to bake 3-4 at a time because once they come out of the oven, there is a short window for shaping.   Immediately out of the oven the cookies will be too soft to pick up, not to mention too hot to handle, so you need to wait briefly before peeling them off the parchment (20-30 seconds).  If you wait too long, the cookie will be too stiff to shape but not to worry – you can pop them back in the oven for about 15 seconds to get them flexible again.  I would just expect your first cookie or two to be an exercise in trial and error until you find exactly what works best for you.

You may want to write some fortunes or sweet notes (or jokes, like me :)) that are personalized for a particular loved one.  In that case, I recommend placing them on separate bowls for cooling, and then using a particular combination of dipping chocolate and sprinkles so that you know exactly which cookies are meant for a certain person.  These are certainly not exclusive to Valentine’s Day, and would be adorable if made to coordinate with a party or shower theme as favors.  I’ve never been all that fond of the taste of fortune cookies and usually only take one to read the fortune, not for eating.  These taste slightly better than the usual but for me, the point of these is really the novelty and not so much the taste.  Anyway, I hope some of you decide to whip these up for your special someone.  I’ll bet it brings a smile to their face!

Fortune Cookies
Printer-Friendly Version

Yield: about 20-24 cookies

For the cookies:
½ cup all-purpose or bread flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or ½ tsp. vanilla plus ½ tsp. almond extract)
2 large egg whites

For decorating (optional):
Melted chocolate or colored candy melts

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, vanilla extract and egg whites.  Process until completely blended and smooth. (Alternatively, you can use a blender or even a bowl with a whisk – just be sure there are no lumps in the batter.) Place in a covered container and chill for 1 hour.

While the batter is chilling, cut small strips of paper and write fortunes on them.

Fold up so that they will fit inside the shaped cookies.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Trace 3 or 4 3-inch circles on a piece of parchment paper.*  Flip the paper over and place on a baking sheet.

Spoon 1 teaspoon of the batter into the center of each of the drawn circles.  Gently spread the batter to fill the traced circles.

Bake for 5-6 minutes, until the cookies are just lightly browned around the edges but still light toward the the centers.

Let the cookies sit about 20-30 seconds before removing them from the parchment.

Working quickly, place one of the folded fortunes in the center of a cookie and fold the cookie over into a semi-circle.  Gently bend the cookie over the edge of a bowl or cup to bend in half.  Let sit to cool on the edge of the bowl while baking and shaping the remaining cookies.  If the cookies on the sheet become too stiff to work with, return to the oven for 15 seconds so that they become malleable again.  Repeat this process with the remaining batter, baking 3-4 cookies at a time.

Dip a portion of each cookie in melted chocolate or candy melts and sprinkles as desired.  Let chocolate set completely before packaging and serving.

*If you do not have parchment paper, you can also use a silicone baking mat sprayed very lightly with a bit of cooking spray, rubbed around in an even layer.  Another option is to use a plain baking sheet sprayed and rubbed lightly with a bit of cooking spray.  In this case, a thin metal spatula will be necessary to help remove the cookies from the baking sheet.  With both of these methods, you will have to eyeball the size of the circles and be careful not to spread the batter too thick or too thin.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light via Our Best Bites