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Not My Holiday (Except For The Fortune Cookies)

In 1989, Meg Ryan put on a strapless taffeta dress and ruined New Year’s Eve for the rest of us.

I mean, please.  I spent my formative years thinking something like this was going to happen to me at a New Year’s Eve party.  Emmm . . .no.

But I finally got over it.  I started going to those parties in jeans, by myself, and I actually had fun.

And then I had a couple of New Year’s Eves that made me question the wisdom of getting out of bed on December 31.

One of these was the New Year’s I spent in Washington, D.C.  At the end of the night, I was on the metro and the car lurched.  A young man reached out a hand to keep me from falling, but he hit the noisemaker between my teeth and the damned thing got lodged in the roof of my mouth. 

You know that conversation they have in movies, when a guy has a knife in his leg and his buddy’s all, “maybe we shouldn’t pull it out yet, in case it’s stopping the bleeding”?  Imagine honking that conversation through a noisemaker.  It’s super awkward, very loud, and impossible to look attractive while doing this.

A few years later, my friend threw a New Year’s party at her boyfriend’s apartment in Brooklyn.  We were going to partake in a Colombian tradition of writing our deepest regrets of the year on origami paper, folding them into swans, and burning them at midnight.

Awesome idea, I thought to myself.  Not something you can mess up easily, unless you have a swan phobia or your regrets include a lot of felonies.

But because I am required by law to make a public spectacle of myself on December 31, I used a permanent marker and I didn’t put scrap paper between the origami and the table.

Am I being clear about this?  To this day, my most intimate secrets from 2009 are listed in permanent ink on my friend’s boyfriend’s coffee table.

New Year’s Eve, man.  It kills me.

So this year, I’m going to write myself a bunch of awesome fortunes for 2012.  I’m going to put them in homemade fortune cookies.  That way, when I’m inevitably bleeding from the head, cursing a piece of furniture and mortified, at least I won’t be hungry.

Horray!  Happy New Year!

These were a lot of fun.  We used retired Snapple facts as the messages in our trial run.  (For example, fish can cough? Who knew!  You can find loads of traditional fortunes by googling.)  The ingredients (which Scott found here) are easy, and the cookies only bake for a few minutes.

The only trick is (1) spreading the cookies thinly (crepe-thin) on the baking sheet; (2) not overcooking them; and (3) quickly folding them as soon as they come out of the oven, before they cool.

It took us one or two baking sheets’ worth (3-6 cookies) to get the hang of it.  If you are the tiniest bit patient, it’ll pay dividends.  They are delicate–nothing like the thick, flavorless cookies you get at a take-out restaurant.  And the almond extract makes them extremely tasty.  They’re over-sized–about twice as big as what you can buy in the store.

New Year’s Eve Fortune Cookies

Ingredients:

3 egg whites

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter (1 stick)

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 c. flour

2 tbsp. water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter one baking sheet and warm it in the oven. (The batter will be easier to spread on a warm sheet.  You need to work quickly when they come out of the oven, so don’t do more than one sheet at a time.)

Have a muffin tin on hand (for cooling the cookies) and have the fortunes ready on small strips of paper.

Melt the butter in the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes.

Separate eggs and discard yolks.  Whip egg whites and sugar together in an electric mixer on high until frothy, about 2 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and stir in melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, water and flour.

Spread the batter into three or four thin (about the thickness of a crepe), three-inch circles on the baking sheet, leaving lots of room between each, because the cookies will spread.  Working a spatula in concentric circles helps get a thin, round cookie.

Bake 5-7 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown.  This is important: The cookie may be impossible to fold if the brown creeps in more than maybe a 1/4″ from the edges.  But if they don’t brown at all, they’ll be like pancakes and won’t crisp up.

Working very quickly, remove a cookie from the sheet and place a fortune in the middle. Fold the cookie in thirds, with the two flaps barely overlapping in the middle of the cookie.  Then fold the ends together into a horse shoe shape.  Place a finished cookie in the muffin tin so that it holds its shape while it cools.  Repeat, one at a time, and then make another sheet.

Out like a light before midnight.

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. you need to buy the table from him then all will be well – almost as if it never happened LOL
    BTW I am trying a variation of your Dijon Cauliflower receipe – by variation I mean very little resemblance – no dijon mustard – different mustard powder in pantry along with cauliflower and broccoli mix because that was what was in the fridge…. this is likely to be an unmitigated disaster but what the hell I have a cocktail and a lobster tail so the veggies can go to hell
    Happy New Year >8)

    December 30, 2011
    • Oh wow- I hope it works out great. I roasted broccoli for the first time a few days ago in olive oil, and then I sprinkled parmesan and lemon and lemon peel on them when they were done. I found it was best to make sure, half-way through, that the heads of the florets were still coated with a little oil. I tossed them with tongs and put them back in. Your plan sounds good- let me know how it goes!

      December 30, 2011
      • well – it worked out OK – but I fear the broccoli was a little sad – cheese would have helped immensely but sadly I did not think of that – next time >8)
        Did you manage to avoid your traditional NYE humiliation this year?

        January 1, 2012
        • Ah, too bad. Yeah, roasting broccoli is tough. I like my veggies crunchy but it’s hard to roast broccoli without it drying out, I think. I do like this recipe, though, if you decide to give it another shot. http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2008/11/the_best_brocco.html

          I did survive New Year’s! I was extra careful when crossing streets, using sharp implements, etc. and I survived unscathed! Happy New Year to you.

          January 1, 2012
  2. jz #

    Did you learn to make this on NYE 2008, location expat bar, Beijing, China?

    December 30, 2011
    • I probably would have, if I had not been singing Eternal Flame at the top of my lungs at a karaoke bar, if I recall correctly…

      December 30, 2011
  3. hello100blog #

    Reblogged this on Hello100blog.

    December 30, 2011
    • I am glad you liked my post, thank you! I see your site has been suspended by wordpress, but for posterity: Be advised that the content on this site is protected by copyright and trademark law and therefore you must request my permission before reblogging. I may well say yes, but you must ask me each time, in advance. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. Thanks!

      January 9, 2012
  4. April was in CT now CA #

    First off, you’re one of the funniest people I don’t know. I’m sorry, but I laughed incredibly loudly at your noisemaker misfortune… “honking that conversation..”!!!!

    Secondly those little fortunes look crispidy-do-dah-good!

    I’d really like to add a thirdly here, but I got nothing.

    Happy New Year!!

    December 30, 2011
    • April, you’re the best. The only good thing about mouth/throat injuries is that it gives you an excuse to drink milkshakes (and only milkshakes) for as long as it takes. So that’s what I try to remember about the whole thing. In the terrible event that you witness a noisemaker injury, feel free to mention this silver lining at the appropriate time.

      Happy New Year to you too!!

      December 30, 2011
  5. Good fortunes for New Year’s – great idea!

    December 30, 2011
    • I thought it seemed to fit, right? Happy New Year to you.

      December 30, 2011
  6. Krisann #

    “I’ll give you $50 if you burn the table, too.”

    December 31, 2011
  7. First off, love your blog! Also two helpful bits of advice:

    1) Rubbing alcohol removes permanent marker. It also damages wooden surfaces, so unsure how that will help your coffee table problem.

    and 2) Fortune cookies are like Tuile (or “Tulip”) cookies, and in my baking class we used those flexible plastic baking mats that can be bought at Walmart at 2 for $4. Making stencils was fun, and the cookie will be the same every time as long as you scrape the batter across it properly! Plus you can use the cutouts to do decorative work for powdered sugar on pastries 🙂

    Good luck with the new year!

    December 31, 2011
    • Oh thank you! Good to know both of these things. I thought to myself as we ate them “these are like tuile cookies–they’d be delicious on top of ice cream” but I never would have known to get some plastic baking mats if you hadn’t posted. That sounds fun. I also wonder if I should use a crepe spreader thing for scraping the batter across– what did you use? Thanks again!

      December 31, 2011
  8. Rachel #

    sounds to me like the fortune cookie recipe is very similar to krumkake, which i don’t know if you’re familiar with but is (are? what’s the plural here?) norweigan christmas cookies. krumkake’s really easy to get super thin, too, because you have to have a krumkake iron to make it, and that makes it thin automatically. plus it’d be really easy to fold it right up out of the iron…..i know what i’m doing this week.

    December 31, 2011
    • Rachael, it does seem very similar (I googled it, but would never have known if you hadn’t pointed it out). It looks like I could get one of those irons for about $50. . . I will think about that, because krumkake looks delicious.

      By the by, you were right, I think. I would have used “is,” too. Enjoy your baking this week!

      December 31, 2011
  9. Stupid Meg Ryan. I hate New Year’s Eve. No lie. I just don’t get it. Never have. I mean, why go to all the trouble of getting dressed? Isn’t the whole point of Christmas/New Years to spend a whole week holed up at home, sporting pyjamas and your own filth? We’re having a good run here. I resent whole-heartedly that I’ll have to get dressed this evening. Stupid, stupid, floppy old Meg Ryan.

    December 31, 2011
    • April was in CT now CA #

      Movita, if you had planned ahead like I did and gotten sick on Christmas day then you wouldn’t have to get dressed tonight because you’d be curled up in your own filth with a blanket and a tissue crammed up your nose. I’m thinking it will make for a safer noisemaker alternative after reading Mizz Eggton’s harrowing account.

      December 31, 2011
  10. Oh my God, you are hilarious. Happy New Year!

    January 1, 2012
    • Hee hee. Happy New Year to you too!

      January 1, 2012
  11. hmm – that sounds like a great broccoli recipe to try – I will give it a whirl thanks. I am resolving to eat more green and less carbs in 2012
    BTW the bacon wrapped asparagus was a huge hit on xmas day – I cooked for 11 people so I made mass quantities of everything and the asparagus was all gone – people went back for more!!!!
    The loaded mashed potatoes and cream of shitake mushroom soup also had people asking to take home leftovers which is always a good sign
    Happy to hear your NYE was accident free >8)

    January 1, 2012
  12. Laughing my head off and planning to make these with my kids this New Year’s Eve. If 2013 is even half as fun as this post I’ll feel blessed.

    December 17, 2012

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