The future looks promising for good Chinese-American fare, that comfortable mix of the authentic and the artful takeoff.
Apply a little creative license to familiar fortune cookies by making up your own (or by having a child, spouse, or humorous friend do so). You can also take the fortunes from a book of proverbs.
Bake only 2 or 3 cookies at a time so you can shape them as soon as they leave the oven, before they turn crisp. Consider wearing soft, snug-fitting cotton gloves while handling the hot cookies if your skin is sensitive. A cookie that has become too brittle to mold easily can sometimes be softened by returning it to a warm oven for 10 to 20 seconds.
Makes 12 to 16 cookies.
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon orange flower water
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
12 to 16 fortunes, on 1/2 -by-3-inch strips of paper
In mixer bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch and sugar to combine thoroughly. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To flour mixture add oil and egg whites; beat at high speed until smooth. Mix in orange flower water and orange zest.
Make 2 or 3 cookies at a time, dropping batter by level tablespoons, about 3 inches apart, onto well-greased or nonstick baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to spread each portion of batter evenly to 4-inch-diameter circle.
Bake until cookies are a light golden brown (10 to 12 minutes). Remove cookies from oven.
Using a wide, flexible spatula, immediately remove 1 hot cookie at a time from baking sheet. Working quickly, hold cookie flat, smooth side down; position paper fortune in center of cookie.
Gently fold cookie in half to make half-moon shape, with open side facing up (like a taco). Crease the center of the folded side of the cookie by gently pressing it against the edge of a bowl.
Place finished cookie, pointed ends down, in a muffin pan to cool. Using remaining batter, repeat steps 3 through 8. Store cookies in tightly covered container for up to a week.