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Xin Nian Kuai Le

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Chinese New Year ("Xin Nian Kuai Le" means "Happy New Year") began yesterday - it's the year of the boar - and Av and I decided to try making those huge Chinese fortune cookies that were featured in the February 1995 Martha Stewart Living.

The thing about fortune cookies, though, is that they didn't originate in China - they were invented in San Francisco! The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory there has been making them by hand since 1962 - and there's a video here of them being made by one of the two ladies that together produce over 20,000 per day.

If you watch the video, you'll see that the lady featured has little bandages or something over each of her fingers - that has to be because the cookies are SO hot when they come out (400* in this recipe below)! There are only a few seconds to shape them before they get to be completely hard. After the first one, Av decided he was putting paper towels over his hands when he shaped them!

The February '95 issue has pictures about how to shape them, but we weren't able to exactly duplicate this with the ones we made - the dough seemed to crack a little. I'm not sure if I ladeled the dough on too thick when it went in the oven or what didn't go as planned...but they still turned out tasting really good!

I followed the recipe exactly as it is in the magazine - there's a copy of it here on the MS website.

I made rounds of the dough on baking sheets, put it in the oven at 400* for exactly 8 minutes:
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They came out really pretty, browned around the edges:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Then we took a spatula and, on top of a kitchen towel, tried to make our best fortune cookie shape:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Not perfect, but they were still fun to make and to try. The recipe makes 15 cookies and Av and I really only wanted to try a couple...plus you can really only make two at a time since that's all that will fit on a baking sheet, so I decided to do something really crazy and make the world's biggest fortune cookie with the rest of the batter. I poured all of it over a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, then when it was done I shaped it with a giant spatula into the ugliest fortune cookie anybody has ever seen, then I fed it to the doggies (wish I had taken a picture of this part!). Even they were a little...surprised!

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

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