Chocolate Fortune Cookies

You have to move fast to get the fortunes inside these crunchy wonders, so write them out before you make the cookies. You can only bake one cookie at a time because you need to work without delay to fold the cookie up when it comes out of the oven.

MAKES 1 DOZEN LARGE COOKIES
Unsalted butter, for greasing the baking sheets or nonstick spray
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 teaspoons chocolate extract (see Note), or vanilla extract
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1⁄2 cup superfine sugar
12 prepared fortunes

1. Position the rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter two baking sheets, preferably nonstick; set aside.
2. Use a fork to beat the egg whites, chocolate or vanilla extract, and salt in a medium bowl until frothy. Place the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar in a fine-mesh sieve and sift it into the egg-white mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of batter on one of the prepared baking sheets, then use an offset spatula to smooth the batter into a 5-inch-diameter, paper-thin circle. Bake for 5 minutes until set and somewhat dry. Meanwhile, repeat the process on the other cookie sheet to create a second circle.
4. When the cookie comes out the oven, let it cool on the sheet for just 5 to 10 seconds, or until you can handle it. Meanwhile, start baking the second cookie.
5. Lay the fortune in the center of the baked cookie, then use a thin metal spatula to loosen the cookie from the sheet. Fold one-half of the cookie up and over, to create a half-moon, but leaving a finger-width pocket at the bottom of the circle where the fortune is now enclosed. Then fold each “wing” of the half-moon up toward the center, so that they meet above the cookie, thereby making a rather large fortune cookie. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cool the baking sheet for 5 minutes before cleaning it, drying it thoroughly, and buttering it again. Keep working in this pattern—one cookie baking, one baked cookie being formed—until all the batter is used. Cool the cookies completely on the wire rack before storing.

NOTE: Chocolate extract is a professional baker’s secret—a distillate from roasted cocoa beans. It’s found in almost all baking supply stores and some gourmet markets.

Recommended storage
2 days at room temperature
Not recommended for freezing

Fortunes
Cut a small piece of paper into strips about 5 inches × 1⁄2 inch. If using colored paper,
make sure it is made with food-safe dyes. Write or type the “fortune” on the thin strip.
Fortunes might include:
Absence makes the heart go awander.
All’s fair in love and shopping.
Do you want a boy or a girl?
I got a sitter so we can go out dancing.
I’ll let you guess what’s the only thing better than cookies.
Meet me in the bedroom.
Some things are meant to be—like us.
Thank God you’re not the man I married.
We’re so happy you’re in our lives.
Will you marry me?
You should see the kitchen after making these cookies.

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