Fortune Cookies

Although most people think fortune cookies came from China, they probably were first made in the United States. No one remembers who the inventive baker was. The cookies appeared in California about 1920 to advertise a Chinese restaurant. Soon they were everywhere.

Before you start, get out the utensils: pencil, paper, scissors, lightweight cotton gloves, large mixing bowl and spoon, measuring cups and spoons, cookie sheet, egg carton or muffin pan, and spatula.


  • 1/2 cup (.12 liters) of melted butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 (.18 liters) cup of sugar
  • 1/8 (.62 milliliters) teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 (3.7 milliliters) teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of flour (.24 liters)
  • 1 teaspoon (4.93 milliliters) of instant tea powder
  • 2 tablespoons (29.57 milliliters) of water


1. Cut 48 strips of paper about 1/2 inch (1.27 centimeters) wide and 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) long. Write a fortune on each strip.

2. Melt the butter and separate the eggs.

3. Put the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix them together.

4. Stir in the vanilla, flour, tea, water, and melted butter, one at a time. Chill this batter at least 30 minutes. While it chills, heat the oven to 350°F (176.67°C)  degrees.

5. Grease the cookie sheet. Drop a rounded teaspoon of chilled batter onto the cookie sheet. Spread the batter with the back of the spoon until it makes a thin circle three inches across. Spread another circle of batter on the pan in the same way. Put only two cookies on the sheet. You won't have time to fold more than that. Put the cookies into the oven and bake them 3-5 minutes, or until the edges turn brown.


1. Put on your cotton gloves. Using a spatula, slide one cookie off the cookie sheet. Put the cookie on a clean counter top. Illustration: a spatula flipping a cookie
2. Lay a fortune across the center of the cookie. Lift one edge of the cookie and fold it so the cookie forms a semicircle. Work quickly! Illustration: hands folding a cookie

3. Hold the cookie on the ends. Place the middle of the folded edge over the rim of the egg carton and bend the ends down.

Illustration: hands shaping a cookie with an egg carton
4. Put the folded cookie carefully into one of the holes in the egg carton to cool. Then go back and fold the second cookie.
Illustration: hands putting a cookie in an egg carton

Text by NGS Staff
Illustrations by Lisa Biganzoli