Panda Express Fortune Cookies copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Panda Express Fortune Cookies

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I like making fortune cookies because it means I get to write fortunes. My fortunes are sometimes ridiculous (“You will one day fight an evil robot and win.”), sometimes sarcastic (“Wow, you broke a cookie! Have you been working out?”), and sometimes paradoxical (“All of these cookies are filled with lies.”). But’s let’s face it, the fortune isn't the best part. What matters most is that the cookie tastes really good.

Contrary to popular belief, fortune cookies are not from China. They don’t even serve them in China. Fortune cookies are an American invention, created either in San Francisco or Los Angeles in the early 1900’s—the exact origin is in dispute.  Originally I set out to clone the best-selling fortune cookie in the U.S., called Golden Bowl, made by Wonton Foods. But those cookies suck. They're thin and tasteless and have an unnatural orange tint added to them. Instead, I chose to hack the thicker, tastier, golden brown fortune cookies you get at the largest Chinese take-out chain.

Fortune cookies start their life looking like pancake batter. The batter is formed into 3-inch circles, that when baked, become thin cookies that are pliable when warm and crispy when cool—so you’ll need to work fast when forming them. Because they are so thin, it’s best to bake the cookies on a silicone pad or non-stick Release foil. You can also use parchment paper, but it tends to ripple from the moisture of the batter, and that ripple shows up on the surface of the cookies.

I suggest baking just 3 or 4 of the cookies at a time so that they'll all be warm and pliable while you add the fortunes and shape them. And if you're very fortunate, you can find a helpful someone to assist you with that part so you'll be able to make more cookies faster. 

If you're in the mood for more Panda Express, check out my other copycat recipes here.

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  • 2 egg whites (from large eggs)
  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ...

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