Fortune cookies are one of those things that entertain and amuse almost everyone. It seems like it would be a lot of fun to custom-make a set of fortune cookies for a party!

If you want to think about it this way, you could call a fortune cookie another "food technology". Bread, cheese, ice cream, etc. are all food technologies -- they use special biological, chemical or mechanical processes during their creation. In the case of a fortune cookie, what you are trying to create is a hard, hollow shell around a sheet of paper, so that nothing sticks to the paper and no grease transfers to it. Cooks create hard shells in several different ways. For example, taco shells are hard. So are dried noodles. So are sugar cones at an ice cream parlor. Of these three, a fortune cookie is most like a sugar cone -- taco shells are deep-fried (therefore greasy) and noodles don't taste very good dry.

You may have noticed that many cookies -- including ginger snaps and chocolate chip cookies -- are soft when they come out of the oven but harden as they cool. The batter of a fortune cookie, made up of flour (and/or cornstarch), sugar, oil, egg, etc., has this property in spades -- it acts something like a heat-sensitive plastic. Fortune cookies start out as flat, 4-inch circles when they are just out of the oven. While still hot the cookie is very flexible, so you place the fortune inside and fold it to the proper "fortune cookie shape" (fold it in half over the fortune, and then draw the tips together over a rod or plate). Once it cools, the cookie becomes hard and crunchy!

The following recipes will help you discover the secrets of making fortune cookies at home -- have a fun party!