1. Make Up the Fortunes Ahead of TimeThis will give you more time to compose the messages. The strips of paper used should be 3 to 3 1/2 inches long and no more than 1/2-inch wide.
2. Use Cold Baking SheetsFortune cookies tend to turn out best when you start with a cold (and greased) baking sheet. Since most recipes make more cookies than can be placed on one 9 X 13-inch baking sheet (the cookies spread out during baking), its best to use two baking sheets. That way, you dont need to wait for the sheet to cool down before baking the next batch of cookies.
3. Cookie Size: Larger is BetterMany fortune cookie recipes call for making a 3-inch cookie. A cookie this size is more difficult to work with and fold than a slightly larger (3 1/2 - 4-inch) cookie. Another plus is that the larger cookie fits snugly into the cup of a muffin tin. This saves you from having to hold the cookie for several seconds after folding, to make sure it keeps its shape. My own preference is to use one level tablespoon of batter to make a 4-inch cookie.
4. Tilt the Baking Sheet to Spread the BatterThe key to making fortune cookies is a batter that is evenly spread out on the baking sheet. This can be difficult to accomplish with a wooden spoon, since the batter tends to stick to the spoon. Carefully tilting the baking sheet in all directions gives better results.
5. Start By Making Only One or Two CookiesThe instant the cookies are removed from the oven, the race begins: you have twenty seconds at most to add the fortunes, fold the cookies in half and then shape them into the standard fortune cookie shape. Its best to start with one or two cookies that way, youre not feeling pressured.
6. How to Tell When the Cookies are DoneThe cookies are done when approximately 1/2 inch of the outside is golden and they are easy to lift with a spatula. The middle part of the cookie remains quite light in color.
7. Wear Close Fitting Cotton GlovesYou need to work with the cookies when they first come out of the oven and are still very hot - wearing cotton gloves makes this easier.
8. Be Prepared to Work QuicklyAs noted above, you only have up to twenty seconds to work with the baked cookies before they cool down and stiffen too much to be workable.
9. How to Fold and Shape the CookiesRemove the cookie from the baking sheet with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Lay the fortune in the middle of the cookie, and hold it there while folding the cookie in half.
Still holding the the folded cookie in both hands, between your thumb and index fingers, pull the ends down over the rim of a glass or a muffin tin, or the handle of a wooden spoon, until the ends meet. The opened side of the fortune cookie should be facing upward, towards you.
Fortune cookie cooking tips © copyright 2005 by Rhonda Parkinson, licensed to About.com, Inc.