My favorite inauthentic part of eating at a Chinese restaurant is the fortune cookie at the end of the meal. Many modern Chinese restaurants won’t serve fortune cookies because they are not part of the Chinese tradition. I decided to bake my version of these biscuits for Shavuot. Rather than containing fortunes, each cookie will celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai by revealing one of the Ten Commandments. My new tradition may be as American as the creation of the original fortune cookies.
The fortune cookie as we know it was invented during the 1800s in San Francisco. It was adapted from a recipe for Japanese rice crackers. In Japan this type of snack is called tsujiura senbei. It is flavored with sesame oil and miso, and is not sweet like the American version. The fortune is written on a slip of paper that is rolled up tightly. The paper remains outside the biscuit, securely tucked into the pinch in the middle of the cracker.
According to Deuteronomy 18:10, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer.” In other words, fortune telling is forbidden in Judaism. That being said, cookies containing secret messages within them are really fun! In celebration of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, I decided to bake my own Japanese-inspired cookies at home. I prepared wafer rolls, which are easier than fortune cookies. Instead of fortunes, I hid one of the Ten Commandments in each of them. You may find the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21.
If you don’t have the time or the patience to bake your own cookies, you will get a similar result if you buy a tin of hollow wafer rolls. These are usually used to garnish an ice cream sundae. Just roll up each commandment and place it inside the cookie. This is a fun party favor to include whether you are a host or a guest.
Ten Commandments Surprise Cookies
- Ten Commandments written on slips of paper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 eggs whites
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp. butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl into a batter.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Drop 1 tbsp. of batter on the cookie sheet, and spread it to form a 3-inch disc.
- When all your cookies are formed place the tray in the oven.
- Bake for 8 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven.
- Brush the handle of a wooden spoon with a little vegetable oil.
- Roll each cookie around the handle.
- Slide each cookie tube off the wooden spoon and allow to cool completely.
- Roll up each commandment and place inside a cookie.
Published in The Philadelphia Jewish Voice.