Monday, December 5, 2011

DIY Fortune Cookie Gifts

Creating Personalized Fortune Cookies for Coworkers
"Easy Fortune Cookie Recipe"  -- That's what the Google search result promised me a few years ago. At the time, I was working as part of an in-house creative team at Penn State, and I needed a Christmas gift idea to make for 25 coworkers that was personal enough yet could be created in large quantities.

Yes, the recipe was easy. I used a basic recipe substituting almond flavoring for vanilla. It was the folding process that would have been more aptly labelled "frustrating." It took me three batches to get cookies that looked good.

Yet even with the frustration, they made such adorable gifts that I want to share the idea with you along with my thoughts on avoiding some pitfalls.

Writing the Fortunes
The fun part of the project was coming up with "fortunes" that fit each recipient's personality. These served as both holiday gifts and a thank you for the hard work that our team had put in that year. I researched fortunes online and tweaked them to fit our work situation. Here are a few examples.

For our exuberant production manager adjusting to our new office space:
Trish, You where born with the skill to communicate easily with people. 
That’s why Outreach seated you between introverts.

For our writer with a love of all things Seinfeld:
The number of items on a to-do list will either grow or 
remain constant. If only you could close the Penske file.

Creating Gift Tags
I also created custom gift tags using a fortune cookie stamped in silver embossing powder on card stock. I cut a slit in the stamped cookie to add each person's name on a tag and glued the whole thing to a larger card stock square to hide the back. (See photo above.)

Photo by Madison Faith author of Milk & Honey
Things I wish I knew before I started:

1. Cotton gloves aren't just "nice-to-have."
I didn't follow the advice I read on one site to purchase some lightweight, white cotton gloves, and my scorched fingers regretted it. You have to touch hot cookie rounds, over and over, to fold them into the signature shape.

2. Practice makes perfect. 
You can only make a few cookies at a time because there is a perfect temperature to fold them. Too hot and you can't touch them (see tip 1). Too cool and they crack. It took me three batches and a lot of cursing to figure out the "sweet spot" folding temperature.

3. Once the fortune is inside the cookie you can't read it anymore. 
If you are creating a specific fortune for a specific person, you have to make sure you know which cookie to give. Once I realized I couldn't see which fortune I had used inside the folded cookie, I created an assembly line process to organize them.  I placed each folded cookie on a tray beside the paper tag for that person so when I was ready to wrap the cookies, I knew whose cookie it was.

About the bottom photo: I didn't take any photos of my finished project, but this one by Madison Faith sums up the project pretty well. Madison writes a blog called Milk & Honey which has some of the most gorgeous food photography that I have ever seen.

Do you have good luck baking fortune cookies? What's your secret?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ooh,a comment! How delightful.


share icons