The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.
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The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! Let’s start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!
I have made it to the week two technical: fortune cookies! This is hard to admit but technical are extremely hard for me. I ended up trying to many recipes and variation and, even in the end, I couldn’t make the cookies exactly as I imagined them. I grew up eating fortune cookies, so they have a classic taste, thinness, and snap that I imagine for the final product. But getting these cookies there took some time.
I was so surprised how little batter you use. The constant flow of a baking tray going in and out of the oven. And in. And out. As they pointed out on the show, you must work so quickly with these cookies while they are hot. I’m glad that I didn’t burn my fingertips more. Especially since my body is a magnet for getting injured. But let’s dive into those details!
The ingredient I used for the fortune cookies were simples. I needed the whites to two eggs, extract for flavoring, and then the classics of flour, sugar, salt. These cookies are something you can do ingredients you normally find in your kitchen. I used almond extract to be more faithful to the bake-off challenge, but I saw many recipes calling for vanilla instead. The bake-off technical challenge calls for both almond cookies and orange cookies, but I just did the basics because I found it challenging enough as is
Prepping the Wet Ingredients
One absolutely fantastic thing about this recipe is that you don’t need any special tools. Just a whisk and two bowls. In the first bowl, I put the eggs in the bowl and remove the yolk. I like to do this step by hand because it is easier to remove. After, I added the chosen extract and whisked like a crazy person. I find that whisking really builds up good arm and wrist strength. It’s a great exercise. This step only takes about one to two minutes by hand – I just wanted to make the wet ingredients nice and frothy. I think using a machine would be overkill.
Prepping the Dry Ingredients
This recipe has quite a handful of dry ingredients. I mixed up everything in a smaller bowl because I like to minimize the dishes I use. Even if that means minimizing the surface are of the dishes and not the number of pieces, I will end up washing. But, as always, this is a quick and easy step of putting together flour, sugar, and salt. You can also sieve the dry ingredients if desired (see the lesson section to learn more)
Making the Batter
Now it’s time to put everything together. I added the dry ingredients into my wet ingredients in stages. This helps incorporate all the dry mixture and slowly builds up that batter consistency. The batter becomes thick, I didn’t think it would drop off the whisk after I was done mixing.
But this doesn’t get me to the batter consistency I want. Fortune cookie dough is very wet. So, I added water to the mix, about a tablespoon at a time until the batter was running. It makes a nice ribbon as it falls off the whisk.
The next step for making fortune cooking is shaping and baking. You should only cook about two cookies at a time because they must be shaped quickly after being removed from the oven. Baking two at a time allows for plenty to time afterwards.
I like shaping the dough onto a silicone matt, especially since mine has the handy circles I use like a stencil. The dough should be thin. Very thin. Thinner than you think it should be. Thin dough will be the key to giving that classic snap.
The cookies should be baked for about 6-8 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. I has quite a few of mine turn a little darker that I anticipated so it’s good to keep an eye on them while they are baking.
The last step in this process is shaping. I hated this step because you must be fast, and it can hurt your hands. The cookie needs to be removed from the silicone mat immediately after coming out of the oven. If you have a fortune, put it on the under side of the cookie before folding the cookie in half (the top of the cookie facing outwards). I didn’t really bother with this step but it’s a fun thing to do! Especially if you have an idea for where these will be served.
After folding the cookies in half, I placed the center of the folded edge along the rim of a glass. I then pulled down on both edges. This makes that perfect shape. But since the cookie is still hot, it can unfurl. Putting it in a muffin or cupcake tin can help keep this shape while the cookie sets.
This step requires working with hot dough. It can sting and I was surprised I didn’t completely singe off the tips of my fingers. Be especially careful with this step because working fast mean it’s easier to make mistakes.
This technical was a challenge and not one that I enjoyed. Getting the cookie thinness was extremely difficult especially when compare to something commercially made. I felt like the cookies often would have a chewy texture because there was too much batter in those areas. Which often ended up being the center.
I will admit, this challenge knocked my confidence a little. So, am I ready for bake-off? Nope! This stuff if tough!
Why Sieve Ingredients?
Sieving dry ingredients can help remove lumps that might have formed in the packaging. This can happen if the powder was packed tightly in the bag. Sieve allows for aeration of the ingredients as well as removing all the clumps. For people who use measuring cups (and not measure by weight) this will allows the recipe to more consistent.
- 2 Large Egg Whites
- ½ Tsp Almond Extract see notes
- ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 2 Tbsp Water or as needed
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- In a small to medium bowl, combine eggs and almond extract. Whisk until frothy.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt.
- Whisk in the flour mixture into the egg mixture, incorporating a little at a time.
- Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until water is smooth and falls into ribbons.
- Place one ½ tablespoon of batter onto a silicone may and spread into an approximately 3 inch circle. Repeat to make two cookies per batch.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown
- Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the matt. Add a fortune in the middle (if desired), then fold the cookies in half and place the flat side on the lip of a cup with the edges being folded down.
- Place folded cookies into a muffin/cupcake tin until cooled to retain their shape.
- Repeat from step 6 for the remaining batter.
- Substitute almond extract for orange extract
- Add food coloring to 4/5ths of the mixture
- Make circle with orange food color.
- Using a piping bag, pipe dots of the uncolored batter around the edges. Use a toothpick to swirl the dots into heart shapes.