Watching How Fortune Cookies Are Made Is Like ASMR For Your Eyes

Whether you believe in the sage advice found in the crispy folds of a fortune cookie, or you'd rather just gobble it down and laugh about its message, you can't deny they're a fun way to end a meal. The post-dinner staple has been served at Chinese-American restaurants since World War II, and over the years many have claimed to have invented them. But despite their murky origins, those who enjoy fortune cookies have likely had one question come to mind at least once — how are they made?

To insert the small fortune strips inside these uniquely-shaped cookies, bakers take full advantage of the role sugar plays in the molding process. After baking the batter, the paper slip can be placed as the cookie's warm dough is folded around it until that signature butterfly shape is achieved. The sugar eventually hardens into a golden, crunchy morsel with the fortune sealed inside.

In 1974, a machine was invented that could automate the cookie-folding process, which helped facilitate mass production. Many companies still fold them by hand, but these machines have largely taken over. This allows factories like New York's Wonton Food, the largest manufacturer of fortune cookies in the States, to pump out a whopping 4.5 million cookies each day. Seeing these machines in action is almost as satisfying to watch as it is when you crack open a particularly good fortune.

One Californian bakery hand-makes 10,000 fortune cookies per day

At Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco, the custom-flavored cookies are specially handmade. A machine does part of the heavy lifting as far as the baking process goes, but each one gets shaped individually. You can get a glimpse of how its machines work in this video, which shows the sugar-based batter getting piped onto hot plates and baked into flat discs.


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♬ HOPEFUL ORCHESTRAL – Neil Carmichael

Because the cookies are so thin, it only takes a few minutes to bake them before they are removed and carefully folded while still warm. You can see this factory churns out chocolate fortune cookies, which many people in the comments section mistakenly think are burnt. That's just one of the unique flavors Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory creates, along with green tea and strawberry. The cookies can also be chocolate-dipped or coated in sprinkles. Tourism is the main income source for this factory, which has been in operation since 1962 and offers tours. Such hand-crafted goodies like these mean that the factory sells them at touristy (but still fairly reasonable) prices — you can get a batch of 50 cookies for $17.50.

The video even gives us a glimpse at the technique the workers use. Baked discs are first folded in half before each end is twisted, pushing the puffed-out center of the cookie towards themselves. It's great to see that some larger factories are still keeping this culinary art form alive by creating handmade fortune cookies.