Most specialty appliances try to be something they are not. It may be a case of exaggeration about its feature set, or perhaps a confusing product description that would lead someone to believe it is capable of something that it is not. Not so with the Sunbeam Fortune Cookie Maker. The countertop appliance is even shaped like a fortune cookie.
I have an admission: I've always liked fortune cookies. They aren't too sweet, they have just the right amount of crispness, and they form a perfect complement to a take-out meal (especially when eaten first). If there is one thing that gets in the way of fortune cookie enjoyment, it would be that darn piece of paper.
I just had to get a test unit.
Flash forward to the odd-shaped appliance I had in my hands and it was apparent that I finally had control over my fortune cookie destiny. The mystery of the fortune cookie revealed itself to me as I considered everything else that came in the box. Included (in addition to the food-safe paper and pen) was a spatula, a couple of folding guides, and a storage case that doubled as a cooling tray.
The idea is pretty straightforward and has great potential to be a family-fun activity. After heating up the clamshell appliance, batter (a recipe is provided) is dolloped on to the nonstick surface, which consists of two slightly indented molds. Close the lid, wait 2 minutes, and then remove the resulting flat circles with the spatula. The hot, flat fortune-cookie-to-be is placed on the surface of the included folding guide, which is a clearly marked little piece of plastic. The previously prepared fortune is then placed (or not) on the cookie, which is then subsequently pinched shut and pulled back to form the distinctive shape. This has to happen fast; the cookie cools quickly (it's hot at first; supervision required for kids), but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it--and of course, you get to eat the mistakes.
The ability to make custom fortune cookies (as well as custom fortunes) is the allure of this machine. Manipulating the basic batter recipe could provide interesting results, but there is no doubt about: the gadget cooks one thing and one thing only. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it.
The Sunbeam Fortune Cookie Maker will be available in spring 2012.