Yakgwa – 약과 (Honey Cookie)
Yakgwa – 약과 or Yakwa is a traditional Korean sweet pastry or cookie that is rich with flavors of ginger and honey.
“These cookies are worth the wait. With just the right amount of sweetness from the honey, the real star of the show here is the sesame. The sticky-sweet cookie makes a beautiful centerpiece or even a weekend baking project. I have no doubt this cookie will become your new favorite.”
And don’t forget, #LifesDelicious, so enjoy it!
For more Healthy, Delicious & Easy Recipes
- For dough:
- 3 cup all-purpose flour (medium-protein flour)
- 1/3 cup sesame oil
- 1/3 cup soju
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts
- 1/4 tsp salt (optional – original recipe omits salt)
- For Syrup:
- 1 cup rice syrup (jochung 조청 – if not available, you can substitute honey)
- 1 cup honey
- 2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp ginger (grated, 1 -2 tsp ginger powder is OK too)
Prepare oil for frying. Note for Yakgwa, we want to start frying at a low temperature.
Make syrup by mixing rice syrup, honey, and water in a saucepan or frying pan. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it boils, turn the heat off and add the chopped ginger, mix and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour (add salt – optional) and then sesame oil. Mix the flour with the oil by rubbing the mixture thoroughly with your hands, until you feel the oil is all blended in with the flour.
Mix the Soju and honey in a separate cup/bowl until the honey is all dissolved.
Pour the soju/honey mixture into the flour mixture and gently press the dough to form a ball.
Divide the dough in half. Roll out one-half of the dough into a 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick rectangular shape. Cut the dough into 1 inch wide strips and then cut the strips at an angle to make diamond shapes.
Yakgwa is fried in 2 different temperatures and this is what makes it tricky. For the first part, oil should be around 265° F (130°C). Yakwa will slowly rise to the top.
For the second part, when all the pieces have risen to the top, raise the heat to medium-high to reach normal frying temperature. Continue frying until Yakgwa turns rich brown in color.
When Yakgwa pieces turn rich dark brown, remove them from the oil and let the oil drain in a colander lined with a paper towel.
Soak fried Yakgwa in prepared ginger honey syrup.
Leave for a few min until it has soaked up all the syrup, take it out of the syrup and place it onto a plate.
Sprinkle top with chopped pine nuts while it is still wet so the nuts will stick to it.
NUTRITIONAL FACT NOTES - these are only approximate values as only part of the syrup is used to make yakgwa. Calories may be higher or lower depending on how much of the syrup is absorbed into your pastry. STORING - Yakgwa can be stored at cool room temperature for several days or can be kept in the fridge for longer periods. It can even be FROZEN for even longer storage. Adjust the amount of liquid by adding a bit more soju if you feel the dough is too dry.