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Yakgwa (honey cookie)

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

makes 20 cookies


-3 cups flour

-1/4 cup sesame oil

-1/4 cup honey

-1/4 cup sake (optional or add sherry)

-1/4 cup water

-1/2 cup rice malt syrup

-1 cup honey

-1 small piece of ginger, thinly sliced

-1/2 cup water

-vegetable oil, for frying

-1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped

-1 tbsp sesame seeds


  1. In a bowl, combine flour and sesame oil and mix. In another bowl, whisk honey, sake, and water together. Add to the flour mixture and knead gently with your hands to form the dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

  2. After roll out dough on a floured surface until half an inch thick. Cut dough into 1-inch strips to make diamond or rectangle shapes. Cut into a flower shape using a cookie cutter and dip a small hole into the center of each cookie.

  3. Make the syrup by putting rice malt syrup, honey, and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour into a rectangular baking pan.

  4. Bring a pan with oil to medium heat ensuring the pan doesn't overflow with oil.

  5. In small batches, drop the pastries in oil and fry, gently turning them until they puff up and float about 5 minutes. Raise the heat of the oil and continue to fry until the yakgwa turns a golden brown. Remove yakgwa from oil and place into the dish with the ginger syrup, turn each over once so they are coated. Soak in the syrup for a few hours, and then remove with a slotted spoon onto another dish topped with parchment. Sprinkle with pine nuts and sesame seeds.


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