How to Make Yakgwa, Korean Honey Cookies

Korean dessert, Yakgwa
Multi-bits / Getty Images
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 20 cookies
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Yakgwa is a traditional Korean sweet, and it's usually shaped into some sort of flower design if you're buying it in a store. It's deep-fried and very sweet, so it's more of a dessert than an everyday cookie, and it was traditionally served at ceremonies, celebrations, and at special occasions.

Yakgwa literally means medicinal confection, as 'yak' means medicine and 'Awa' means confection/sweet. The medicinal part refers to honey, an important part of traditional Korean medicine.

What You'll Need

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup water
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 small piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water 

How to Make It

  1. Place flour in a large bowl.
  2. Add sesame oil and mix together with your hands. Rub the flour between your hands and fingers to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk honey, sake, and water together.
  4. Add to flour mixture and knead gently with your hands to form a dough.
  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, on a floured surface, roll out dough to half an inch thick.
  7. Cut dough into one inch strips to make diamond or rectangle shapes. Or cut into a flower shape.
  1. Put a small hole in the center of each cookie.
  2. To make syrup, put rice malt syrup, honey, and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring to a simmer and then remove immediately from heat.
  4. Pour into a rectangular dish or glass baking pan.
  5. Bring a sturdy, flat-bottomed fryer or saucepan with oil, making sure the oil doesn't go higher than half the height of the pot.
  6. Heat over medium heat until oil temperature is 212 F.
  7. In small batches, drop pastries in oil and fry, gently turning them until they puff and float (about 4-5 minutes).
  8. Now raise the heat of the oil to about 300 F and continue to fry until the yak GWA turns a golden brown.
  9. Remove yak GWA from oil and place into the dish with ginger syrup.
  10. When all of them have been placed in the syrup, turn each one over once so they are coated.
  11. Soak in the syrup for a few hours, and then remove with a slotted spoon onto another dish topped with parchment.
  12. Sprinkle with pine nuts and sesame seeds. 

 

Recent Research into Honey as Medicine:

A 2007 study from Penn State College of Medicine that involved 139 children, found that buckwheat honey outperformed the cough suppressant, dextromethorphan (DM), in calming nighttime coughs in children and improving their sleep. Another study published in Pediatrics included 270 children aged one to five with a nighttime cough due to simple colds; in this study, the children who received two teaspoons of honey 30 minutes before bed, coughed less frequently, less severely and were less likely to lose sleep due to a cough when compared to those who didn't get honey.

Source: Mother Nature Network