11:25 AM

Honey Cookie (Yak Gwa)

"Yak Gwa is a traditional Korean sweet pastry or cookie with flavors of ginger and honey." - Grace Hong, Auburn


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


Place flour in a large bowl. Add sesame oil and mix with hands. Rub the flour between hands and fingers to combine. In another bowl, whisk honey, sake and water together. Add to flour mixture and knead gently with hands to form a dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, on a floured surface, roll out dough to half an inch thick. Cut dough into one-inch strips to cut into a flower shape or desired shape. Put a small hole in the center of each cookie.

To make syrup, combine rice malt syrup, honey and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and then remove immediately from heat. Pour mixture into a 9 x13 rectangular dish or glass baking pan. Using a sturdy, flat-bottomed fryer or saucepan with oil, Heat over medium heat until oil temperature is 215 degrees. In small batches, drop pastries in oil and fry, gently turning them until they puff and float (about 4 to 5 minutes). Raise the heat of the oil to about 300 degrees and continue to fry until the Yak Gwa turns golden brown. Remove Yak Gwa from oil and place into the dish with ginger syrup.

When all cookies have been placed in the syrup, turn each one over once so they are coated. Soak in the syrup for a few hours and remove with a slotted spoon onto another dish topped with parchment. Sprinkle with pine nuts and sesame seeds.