Korean Thanksgiving Cookies (Yakgwa)

September 30, 2023

In all my years of blogging, I have never made any foods for the Korean Thanksgiving Autumnal Holiday, Chuseok. It's celebrated on the full moon typically in September/October (it changes each year since it follows the lunar calendar). This year it falls on September 29. 
I don't remember much about celebrating the holiday as a kid but Chuseok was also my grandma's birthday so my memories are really only of celebrating her that day. Chuseok is one of the biggest Korean holidays and is a time to gather and feast. My mom is celebrating this year with mung bean pancakes and taro soup (which she says my grandmother would make but sadly I have no memory of this). 

Typically, Koreans will also eat chewy rice cakes stuffed with a filling of red bean, soybean or chestnut pastes or my favorite filling: sweetened sesame seeds (songpyeon). One day I'll try to make them but that is not today. 

Yakwa, a honey soaked fried cookie, is also eaten on Chuseok. When I saw a recipe recently in the NY Times, I knew it was finally time to celebrate Chuseok in my kitchen. 
I'm fairly unfamiliar with Yakwa, although we probably had it in my childhood. I recently had one while visiting the twin and at first didn't remember eating one ever but found it completely enjoyable: a little fried but sweet and delicious. 

If you aren't certain you want to fry these, you can purchase them at a local Korean market or even amazon (purchase here). 

The Results: I found it hard to find the exact rice syrup that was recommended in the article but a nice Korean woman helped me find another rice syrup to use. These took some arm muscle to roll out 4 times. The frying also wasn't too stinky in the kitchen! The hints of cinnamon, ginger and sesame seed oil makes for a lovely savory yet sweet, crumbly, crunchy cookie. 

*The recipe author made the cookies easier to make by using a round cookie cutter. You can also use a flower cookie cutter like they are traditionally shaped. 

1 comment

  1. This Korean Thanksgiving cookie recipe is a delightful twist on tradition! I tried making yakgwa using the instructions, and the result was a pancake-like texture that added a unique twist to the classic flavors. The combination of honey and sesame oil gave it a rich, satisfying taste. I appreciate how the blog breaks down each step, making it easy for even a novice like me to recreate these delicious treats. Can't wait to share these pancake-inspired yakgwa with my family during the holiday season. Martabak Manis is best sweet dish of Asian countries so this is something different that you can add in your favourite dish.