Recipes

Ginger cookies

Maejakgwa 매작과

Maejakgwa is a Korean traditional cookie that’s really popular. The ingredients are very simple! The combination of  3 kinds of flavors make this cookie very special: ginger, cinnamon, and the pine nuts.

The best part of this cookie is that it’s very crunchy! If all family members sit around together after dinner and taste these cookies, the sound of crunching from each member will give so much fun! You can make this large amount of cookies in 1 hour if you use your food processor, longer if you have to knead by hand.

Ingredients:
Flour, salt, sugar, ginger, pine nuts, water, cinnamon powder, and vegetable oil.

ginger1

Directions:

  1. In a large stainless bowl, place 2 cups of all purpose flour, ½ ts salt, 1 TBS sugar, 1 TBS ginger juice, and ½ cup water. Knead by hand for about 20 minutes.
    *tip: If you use a food processor, kneading takes about 2 minutes. Be sure to change the blades on your food processor to dough-making blades!.kneading
  2. Put the cookie dough in a plastic bag and set it aside at least for 30 minutes.
  3. Chop 2 TBS of pine nuts to garnish the cookies. Set aside.
  4. Take the dough out from the plastic bag and roll it out with a rolling pin, into a roughly rectangular shape (about 50 cm x 40 cm, and 2 mm – or 1/16 inch – thick).

    knead
  5. Cut the sheet of cookie dough into little 2 cm x 6 cm rectangles.

    cuttingrectangle
  6. Put the leftover dough edges into a plastic bag to protect them from drying out.
  7. Make 3 slits in the middle of each piece of dough.3-slits
  8. Push one  end of the dough through the center slit to a make ribbon shape.

    ribbon
  9. Take the leftover dough out and spread it on the cutting board with the rolling pin. Cut it into any of your favorite shapes: triangles, squares, whatever – or use a cookie cutter.cutter
  10. Heat up vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan.
  11. *tip: Put a sample of the cookie dough into the heated oil to check if it’s the right temperature. The dough should float slowly on the surface of the heated oil.



    Let’s Make syrup!
    Place ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water into a pot and bring to a boil over low heat for about 20 minutes. About half of the water should evaporate, so the syrup is nice and thick.syrup
  12. Turn the heat off and add 1 ts cinnamon powder and stir it well.
  13. Gently toss the cookies with the syrup to lightly coat them.
  14. Sprinkle the chopped pine nuts on top of the cookies.
  15. Serve it with tea.

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102 Comments:

  1. RosyIvory Egypt My profile page joined 12/13
    Posted December 18th, 2013 at 2:33 pm | # |

    Hi,
    I decided to make a Korean day here at home for my family and going to include these cookies to the menu :)
    I was wondering, can I make the dough, cut and shape it a day or two ahead and fry it on time?

  2. jaylivg Houston My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted June 23rd, 2013 at 6:46 pm | # |

    I tried making this cookies today , they turned out yummy . Very crunchy too .. i had fun making them . They’re a little time consuming , but i really don’t mind making it . It’s a fun project anyway .
    Jay and Nick love the cookies , esp. my husband .. he said these cookies are too dangerous .. since he can’t stop snacking on them !!

    Thanks Maangchi !

  3. helenzella My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted March 27th, 2013 at 6:51 am | # |

    I just made this with my 7 yr old son…as a cooking activity. My son had a blast! And he loved the taste of these cookies. Thanks for the recipe, Maangchi!

  4. AnnLee Indonesia My profile page joined 9/12
    Posted September 10th, 2012 at 2:45 am | # |

    Maangchi, I’ve just read an article about “Ddong ppang”. The article said that it’s a Korean Fortune cookies and it’s very popular there. If you have the recipe, could you please share me?? I think that the cookies is very cute. Thank you so much…

  5. pini2k Chile My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted July 7th, 2012 at 12:55 pm | # |

    This is so cool. Just the other day my mom made some Chilean treats called “calzones rotos” (torn underwear in Spanish). Why do I mention this? Well, the shape is almost identical to maejakgwa!
    Calzones rotos have baking powder in them so they are puffier than maejakgwa. And instead of a syrup, they are sprinkled with powdered sugar. But, I will definitely try making maejakgwa! :)
    You can see a pic of calzones rotos here: http://www.midiariodecocina.com/2010/09/calzones-rotos.html

  6. o0kagome0o Ireland My profile page joined 4/12
    Posted April 13th, 2012 at 2:50 pm | # |

    it was very nice of you to share this recipe :) i tired it and i was very nice XD, thank you very much for sharing this :)

  7. lmhjgsfever Hungary My profile page joined 1/12
    Posted February 23rd, 2012 at 1:47 pm | # |

    I made this and I have to say that it was a hit with everyone who tried the the cookies, really nice and crunchy, thanks again

  8. Noha Egypt,Cairo My profile page joined 12/11
    Posted December 18th, 2011 at 3:06 pm | # |

    Hi,i made the syrup and after i have added the cinnamon powder it became like small balls of sugar stuck together instead of becoming a liquid . why did this happen ? :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 19th, 2011 at 10:56 am | # |

      It sound like you stirred the sugar solution when it boils. Mix sugar and water well in the pot and let it simmer and do not stir until done.
      “Place ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water into a pot and bring to a boil over low heat for about 20 minutes. About half of the water should evaporate, so the syrup is nice and thick. “

  9. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines My profile page I'm a fan! joined 11/11
    Posted November 21st, 2011 at 1:55 am | # |

    perfect for christmas gift and love the crunchy cookies which are ginger and cinnamon flavored…

  10. Teagen Munich Germany My profile page joined 8/11
    Posted August 14th, 2011 at 4:37 am | # |

    dear maangchi how long will they last in the pantry?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 14th, 2011 at 1:31 pm | # |

      Keep them in the refrigerator up to 1 week, or freeze them. If you keep them at room temperature, the cookies will lose their crunch

  11. xErr0rx Sweden My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted June 24th, 2011 at 2:20 am | # |

    Wow, they look delicious! Do I have to use the pine nuts, can I use like cashew or can I just leave the nuts out? :)

  12. mumms El Salvador My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted June 24th, 2011 at 12:45 am | # |

    Hi maangchi!! I just joined your blog and I have to say I’m in love with all your recipes!! they’re soo awesome and easy to follow!! sadly, in my country its really difficult to find all the ingredients, even in asian markets around here, but that doesn’t stop me from trying and making some of your delicious recipes!! I’m gonna try and do this cute ginger cookies tomorrow!! really excited!! :D please keep making such delicious food!! maangchi hwaiting!!!

  13. chung_hayoon Los Angeles My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted June 5th, 2011 at 5:57 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    Because of the restrictions my parents set in our kitchen, i had to make a few adjustments to ur way, but it still came out wonderfully!
    – instead of deep-frying, i coated a pan with vegetable oil and baked the cookies at 325 degrees. it came out wonderfully.
    – my parents dont let me use sugar too much, so i drizzles the cookies with honey instead!
    so for other people to know, baking works too! (sorry.. my parents are complete health nuts and hates it when i deep fry things XD)

  14. mokpochica Michigan My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/09
    Posted May 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 pm | # |

    Made these with my kids today and they were a hit. They had fun making shapes of their own. I was worried that the ginger flavor would be too strong, but next time I think I will add extra ginger. Ginger and cinnamon go so well together. Maybe sujunggwa would taste good with these cookies.

  15. Cheonyong Indonesia My profile page joined 4/11
    Posted April 18th, 2011 at 3:12 am | # |

    Hellooo, Mangchii…
    nice to meet you~
    I have been visiting this site for many times and finnaly I decide to be a member…
    and I am making this cookie now…
    I hope I do it right…
    because this one looks very delicious~!

    • Cheonyong Indonesia My profile page joined 4/11
      Posted April 18th, 2011 at 6:14 am | # |

      and It Turn Out Great!
      I think I make it too big…
      hehehe…
      but it still crunchy…
      I’ll stocked a lot of flour for this!

  16. LLW1213 Arizona My profile page joined 3/11
    Posted March 16th, 2011 at 2:12 am | # |

    Um this is kinda weird to ask but do you think these cookies would be good with green tea ice cream?

  17. mkktquinn My profile page joined 3/11
    Posted March 1st, 2011 at 7:03 pm | # |

    Wonderful cookies. We couldn’t stop eating them. They also were easy to make. Thanks for the recipe:)

  18. Kayla Baltimore, Maryland My profile page joined 11/10
    Posted December 19th, 2010 at 2:12 am | # |

    I made these today to take to a Christmas party and they came out perfect. I wish I had a camera so I could take a picture because they were so pretty.

    I kneaded the dough by hand and I found that if the dough was too dry and crumbly, wetting my hands while kneading added the perfect amount of water. In all I suppose I added 3 teaspoons of water. I also added a bit more ginger juice since I like a very gingery cookie.

    A note on the ginger juice: I saw someone wondering how they could extract juice if they didn’t have a grater and I came up with a solution. Finely mince a piece of ginger the size of your palm and place in a 1/3 cup size measuring cup with two pinches of salt. Place a 1/4 cup size measuring cup inside of the 1/3 cup size and balance something heavy on top, like a big book or a small saucepan filled with water. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then squeeze the ginger until no more juice runs out. It should give you a tablespoon or so of liquid.

    I also made the liquid with corn syrup and honey in addition to the simple syrup because I didn’t want the sugar to burn (I am notorious for that). Time consuming, but they came out great and everyone loved them! Thanks, Maangchi!

  19. melly My profile page joined 10/10
    Posted October 14th, 2010 at 2:52 pm | # |

    I really want to send my mother in law some homemade treats for Christmas and I was going to make her a package of Kkae Dasik and a second treat. Will the Ginger cookies do well If they are made the night before a plane trip as she lives out of state or will they become soggy from the syrup?

  20. wizlaurastar chicago My profile page joined 9/10
    Posted September 15th, 2010 at 2:33 pm | # |

    Maangchi.

    Thank you for this recipe. I love ginger and this recipe. Keep them coming. I’m looking for a candied ginger recipe dipped in sugar or chocolate. I’m interested in what you have baking on that topic.

    Laura

    P.S. aigo

  21. yellowcindy North Carolina, USA My profile page joined 8/10
    Posted August 5th, 2010 at 12:40 am | # |

    i made this and my family loved it.
    thanx for the recipe
    love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 5th, 2010 at 7:50 pm | # |

      You must be busy cooking Korean food these days, yellowcindy! I’m glad your family loved your maejakgwa!

  22. pebble My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted June 18th, 2010 at 12:11 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    Can i put in the syrup if i want to keep the cookies in a container for a few days? Can i use the corn syrup instead? thank you for your lovely and easy recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 18th, 2010 at 1:36 pm | # |

      no, after dipping the cookies in syrup, you have to take them out and keep them in an air tight container before putting them in the fridge. Otherwise, the cookies will get soggy.

  23. AnDy Canada ,Montreal My profile page joined 6/10
    Posted June 8th, 2010 at 10:30 am | # |

    hey Maangchi im trying doing it without the food processor by hands but the paste is not like yours it comes in allot of circle it doesn’t come as one what should id should i put more water

  24. Laury Tan rowland heights, california My profile page I'm a fan! joined 3/10
    Posted May 20th, 2010 at 9:51 pm | # |

    oh and maangchi is the pine nuts you were using raw?

  25. kennethmoore Washington, DC My profile page I'm a fan! joined 2/10
    Posted May 16th, 2010 at 10:56 pm | # |

    Maangchi! It took me so long to cook these. I didn’t actually use the full recipe, but I featured it in my Foodie Fight competition entry! I fried fun-shaped wonton wrappers and coated them in delicious syrup. Next time, I will follow your recipe–it must be more delicious to have the ginger in the dough, like you do!

  26. Laury Tan rowland heights, california My profile page I'm a fan! joined 3/10
    Posted May 8th, 2010 at 12:39 pm | # |

    i think i’m gonna make this for my boyfriend soon<3

  27. eg0550361 Los Angeles My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted April 28th, 2010 at 10:41 am | # |

    I tried this recipe last night, my whole family loved it! Im pleased that the ingredients are easy to find, and the c=recipes are clear. Ill be sure to try more of your recipes!

  28. tresor algeria My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted April 11th, 2010 at 2:35 am | # |

    we have something really similar in algeria too, it’s called “griwesh” (or chebbakiya, it depends on the region)
    we just don’t use ginger in the dough, but cinnamon powder or orange flower water, and in place of the pine nuts we use sesame seeds.
    some people use honey instead of syrup
    and we serve it with mint tea :p
    even the way we cut them is similar !!! (we make 4 slits and we do a double ribon :))
    it’s a cookie we make for celebrations.
    thank you so much for your work on this blog :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 12th, 2010 at 10:15 am | # |

      Wow there are so many similar foods in the world, but this mawjakwa really seems to be international. “4 slits and we do a double ribon ” I should try it out! thank you for sharing your culture relating to this recipe.

  29. eviLeviathanMaybe Philippines My profile page joined 4/10
    Posted April 8th, 2010 at 9:56 am | # |

    can I use peanuts or any other nut to substitute for pine nuts?

  30. krislovexoxo Richmond Hill, ON My profile page joined 3/10
    Posted March 29th, 2010 at 4:09 pm | # |

    I have a question, if you don’t have something to grind the ginger in or to squeeze the juice out, what other methods or tecniques could you possibly use? Also, would it taste okay if I don’t use ginger?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 30th, 2010 at 10:11 pm | # |

      Whatever method you use, crush ginger to get a little juice! That’s your job! : ) Ginger gives this cookie good flavor,but if you don’t like to use ginger, skip it.

  31. xtinemay My profile page joined 3/10
    Posted March 16th, 2010 at 7:53 pm | # |

    hello (: i was just curious, does the syrup coating on the cookies turn hard like toffee afterwards? or does it stay wet and sticky?

  32. meneada My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted February 20th, 2010 at 3:05 pm | # |

    In Poland we have very similar cookies. They are called “chrust” or “faworki” or “jaworki”- it depends on the region, and are usually eaten on the Fat Thursday. The dough is made from flour, a lot of eggs, sugar, small amount of fat and a little bit of vinegar, some recipes also consist bear :). They are also deep fried and you also cut them and fold into a ribbon shape, and then you dust it with powdered sugar.
    Culture may be different, but food unites people :)

    • meneada My profile page joined 2/10
      Posted February 20th, 2010 at 3:07 pm | # |

      Now I noticed: It’s beer not bear, you can’t add the animal to the cookies :)

      • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
        Posted February 21st, 2010 at 3:02 am | # |

        lol, nobody will think you meant bear. : ) “Culture may be different, but food unites people.” I agree!

        • quseio2 pennsylvannuia My profile page joined 12/11
          Posted December 21st, 2011 at 8:18 pm | # |

          actually i thought for a second he might mean bear… i know of recipes that use bear grease instead of butter :)

  33. JLS Philippines My profile page joined 2/10
    Posted February 5th, 2010 at 3:11 am | # |

    Do you have the recipe of using ginger into sweets like what have been shown in Jewel in the Palace? This was serve to the king when what was left in the storeroom was only ginger and lotus roots.

    JLS

    Also, can you show how to make rice cakes like what have been broadcasting in Arirang TV.

  34. BabyMissa My profile page joined 1/10
    Posted January 14th, 2010 at 3:02 am | # |

    There is a nearly identical cookie from Norway that my family makes. We put a little more sweetness in it and dust it with powdered sugar instead :)

    I’m excited to try this recipe soon

  35. HoSeung
    Posted January 3rd, 2010 at 4:55 pm | # |

    Hello I am a student from Punahou. I had to make a cookie or quick bread FOR my home-ec project. THANK YOU so much for the recipe.

    • Kaysea
      Posted January 8th, 2010 at 10:36 pm | # |

      hey HoSeung =]

      it’s nice to know that there’s someone else from Hawaii that watches Maangchi! :D

      how’d your cookies come out?

  36. Jinju
    Posted January 2nd, 2010 at 1:32 am | # |

    Hello!!

    I have been watching all of your videos ever since I found you on youtube by accident, I love all of your recipes, I made these and some of the rainbow ricecake for my korean mother. She loved them both! Thank you so much for the recipes. I was wondering if you would also happen to know how to make 밤빵?? The little baked pastries that look like chestnuts. My 이모 won’t show me how to make it, she says she wants to keep it a secret, haha.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 2nd, 2010 at 3:32 am | # |

      oh,it sounds like your aunt knows the recipe! : )
      Yes, I will include it to the list of my upcoming recipes.

  37. Jonathan
    Posted December 31st, 2009 at 4:31 pm | # |

    I made it today… it didn’t turn out perfectly though. The dough was really sticky (could I have kneaded for too long? I used a kitchenaid mixer), and I didn’t have the time to cut all of the ribbons, so I used a small circular cookie cutter. They got really puffy when I cooked them, but they were good nonetheless!

    Here is the picture: http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/6315/maejakgwa.jpg

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 31st, 2009 at 5:19 pm | # |

      Jonathan,
      your maejakgwa looks very good and cute! : )

      Anyway next time you make it again, I’m sure you will be more satisfied with your cookies!
      Why?
      Practice makes perfect! lol

      If your dough is too sticky, add more flour.
      I have made maejakgwa twice since I made it for this video recipe. Yeah, I used cookie cutter once and it really saved time! When you use a cookie cutter, the sheet of dough should be very thin, Otherwise, it won’t be crispy enough when it’s fried.

      I’m happy to chat with you about “Maejakgwa story” through this post just before going to my New Year’s Eve party. : )

      Happy New Year! I will post the photo on my website soon!

      • Jonathan
        Posted January 4th, 2010 at 9:38 am | # |

        I’m definitely planning on making them again! I’m sure what you said is right – I’ll just add a little bit more flour next time if it seems too sticky. I’ll post a picture when I’ve made them. :)

        Happy New Year!!

  38. HeeYoun
    Posted December 30th, 2009 at 4:04 am | # |

    I’ve seen pictures where they seem to have been colored; a different color on each side, so when braided, you can see both. Do you know how they are able to dye both sides of the dough?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 30th, 2009 at 7:50 am | # |

      It’s easy, but takes much more time!
      First you will have to make 2 different color dough
      Roll them out separately very thinly,
      Put them together and roll them out again
      That’s it! The rest of process is the same as the recipe I posted.
      Happy New Year!

  39. Desiree
    Posted December 21st, 2009 at 3:30 pm | # |

    I just got done making these cookies. Mine did not turn out crunchy like you said. Maybe I need to roll the dough finer? However,I still liked the way they came out, but I had to add a little bit more water than you specified for the dough to come together and I only added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon in the syrup as 1tsp would have been too much. After mixing the syrup with the cookies, I lay them all out in a baking tray to cool.

    • Desiree
      Posted December 21st, 2009 at 3:32 pm | # |

      Could you tell me how to store these as I need to take them to my mother-in-laws for Christmas

      • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
        Posted December 22nd, 2009 at 3:36 am | # |

        yes, if you want more crunchy cookies, roll the cookie dough thinner and fry it until it is a little dark brown instead of light brown.
        Put the cookies in a container and keep them in the refrigerator.
        Your mother-in-law will be impressed when she receives the precious cookies you make!

    • Sung
      Posted December 22nd, 2009 at 5:52 pm | # |

      Maybe you used too much water. If you have trouble kneading with less water, you can mix vodka to water. As vodka is about 50% water 50% alcohol and as alcohol will evaporate much faster than water, you can use same amount of water as Maangchi and still have more liquid to knead.

  40. Jackie
    Posted December 21st, 2009 at 2:57 am | # |

    Hey Maangchi,

    Where did you buy your food processor at? it looks like it is working really good.

  41. Kim
    Posted December 20th, 2009 at 11:04 pm | # |

    Love these ginger cookies! Can you also make mooncakes?

  42. Trisha
    Posted December 20th, 2009 at 11:45 am | # |

    Oh my! This recipe is the same as Indian traditional cookies, except for the pine nuts..
    Indian women make these cookies on the day before a wedding, to celebrate :)

  43. Wai See
    Posted December 19th, 2009 at 5:56 am | # |

    Like your recipes… The cookie is almost the same as Chinese’s “sek kek mah” but uses malt syrup instead of sugar. By the way, please share the black bean banchan recipe. Like those black bean serve at the restaurants. Thanks.

  44. David KimChi
    Posted December 19th, 2009 at 3:33 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I liked your ginger cookie recipe, but I think you forgot to put sesame oil at the end.

  45. Ed
    Posted December 19th, 2009 at 1:12 am | # |

    My mom used to make these for me and my sisters when we were growing up. Instead of syrup she put confectioners sugar on them. Happy Holidays everyone!

  46. Stephanie
    Posted December 18th, 2009 at 5:32 pm | # |

    hey maangchi I just made this half an hour ago and they are delicious but are they supposed to be very crunchy or soft in the middle? mine are very crunchy and are darker brown then your cookies. do you think i overfried them?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted December 18th, 2009 at 6:47 pm | # |

      half an hour ago! oh, I think I smelled it! lol
      Congratulation! Where is the photo! : )

      They are supposed to be crunchy! Nothing wrong with your brownish cookies. If you like to make cookies like mine (light brown), use fresh oil and make sure to check the oil temperature. It shouldn’t be too high.

  47. Korean News Guy
    Posted December 17th, 2009 at 11:47 pm | # |

    Wow, My mother-in-law makes these. So much fresh ginger, it hurts! I’ll show this recipe to her. Thanks Maangchi.

  48. kevin
    Posted December 17th, 2009 at 8:16 pm | # |

    where is the download for this for this recipe
    looks so yummie =P
    hehe
    i want it :)

    ~Thanks Maangchi

  49. Flower Venezuela My profile page I'm a fan! joined 3/09
    Posted December 17th, 2009 at 7:30 pm | # |

    I love these cookies, I love ginger cookies, but I have baked, not fried, I´ll make many cookies for gifts.
    Thanks for the recipe. I´ll put it on my blog is amazing. ^^

  50. Narico
    Posted December 17th, 2009 at 4:51 pm | # |

    Yes, Just in time for the Holidays! I’m not too skilled with a knife so I’ll just have to stick with my cutters as well, haha. I love watching your vids and trying out new things. I’ll have to take pictures when I try my hand at these~ Happy Holidays, Maangchi!

  51. Alex
    Posted December 17th, 2009 at 4:16 pm | # |

    YAY! I feel so special cause I requested this recipe! Thanks Maangchi^_^; It’ll make a great winter desert with tea!

    • Alex
      Posted December 17th, 2009 at 6:58 pm | # |

      one thing i forgot to mention. this is what my mom does. she uses the rectangular/square 만두피 and cuts it into thirds i think. Then you got yourself a maejakgwa base! :D I think its easier for people to use that if they dont have time to cut all those.


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