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.



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



  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).

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

  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.

  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.




  1. Vey Indonesia joined 6/17
    Posted July 2nd, 2017 at 9:43 am | # |

    I love ginger n that’s why i love this recipe. thanx a lot Maangchi..

    See full size image

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

    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?

  3. jaylivg Houston 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 !

  4. helenzella 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!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 27th, 2013 at 10:20 am | # |

      yay! I’m so happy to hear that your son loved your maejakgwa! yaho! : )

  5. AnnLee Indonesia 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…

  6. pini2k Chile 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:

  7. o0kagome0o Ireland 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 :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 14th, 2012 at 6:38 pm | # |

      Thank you for your nice words! Happy cooking!

  8. lmhjgsfever Hungary 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

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted April 14th, 2012 at 6:38 pm | # |

      yay, I’m happy for you!!

  9. Noha Egypt,Cairo 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 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. “

  10. chef Benedict Manila, Philippines 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…

  11. Teagen Munich Germany 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 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

  12. xErr0rx Sweden 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? :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 24th, 2011 at 8:31 am | # |

      Chopped cashew sounds great to me. Or skip it as you said. Delicious!

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