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, kosher 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 kosher 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. Jonathan& has 6 comments

    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:

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      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!
      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& has 6 comments

        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!!

  2. HeeYoun& has 2 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      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!

  3. Desiree& has 3 comments

    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& has 3 comments

      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 joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

        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& has 1 comment

      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.

  4. Hey Maangchi,

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

  5. Love these ginger cookies! Can you also make mooncakes?

  6. 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 :)

  7. Wai See& has 2 comments

    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.

  8. David KimChi& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

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

  9. 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!

  10. Stephanie& has 2 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      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.

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

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

    ~Thanks Maangchi

  13. Flower Venezuela joined 3/09 & has 10 comments

    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. ^^

  14. 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!

  15. Alex& has 47 comments

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

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