|Place of origin||Korea|
|Associated national cuisine||Korean cuisine|
|Main ingredients||Wheat flour, honey, sesame oil|
(per 1 serving)
|67.5 kcal (283 kJ)|
|This article is part of a series on|
Yakgwa (약과; 藥菓), also called gwajul (과줄), is a type of yumil-gwa, which is deep-fried, wheat-based hangwa (Korean confections). Traditionally, the sweet was offered in a jesa (ancestral rite) and enjoyed on festive days such as chuseok (harvest festival), marriages, or hwangap (sixtieth-birthday) celebrations. In modern South Korea, it is also served as a dessert and can be bought at traditional markets or supermarkets.
Yakgwa (약과; 藥菓), consisting of two syllables, yak (약; 藥; "medicine") and gwa (과; 菓; "confection"), means, "medicinal confection". This name comes from the large amount of honey that is used to prepare it, because pre-modern Koreans considered honey to be medicinal and so named many honey-based foods yak ("medicine").
"Honey cookie" is a common English translation for this confection's name.
Yakgwa is a food with a long history. It was made for Buddhist rites during the Later Silla era (668–935). During the Goryeo era (918–1392), yakgwa was used for pyebaek (a formal greeting) in the wedding ceremony of Goryeo kings and Yuan princesses.
In pre-modern Korea, yakgwa was mostly enjoyed by the upper classes, as wheat was a rare and cherished ingredient, and honey was also regarded highly.
Preparation and varieties
The dough is made by kneading sifted wheat flour with sesame oil, honey, ginger juice, and cheongju (rice wine). Yakgwa gets its shape by being pressed into flower-shaped wooden molds called yakgwa-pan (약과판), or flattened with a mallet and cut into squares. Depending on the size, yakgwa is classified into dae-yakgwa (large), jung-yakgwa (medium), and so-yakgwa (small). The ones cut into squares or rectangles are called mo-yakgwa (angular yakgwa). Shaped pieces are then slowly deep-fried at a relatively low temperature, around 120–140 °C (248–284 °F). The deep-fried cookies are then soaked in honey, mixed with cinnamon powder, and dried, which gives the yakgwa a sweet taste and a soft, moist texture.  The treat may also be sprinkled with various topping such as pine nuts or sesame seeds.
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