Christmas

Korean Misugaru & Chocolate Checkerboard Cookies

by:
December 16, 2021
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Photo by y_c_8
Author Notes

When the weather would begin to drop, my mother would drag my sister and I to H-Mart or HanYang, to stock up for the upcoming Kimjang.
She would slam and slide 50 pound boxes of Napa cabbage and Korean Mu into our cart while mentally reviewing the different brands of gochugaru, scallion, garlic, sea salt, and preserved shrimp.

My family of three would do the aisles – picking up samples like small paper cups of ramyun, or toothpicks with pieces of real galbi, or cupcake wrappers filled with dried seasoned seaweed.

But in the Winter, thats when they would serve the samples of creamy and nutty Misugaru. A seasonal sample– the small styrofoam cup of Misugaru seemed to refuel all of the families shopping for their own Kimjangs.

A staple drink in Korea, especially enjoyed in the colder weather, Misugaru is made from a powder that consists of roasted grains that are then finely grounded up. Usually always containing barley, oats, sweet rice, brown rice, & soybeans – the powder ingredient is filling, nutritious, and delicious. The flavor is malty and nutty, demanding attention without being overbearing.

Adapted from the always reliable King Arthur website – these cookies were created from the cold winds forming in New York City right now, as well as from Kimjangs with my mother, and a sudden and unbearable craving for checkerboard shortbread cookies.

My mother was shopping to make her kimchi now that winter is approaching and gifted me with a nostalgic bag of Misugaru. I used that bag to make these cookies and that night, I ate them after my dinner of rice, egg, and kimchi.

They were delicious and different, but they still made me think of the Winter, of H-Mart, and of my family.
y_c_8

  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 16 minutes
  • makes 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • Misugaru Dough
  • 25 grams misugaru
  • 160 grams all purpose flour
  • 150 grams cold butter
  • 65 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate Dough
  • 25 grams dutch cocoa powder
  • 160 grams all purpose flour
  • 150 grams cold butter
  • 65 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Misugaru Dough
  2. Place the cold butter, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Cream the mixture until they have completely combined together – turning fluffy and light.
  3. Into the butter & sugar mixture, add the yolks and mix thoroughly until smooth.
  4. Sift in flour and misugaru powder into the butter & egg mixture, incorporating everything together on low-speed. Stop when the dough is still loose and shaggy but mostly together.
  5. Lay out a square of plastic wrap and place your ball of dough in the middle. Work quickly to prevent butter from melting as you loosely shape the dough into a square. Wrap up the dough and smooth both surfaces with a rolling pin before placing it in the fridge.
  6. Using the same mixing bowl used for the misugaru dough, make the chocolate dough in the same way. Add the almond extract (which is optional) in with the eggs. Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the wet ingredients as you did with the misugaru.
  7. Wrap, smooth, and refrigerate the chocolate dough with it's misugaru partner until both are completely chilled (about 2 hours).
  8. While the dough is chilling in the fridge, whisk up two egg whites with three drops of water until frothy and foamy. This will serve as the glue between your two doughs.
  1. Chocolate Dough
  2. To assemble the cookies, one needs patience, agility, and confidence. It's important to work quickly so the butter doesn't melt in the dough.
  3. Take the two doughs out of the fridge and roll each of them into a square about 1/2" thick.
  4. Brush one face of the misugaru dough with the beaten egg whites. Place the chocolate dough on top and gently press the two together until completely conjoined.
  5. Trim the edges of the conjoined square to create clean edges all around. Cut the stacked dough square in half vertically, to create two strips.
  6. Cut those strips in half again, and you should be left with four strips of stacked cookie dough.
  7. Brush one strip with some of the egg white and place a second strip on top, making sure to rotate the top strip in order to create the checkerboard pattern.
  8. Wrap your cookie dough logs with saran wrap and place them in the fridge.
  9. You can use the trimmings of the cookies to create marble patterned shortbread cookies. Simple roll the chocolate and misugaru doughs together into a ball and place them in the fridge to cool.
  10. While the two logs of dough are chilling, and make sure they are completely chilled before baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. When ready to bake, cut the cookies about 1/4" thick and place them on the baking sheets. Make sure to give the cookies about two inches of space between one another.
  12. Bake the cookies for about 12-16 minutes (I usually find it takes closer to 16) and remove when the misugaru dough have a light golden bottom. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool completely for best t

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