Korean
Gochujang caramel cookies on a parchment paper.

Gochujang Caramel Cookies, inspired by a New York Times recipe, bring a spicy twist to classic sugar cookies. Combining sweet and spicy with rich gochujang caramel, they offer a unique, crunchy yet chewy cookie experience.

Gochujang caramel cookies on parchment paper.Gochujang caramel cookies on parchment paper.

When my college daughter shared a New York Times post about gochujang cookies, I was intrigued. The idea of ​​using gochujang, a Korean chili paste, in cookies or any sweet dessert had never crossed my mind.

However, it got me thinking: If bacon can be topped for donuts or made into jam, why not experiment with gochujang in biscuits?

A stack of gocjunag biscuits showing the crunchy and chewy texture.A stack of gocjunag biscuits showing the crunchy and chewy texture.

Gochujang Caramel Cookies by Eric Kim

These gochujang caramel cookies, introduced last year by Eric Kim, food columnist for the New York Times, initially sparked curiosity. But, just like many others, I was pleasantly surprised by their taste after trying them.

They boast a delicious texture, crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, reminiscent of classic snickerdoodle cookies. The cookies feature a subtle hint of caramelized gochujang, adding a light spicy note that cuts through the sweetness, balancing the flavors without being overwhelming.

Even my husband, a self-proclaimed cookie purist, was impressed. He liked them so much that he suggested we make them for the Christmas cookie exchange party. Maybe we will!

I'm adding my own twist to Eric Kim's cookie recipe, with a slightly different approach to making the dough. I also use an electric mixer instead of kneading by hand, to make the process easier.

Korean Gochujang Pasta

A bowl of homemade gochujang (Korean chili paste).A bowl of homemade gochujang (Korean chili paste).

Gochujang is an essential Korean seasoning made from red chili pepper, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. This fermented Korean red chili paste is spicy, slightly sweet, and full of umami flavor, making it perfect for this unique gochujang sugar cookie recipe.

In Korean cuisine, gochujang is often used to add heat and complex flavor. It is the main ingredient of 'tteokbokki', a dish with sweet and spicy rice cakes, and 'bibimbap', a mixed dish of rice with vegetables and meat. Besides that, it enhances stews, marinades and sauces with its distinct Korean flavor.

With the growing trend of exploring different cuisines at home, finding gochujang has become more convenient. It is typically available in the Asian section of local supermarkets, Korean or Asian grocery stores, or through online retailers.

For those who are curious about making your own gochujang at home, I've included a quick and easy recipe that shows you how to make gochujang in just 10 minutes. Incorporate this flavorful Korean pastry into your culinary creations, starting with these delicious spiced caramel cookies.

Try my Korean Fire Chicken recipe, known as Cheese Buldak, if you're interested in exploring the use of gochujang. It's a popular Korean fusion dish that you'll love if you can handle a little heat.

Ingredients you will need

Ingredients to prepare the gochujang caramel biscuits recipe.Ingredients to prepare the gochujang caramel biscuits recipe.

This recipe combines everyday pantry items with the unique addition of Korean chili paste. Here's a breakdown of how each ingredient:

Butter: Provides richness and a smooth texture. It also helps create a tender crumb in cookies.
Gochujang (Korean chili paste): the main ingredient! It adds a subtle warmth and depth, complementing the sweetness of the sugars.

Sugars (both white and brown): White sugar adds sweetness and helps achieve a crunchy texture, while brown sugar adds moisture and a light molasses flavor.

Egg: It acts as a binder, giving structure to the biscuits and contributing to their chewy texture.
All-purpose flour: The base of cookie dough, provides structure and ensures cookies hold their shape.

Sodium bicarbonate: A leavening agent that helps cookies rise and become fluffy.

Salt: Enhances flavors and balances sweetness.

Cinnamon: It adds a warm, spicy note that pairs beautifully with the gochujang.

Vanilla Extract: It completes the flavors with its sweet and aromatic essence.

How to Make Gochujang Caramel Cookies

Gochujang caramel ingredients combined in a small bowl.Gochujang caramel ingredients combined in a small bowl.

Prepare Gochujang Caramel Paste:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon butter with brown sugar and gochujang to form a paste. Set aside.
Mixture of dry ingredients added to the wet mixture.Mixture of dry ingredients added to the wet mixture.

Prepare the cookie dough:

  • Beat the rest of the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy.
  • In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add it to the creamy mixture. Mix well.
  • Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
Gochujang caramel paste combined with marble pattern cookie dough.Gochujang caramel paste combined with marble pattern cookie dough.

Marbled appearance with Gochujang caramel paste

  • Remove the dough from the fridge. Add the gochujang caramel paste in small quantities.
  • Mix gently to create a marbled appearance. Don't overdo it – you want to see caramel swirls.
Cookie dough balls are placed on a lined baking sheet.Cookie dough balls are placed on a lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Use a large scoop (3 tablespoons) to form 12 cookies. Place 6 on each sheet, spaced apart. (If you use a smaller measuring cup, you can make 24 cookies.)
  • Cook for 11-13 minutes until they appear cracked on the surface and golden on the edges. Halfway through cooking, swap the sheets in the oven.
  • Let them cool a little on the sheets, then move them to a wire rack to cool.
A spatula lifting a baked gochujang cookie.A spatula lifting a baked gochujang cookie.

Storage of cookies

Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. However, it will disappear quickly!

More Korean fusion recipes

Gochujang caramel cookies on parchment paper.Gochujang caramel cookies on parchment paper.

New York Times Gochujang Caramel Cookies

Gochujang Caramel Cookies put a spicy twist on classic sugar cookies. Combining sweet and spicy with rich gochujang caramel, they offer a unique, crunchy yet chewy cookie experience. Makes 12 large cookiesAdapted from The kitchen of the New York Times

  • 8 spoon (113 g) unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 2 table spoon light brown sugar
  • 1 full spoon Korean chili paste (gochujang)
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 great egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup (180 g) All purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparing Gochujang Caramel Paste:

Prepare the biscuit dough:

  • Using a stand mixer or stand mixer, beat the remaining butter with the sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add it to the butter mixture, mixing until smooth. Refrigerate the dough for 10-15 minutes.

  • While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone mats.

  • Remove the dough from the fridge. Add a few spoonfuls of gochujang caramel paste to the cookie dough. Use a stiff spatula to gently swirl the caramel into a marbled pattern in the mixture, making sure to maintain visible color contrast.

Cooking biscuits:

  • Bake the biscuits for 11-13 minutes, until they show cracks on the top and are golden around the edges. Rotate the trays halfway through cooking to achieve even cooking.

  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 3 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

  • Storing biscuits Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay good for up to three days.

Calories: 268kcal, Carbohydrates: 44G, Protein: 4G, Fat: 9G, Saturated fats: 5G, Polyunsaturated fats: 1G, Monounsaturated fat: 2G, Trans fats: 0.3G, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 199mg, Potassium: 43mg, Fiber: 1G, Sugar: 22G, Vitamin A: 269UI, C vitamin: 0.01mg, Soccer: 12mg, Iron: 1mg

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