Today we’re going to learn how to make a soft, no-bake Korean cookie made from chestnuts, called yul-lan. They are smooth and soft and have a very subtle, lightly sweet taste. They go great with tea. They are simple to make, but as you see in the video, it can take some time to boil, pound, and shape the chestnuts.
I love to eat steamed chestnuts as a snack. I Just boil them, split them in half, scoop out the middle, and eat. You can also mix the insides of steamed chestnuts with milk to make baby food.
Yul-lan is a kind of traditional Korean confectionary called suksilgwa, which are made from cooked fruits and nuts and then reshaped, often to resemble the ingredients they were made from. It was traditionally something that was strictly for the upper classes and royalty during the Joseon dynasty (1392 to 1897), but these days they are enjoyed by all kinds of people.
Check out the recipe and the video, and give these cookies a try! Enjoy my recipe and let me know how it goes!
Ingredients (for 12 cookies)
- ½ pound chestnuts
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon green tea powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon roasted black sesame seeds (optional)
- Wash the chestnuts in cold water. Put them into a small, heavy pot and add enough water to submerge them.
- Boil for 15 minutes over medium high heat.
- Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Put the hot chestnuts into a strainer and rinse them in cold running water. Strain.
- Cut each chestnut in half lengthwise. Scoop the cooked chestnuts out with a small teaspoon and put them into a mortar or bowl.
- Pound the cooked chestnuts with a pestle until there are no lumps.
- Put the wire strainer over a bowl. Add the pounded chestnut to the strainer. Press and push the pounded chestnuts down with a wooden spoon so they go through the strainer. It will make 1½ cup of fine, strained chestnut powder in a bowl. Set aside.
- Add honey, cinnamon powder, and salt in a small pot and cook it over medium heat, stirring the sticky syrup until it’s well mixed.
- Pour the syrup over the pounded chestnuts and mix well with a wooden spoon. Then knead it by hand to make a soft lump of smooth dough.
- Divide the dough in half. Each half can be divided into 6 small pieces to make a total of 12 cookies. Cover the pieces with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out while you finish.
- Shape each small piece into a small chestnut shaped cookie.
- For each cookie, dip the larger end into honey and then into the chopped nuts or green tea and roasted sesame seeds. Dip them one by one and put them on a plate.
- Serve with hot tea.