The Season’s Buzziest Cookie Is Like a Spicy Snickerdoodle and We’re Obsessed
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No matter where you’re from, everyone loves a rich, chewy cookie. But sometimes you want to mix up the menu with a creative cookie riff! This holiday season, New York Times food columnist Eric Kim has you covered with his unique twist on a classic cookie favorite. Thousands of food enthusiasts have tried and shared his recipe, thanks to both its familiar “snickerdoodle vibes” and its surprising secret ingredient: spicy-sweet gochujang, a Korean chili that gives these cookies a whole new flavor.
What Is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a fermented chile paste that originated in Korea. Bright-red, thick and slightly sticky, it is popular in Korean barbecue due to its perfect balance of savory, sweet and spicy notes. It is traditionally made from gochugaru (powdered peppers), barley malt, sweet rice, soybean powder and salt.
For added sweetness, some people add rice syrup or plum extract, but the fermentation process naturally sweetens the included grains. It can be purchased at most major grocery stores and online, and comes in different spiciness levels to accommodate all palates.
How to Make Gochujang Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 packed tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 heaping tablespoon gochujang
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Step 1: Make the gochujang “caramel”
Combine 1 tablespoon of the butter, the brown sugar and the gochujang in a small bowl. Stir until smooth, then set aside.
Step 2: Make the cookie dough
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 7 tablespoons of butter, granulated sugar, egg, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Using a spatula, stir in the baking soda and flour. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat the oven
Set the oven to 350°F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Step 4: Swirl in the caramel
Once the dough is chilled, spoon 3 or 4 large scoops of the gochujang caramel over it. Gently swirl the caramel into the dough, making sure not to overwork it. You want thick ripples of red caramel spaced evenly throughout.
Step 5: Bake
Drop 1/4 cup-sized rounds of cookie dough onto the lined sheet pans, leaving at least three inches between each blob. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, or until the edges are golden brown and the centers are set, but chewy.
Step 6: Cool and Enjoy
Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet pans before you start munching. The cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days—if they last that long!
Now that you’ve devoured the whole batch of cookies, you might be wondering how to use the rest of that gochujang. Fear not: because it is fermented, it will keep in the fridge for months without spoiling. In addition to making more cookies (duh!), we suggest adding it to marinades for your favorite protein and other Korean-inspired dishes for a spicy kick.
Lastly, if this extraordinary recipe has you craving other creative cookie flavors, perhaps try Norwegian Krumkakes, Filipino Silvanas or Peruvian Alfajores. As these cookies prove, it’s hard to go wrong with sugar and butter!