Creative Korean Chestnut Cookies (Yul-ran)

After being full of roasted chestnuts, I wondered what else I could try try making with this seasonal ingredient. There are many interesting dishes, and one of those is Korean Chestnut Cookies (Yul-lan). They are a small, lovely no-bake desserts made from chestnut powder, a bit of cinnamon powder, and honey. Moreover, you are free to be creative with various toppings, such as cacao powder, matcha powder, sesame seeds and crushed nuts.

Korean Chestnut Cookies

One more thing which made me be in love with Korean Chestnut Cookies is the low amount of sweetener used. Instead of mixing sugar into the dough, honey is used, and only a small amount is needed. This approach helps preserve the original taste of chestnut while still adding the pleasant fragrance and sweetness of honey, cinnamon, and other toppings. Let’s learn more about it and the making process below.

Origins of Korean Chestnut Cookies

Yul-ran (율란) is a type of traditional Korean treat known as suksilgwa. This is a confectionery is crafted by cooking fruits and nuts, and then molding them into shapes that often resemble their original ingredients. Originally, this dessert, like French Chestnut Candies, was exclusively reserved for the elite and royalty during the Joseon dynasty (1392 to 1897). Nowadays, everyone can easily try it in any season. Chestnut cookies can perfectly accompany a cup of hot tea, coffee, or chocolate.

Korean Chestnut Yulran

Ingredients

Because this was the first time I tried to make this type of cookies, I started with a small portion to make 9 cookies, enough for a homemade cookie box. The ingredients, as I mentioned, are very simple, but it will take some time into transform chestnuts to chestnut powder.

  • Chestnut: Roasted, steamed, or boiled chestnuts are then will be crushed and sifted through a strainer to obtain the smooth and light chestnut powder. I used around 120 peeled chestnuts, pounded with a pestle, and got around 100g (1/2 cup) of powder. There were still some uncrushed chestnut pieces, so I added them to my Chestnut Rice.
  • Honey: You’ll need 25-30g (2 tbsp) of honey per 100g (1/2 cup) of chestnut powder. It will act as a glue to combine the powder into a dough and prevent it from cracking.
  • Cinnamon powder: The powder adds a hint of earthy and warm flavor to our cookies. It’s the perfect match with chestnut, especially in winter when we need to warm up our bodies.
  • Toppings: There are many things you can try adding to enhance the flavors of the Korean Chestnut Cookies. I used all the available toppings at home, from white sesame and crushed peanuts to cacao and Matcha Powder. Crushed hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, etc., are all great options to try.
korean chestnut cookies ingredients
Ingredients set: chestnut powder, cinnamon honey, honey and toppings: cacao, matcha powder, white sesame and crushed peanut

Equipment

To make chestnut cookies, you may need several kitchen utensils. Please prepare:

How to make Korean Chestnut Cookies

There are three steps to make this special cookie. First, you’ll have to make a fine chestnut powder; then, add the cinnamon and honey mixture, mix them well, and shape them into lovely small chestnut cookies. Finally, top with your favorite toppings.

Making Chestnut powder

First, you need to cook chestnuts by either roasting, boiling, or steaming. Refer to this article: how to cook chestnuts for a detail instruction. In general, follow these steps:

  • Wash the chestnuts and remove any damaged ones. Score the chestnuts with a sharp knife or a chestnut clip. Then, bake them at 400F (200C) or boil them for 15 minutes. To steam the chestnuts, steam them for 20-25 minutes. Peel the brown skins to reveal the nuts inside.
Peeled chestnut
Peeled chestnuts
  • Add the peeled chestnuts to a mortar and use a pestle to pound them as finely as possible. You can also use a blender to do this. Then, set a bowl below and sift the pounded nuts through a strainer into get the fine powder dropping to the bowl.
korean chestnut cookies powder

The whole process takes 30-40 minutes from fresh chestnuts to powder. You’ll need 100g (1/2 cup) of chestnut powder for 8-10 cookies.

korean chestnut cookies
The final chestnut powder

Making Chestnut Cookie Dough

  • Mix 3-4g of cinnamon powder with 25-30g (2 tbsp) of honey until you get a shiny brown liquid. The more cinnamon powder you use, the browner your Korean Chestnut cookies will be.
  • Pour all of the honey and cinnamon mixture into the bowl of chestnut powder. Stir evenly and use your hands to combine all of them into a big dough.
chestnut cookies dough
The more cinnamon powder, the browner your Korean Chestnut cookies are.

Shaping Cookies and add toppings

  • From a big dough, take 15g (1 tbsp) of the dough to shape into a chestnut-shaped cookie. Hold the dough tightly with the palm of your hand and gently form it. Besides the chestnut shape, you can try other shapes like a cat, a pig, etc., but chestnut shape seems to be the easiest one.
Making Cookies from Chestnut
  • Finally, dip the head of each cookie into honey to make the toppings stick. Then, dip it into your favorite topping evenly so that the topping can coat the cookie well.
How to make Korean Chestnut Cookies Yul-ran

Repeat until finishing the dough. Now you have Korean Chestnut Cookies ready for an afternoon tea.

Store Chestnut Cookies

Chestnut Cookies are easy to break because they are stuck together with honey. Therefore, when you store them, remember to leave each piece separately; don’t overcrowd them. It’s best to use cupcake liners to hold each cookie.

cookies chestnuts

Storing the cookies in the fridge is required to make them last longer. Consume Korean Chestnut Cookies within up to 3 days. If you leave them at room temperature, you should eat them all within a day or so.

Enjoy your lovely cookies!

Korean Chestnut Cookies

Korean Chestnut Cookies (Yul-ran)

Yield: 8-10 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Korean Chestnut Cookies (Yul-ran) are a small, lovely no-bake dessert made from chestnut powder, a bit of cinnamon powder and honey.

Instructions

Making Chestnut powder

First, you need to cook chestnuts by either roasting, boiling or steaming. Refer to this article: how to cook chestnuts for a detail instruction. In general, follow these steps:

  • Wash chestnuts and remove damaged ones. Score chestnuts by a sharp knife or chestnut clip. Then, bake at 400F (200C) or boil them in 15 minutes. To steam chestnuts, steam in 20-25 minutes. Peel the brown skins to reveal the nuts inside.how to cook chestnuts
  • Add peeled chestnuts to a mortar and use pestle to pound them as finely as possible. You can also use a blender to do that. Then, set a bowl below, and sift the pounded nuts through a strainer to get the fine powder dropping to the bowl.korean chestnut cookies powderkorean chestnut cookies

The whole process lasts 30-40 minutes from fresh chestnuts to powder.

Making Chestnut Cookie Dough

  • Mix cinnamon powder with honey until you get a shiny brown liquid. The more cinnamon powder, the browner your Korean Chestnut cookies are.
  • Pour all the honey & cinnamon mixture to the bowl of chestnut powder. Stir evenly and use hand to combine all of them into a big dough. chestnut cookies doughKorean Chestnut Cookies

Shaping Cookies and add Toppings

  • From a big dough, take 15g (1 tbsp) of the dough to shape into a chestnut-shaped cookie. Hold the dough tightly with the palm of your hand and gently form it. Beside chestnut shape, you can try everything else like a cat, a pig… but chestnut shape seems to be the easiest one. Korean Chestnut CookiesMaking Cookies from Chestnut
  • Finally, dip the head of each cookie into honey to make it stick to toppings. Then, dip into your favorite topping evenly so that topping can coat the cookie well. Korean Chestnut Cookies

Repeat until finishing the dough. Now you have Korean Chestnut Cookie ready for an afternoon tea. Korean Chestnut Cookies

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 4-5 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215

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Other Chestnut Recipes

Beside Korean Chestnut Cookies, you can also try:

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