Hoddeok (Korean Sweet Filled Pancake) Recipe
From the Money Saving Recipes Series
Hoddeok is a Korean sweet pancake filled with brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. It is usually eaten in the winter and considered a fast food since it is quickly cooked, portable and served warm. It is called a pancake but it is not a true pancake since it is not poured onto a griddle or hot surface and fried. It is actually begins as a yeast bread dough so I would say it’s actually a fried bread but since everyone who came before me called it a filled pancake, I decided to go with the flow. After all….who am I to change things now?
Whether you call it a pancake, bread, snack or dessert won’t matter much to you once you take your first bite into this soft, sweet and chewy yeasty goodness. I originally made eight in this recipe but you can already see that I couldn’t even wait long enough to snap a picture for this post before I devoured the first one because there are only seven on the plate! I am tempted to try and incorporate pumpkin into this recipe by either using it in the dough or the filling and then using pumpkin seeds to stay in line with the pumpkin theme. I will play around with it and maybe a pumpkin version will surface soon!
If this recipe seems complicated and hard to do then rest assured that it was actually easy and fun to make. You don’t even have to let the dough rise for the full hour like I did. It only needs 10 minutes and then you can stuff and fry. This was my first time making this recipe and I usually have trouble with breads but this recipe is pretty much fool-proof and in my case, idiot-proof, because I wasn’t able to mess it up! Just make sure to precisely measure the dough ingredients because I can’t guarantee results if you deviate. Otherwise have fun, get your hands in some dough and enjoy the sweet results of your hard work!
Ingredients for the pancake (bread):
1 package of active dry yeast (2 tsp)
1 cup of warm (not hot) water
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 cups of all purpose flour (no sifting required)
Ingredients for the filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds (If you use nuts instead of seeds then use up to 1/4 cup of chopped nuts)
(Use any seeds or nuts you like in this recipe. I had sunflower seeds on hand so I used them. They would taste great with pumpkin seeds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds….you get the idea!)
Step 1: Mix wet ingredients
Mix the active dry yeast, warm water, granulated sugar, salt and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl. Stir until all ingredients are dissolved.
Step 2: Add dry ingredients and mix
Add the flour, one half cup at a time, and stir/mix until well incorporated into the dough. It should be thick and sticky once it is all added.
Step 3: Allow the dough to rise at least 10 minutes or longer
Loosely cover the bowl and allow to rise for at least 10 minutes in a warm area of your kitchen. I prefer to let it rise a full hour but this step is not required. I think it makes for a softer and less dense dough in the end but if you are going for pancake and less bread-like results then allow to rise for 10-15 minutes.
Once the dough has rested and risen, punch down and turn it out onto a floured surface. A rolling pin is not required so just use your well floured hands. Knead the dough 4-5 times gently to form one smooth round ball.
Step 4: Pinch/cut the dough into eight equal pieces
I don’t bother to get too technical here because I don’t have the time to be precise in measuring dough balls. But if you are able to measure, cut and weigh them to be perfect, then hooray for you! 🙂 But if you’re pressed for time like me….i.e.- racing against the clock to make this in the window of time my baby can watch an episode of Sesame Street and stay engaged and entertained while I cook…..then use your hands, eyeball it, and if one is bigger than the others then pinch off, knead and re-roll into a ball.
I start by pinching down the middle of the big ball of dough. This makes two halves and I pinch each of these down the middle again. Now I have four balls of dough. I then pinch those down the middle and I end up with eight balls of dough.
If that’s too complicated then do this….flatten the dough a little bit so you can cut it. Pretend it’s a pizza and cut it into eight equal slices and once cut roll them back up into balls and slightly flatten to fill.
Step 5: Fill the dough with the sugar mixture
Gently flatten each ball of dough into your palm, the size should be the same as a small tortilla for tacos, and spoon 2-3 tbsp of sugar mixture into the center. Take the ends and pinch closed to form a ball around the filling.
Beware as the dough will shrink back quickly once you flatten it. It will also seem like you are using way too much sugar filling but it will spread once you flatten the dough when you fry it. It’s okay if you make a mess of the first couple of dough balls because these will taste great no matter what happens. Just don’t give up and keep trying to perfect your closing dough ball technique and by the eighth ball you will be a pro! My first dough ball has more sugar mixed into the dough than in the center for filling but it tasted fantastic either way!
Step 6: Fry the pancakes (bread)
Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Place one dough ball, seam side down in the pan and allow to fry one minute. I can fit four dough balls into my frying pan, including the space to flatten them. Stovetops vary so be sure and watch the first dough ball so it doesn’t burn. The idea is to get it golden brown and completely cooked while melting the sugar filling inside.
Once the dough balls have fried for one minute and are golden brown on the bottom, take a spatula and gently mash them flat. Press gently because you don’t want the sugar to burst through the sides of the pancake (bread). Allow to continue frying on this same side for another minute.
Then gently flip over to the unfried side and allow to fry for 60-90 seconds or until the dough is completely cooked and golden brown. Do not add more oil to the pan at this point or your dough will be saturated with oil. Place on a plate to cool and continue cooking the second batch of dough.
This recipe will make 8 large pancakes (bread) and I allow for one per serving. I will be honest though….it is so hard to EAT JUST ONE! Perhaps you have more discipline and willpower than I do and you can stop at just one. I have no shame in admitting that I am weak for these sweet treats!
Whether you call it a bread or pancake doesn’t matter so long as you enjoy this sweet treat! Want to see more recipes? Subscribe to my newsletter and have the recipes delivered right to your inbox!