One of my favorite Korean street snacks is Hodogwaja (호두과자), little walnut-shaped cakes stuffed with azuki red bean and walnut filling. During my childhood in Massachusetts, I could only enjoy these treats when I visited Korea, so I would try to eat as many as I could while I was there. Now that I am in NY it is easy to find them at the local HMart, however, the ones on the streets of Seoul are still the best. I saw on Cocohodo’s website that they are planning to open a shop in NY. I personally like 천안옛날호두과자 which I found after an amazing dinner of Korean Hanwoo Beef at 창고43 near Euljiro 3ga.
I wanted to try making this snack at home, so I looked for recipes and videos. The real street snacks are made with a special cast iron machine, but since I do not have access to anything like that here in the US, I decided to use two of my Nordicware Autumn Cakelet Pans, with acorn and leaf shaped molds, and hope for the best.
Most of the Korean recipes online recommend using a waffle or pancake mix to make this cake, so I used Wholefood’s pancake mix. The first time I tried this the pancake mix alone was not sweet enough. The second time I added 1Tbsp of sugar for each cup of pancake mix and the results were much better. You can find the canned azuki red bean for the filling at a local Korean or Japanese grocery store or order from Amazon. The canned azuki red bean is so sweet that you do not need to add any sugar to it. A little goes a long way, I was able to make almost 50 of these little cakes with just one can of red bean filling.
I learned two things from mistakes made the first time around- 1) Put the flame on the lowest possible setting, because the flame is in direct contact with the thin pan, a medium flame burnt all my cakes. 2) I tried putting butter on the molds thinking that the cake would stick to the pan and not come out on its own. The butter is unnecessary, the cakes fall off of this nonstick pan easily. Also the butter burns quickly in the pan and the burnt butter does not look good on the outside of the cake. The Nordicware Autumn pan is good because it has acorn and walnut/pinecone shapes but any 2 pans with little molds should work like this one from Amazon.
I was able to make 24 of these little cakes with 1.5C of prepared pancake batter. The recipe is below but please watch the video first as it was hard to describe the pan inversion in words.
Recipe for Hodogwaja (????) Korean cakes filled with azuki red bean and walnut
- 1C of any pancake or waffle mix
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 can azuki red bean
- 1 package of walnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Prepare the pancake or waffle mix as instructed with the added sugar. Most recipes will call for the addition of water, milk, and/or eggs. Put the mixture in a cup with a spout so it is easier to pour into the molds.
- Place the two pans directly on the oven at the lowest possible setting.
- Fill all the molds on the first pan halfway
- Quickly place one small spoonful of redbean and one walnut over each filled mold. Make sure to do this as quickly as possible because the cakes burn quickly since they are cooking in a thing pan directly on the burner.
- Fill the other pan with the remaining pancake mix, then invert the first pan over the second pan so that the shapes/molds line up. Continue cooking another 30sec-min until the batter in the second pan has cooked through. Use heat protectant gloves to remove the top pan, then take out each cake and place on a plate.