After making tofu and soy milk at home, my experiments to utilize an inordinate amount of soy pulp (비지; bi ji or okara) began.  In addition to biji jjigae (비지 찌개; stew made with soy pulp, kimchi and pork as main ingredients), I found a way to put soy pulp in mini zucchini cupcakes, where it adds a soft crunch and subtle nutty flavor.  This time, soy pulp finds its way in butter cookies.

These soy pulp cookies are based on sable cookie recipes, also known as French sand cookies or butter cookies.  Simple as they are just using butter, sugar, egg and flour, the basic recipe leaves plenty of room for variations.  Biji gets hidden in the cookies, and people won’t know the presence of it unless you tell them.  They are still buttery and sandy as they should be.  My cranberry orange cookies have bright citrus flavor with chewy cranberries.  The sesame mugwort cookies are more subtle, with exotic herbal flavor and nutty, fun sesame bites.  They look pretty good for upcoming holidays.

Even if you don’t make your tofu at home, you should be able to find soy pulp in packages in Korean markets.  In Korea, I hear that some restaurants that specialize in home-made tofu give out biji for free.  It shouldn’t be hard to find biji – after all, it’s just boiled, ground soybean.

To make about 50 cookies of 2 inches (5cm) in diameter and 0.2 inch (0.5cm) in thickness

As always when I use soy pulp, especially in baking, spread soy pulp (비지; bi ji or okara) on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Toast biji in the preheated 350F (180C) oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice to dry them evenly.  Take it out of the oven, give another stir, and let it cool down.

Soften 1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 TBSP).  Add 1/2 C of sugar.  Whisk until light and fluffy.  Mix in 1 egg and 1/4 ts of salt completely.  Add 1 cup of soy pulp and mix well.  Combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour until the mix comes together.

Optional Flavoring) I divided the dough into 2 equal portions and kneaded to mix in the flavorings.  For the cranberry orange cookies, I added 1 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 cup of dried cranberries.  For the sesame mugwort cookies, I kneaded in 1 teaspoon of mugwort (쑥; ssuk) powder first, then added 2 teaspoons of toasted black sesame seeds (검은깨; geom eun ggae).  You can find mugwort powder in Korean grocery stores.

Knead to form a log and wrap in plastic.  Let it rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to overnight.

Roll out the dough on a clean, floured surface and punch out with a cookie cutter.  Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet with about 0.5 inch (~1.5cm) space in-between.

Bake in the pre-heated 350F (180C) oven for 7 minutes.  Flip to the other side and bake for another 7-8 minutes.  They may still look soft, so check the bottom of the cookies for doneness.  Be careful not to burn the bottom of the cookies.  Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes.  Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

You can store the log of cookie dough in the freezer and cut to circles to bake.  It’s an easy way to take care of your cookie fix, if you are not so concerned about most perfectly refined cookie shapes.

I had these cookies for my breakfast the other day, telling myself that it’s full of soy protein…ignoring another part of me saying ‘plus full of butter, sugar and flour…’


protein              단백질 (dan baek jil)

dough               반죽    (ban juk)

sesame seed    깨        (ggae)

Don't make mistakes other travelers have made!

Get regular emails with insider tips on how to maximize your visit to Korea. Sign up now!

Tour Tips Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!