How to make the best dalgona cookies from Squid Game
Simple recipe with tips and hacks from South Korea will give you perfect results every time.
South Korean drama Squid Game is the Netflix show on everyone’s lips right now, with people around the world watching on as characters play life-or-death children’s games in the hopes of winning a big cash prize to pay off their financial debts.
One of the children’s games that caught everyone’s attention was a die-cutting game involving dalgona, which is Korean for “honeycomb toffee”. These small, sweet discs have been commonly sold at food stalls in Korea for about 30 years, where customers who’re able to perfectly remove the die-cut shape from inside the disc can win another disc for free.
In Squid Game, of course, the stakes are much higher, with people’s lives literally depending on perfect removal of the shape within the disc. The patience and suspense enjoyed by kids takes on a whole new level of tension in the Netflix show, but the good news is you too can enjoy all the fun of the sweet without any of the drama, thanks to this simple recipe we have for you today.
Tried and tested over 20 times, this recipe shows you how to make the honeycomb ‘cookies’ on any stovetop, including IH and electric, and we’ve included some tips from our Korean friends to ensure you get perfect results every time.
First off, the amount of ingredients you’ll need depends on the size you’d like to make.
▼ Large dalgona (left), medium dalgona (right)
For a large size:
- Granulated sugar (30 grams/2 tablespoons)
- Baking soda (1 pinch)
For a medium size:
- Granulated sugar (25 grams/1.5 tablespoons)
- Baking soda (1 pinch)
All you need is those two ingredients, plus the following materials:
- A heat-resistant glass, cup or mug to flatten out the surface
- An appropriately sized cookie cutter, in any shape of your choosing
- Baking paper
While the medium-sized sweets more closely resemble the ones seen in the drama, the larger size is said to be easier to make without any mistakes, so we recommend making the larger size a few times first until you get the hang of it!
And a secret hack for measuring out the perfect “pinch” of baking soda in this recipe is to fill just the tip of a teaspoon, which will give you great results.
Three other handy tips you’ll want to keep in mind are:
- Weigh and prepare everything you’ll need in batches before you start making the sweets
- Make one at a time – patience is key!
- Once the sugar has melted, you’ll want to move quickly as it’s easy to burn the mixture
It takes less than five minutes from start to finish to make these crunchy sweets, and the first step in the process is to add the sugar to a frying pan and heat it over low heat (2-3 heat for IH).
▼ At this stage, it’s important to heat the sugar slowly.
After one to two minutes, the sugar will start to dissolve, so mix it with a long pair of chopsticks until it dissolves evenly.
Once it’s fully melted, you’ve entered a Squid Game of your own, as it’s now a battle against time to ensure you don’t burn the mix. To avoid being eliminated, turn off the heat and add the baking soda.
▼ Then mix together until creamy.
If you’ve successfully made it past that step with a honeycomb-coloured mixture, congratulations! It’s now time to pour the mix onto the baking paper and wait 10-15 seconds to allow the surface to harden a little .
Then you’ll need to grab a heat-resistant cup, glass or mug with a flat bottom and press it onto the mix to spread it out nice and evenly.
Before the disc hardens, quickly press your cookie cutter into the middle of it….
▼ And you’ve got your very own dalgona!
While that image above shows you the ideal result you’re aiming for, it’s surprisingly easy to stuff these up, so here are some troubleshooting notes to help steer you on to the road of success:
- If you make these over medium heat, they’ll burn
- If you add too much baking soda, they’ll end up looking bubbly
- If you use a rubber spatula, the mix won’t combine easily
- If the mixture is too hot, it will stick to the bottom of the cup/glass/mug
▼ Some of the problems you might run into:
If you pay attention to the troubleshooting tips above, you’ll be able to make dalgona after dalgona without any problems, and eventually move on to making the medium-sized ones to treat — or terrify — your family and friends!
▼ You can try hollowing out the mould, just as they do in Squid Game…
▼ Or simply place the discs in a cup of tea or coffee to enjoy the fragrant caramel flavour.
Whether you’re making them for afternoon tea or perhaps even Halloween, these sweets are quick to make, fun to punch out, delicious to eat, and definitely worth trying.
There are a lot of different takes on dalgona currently doing the rounds online, but not a lot of them give you hints and troubleshooting tips like this one, so if you want to survive Squid Game, feel free to share this recipe with your friends. Or maybe don’t, if you want to outlast the competition. Send them this story about Katanuki, Japan’s own die-cutting sweets, or this recipe for making super easy chocolate mousse instead.