Hodduk - Korean Sweet Pancakes

I have an updated post with prettier photos and a convenient recipe page (these older posts don't have recipe pages), if you're interested.

Hodduk (alternate spellings: hoddeok, hotteok) is a Korean pancake with a sweet filling in the center. Typically, it has a filling of brown sugar and peanuts but I'm allergic to peanuts so I substituted walnuts. But you could use hazelnuts or pecans or almonds or leave the nuts out altogether if you're not a fan.

You can find "kits" with the ingredients to make hodduk at any Korean grocery store but I think making it from scratch is easier and I like that you can customize it. Besides, it's so simple.

Makes 4 pancakes:

Bloom the yeast in the warm water with the sugar and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy so you know that the yeast is alive. Mix together the flour and salt to combine and then add the wet ingredients. Stir with a fork or wooden spoon until it comes together then knead by hand for 10 minutes until the dough is elastic, firm, and no longer sticks to your fingers. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap, and leave in a warm place for 2 to 3 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

While waiting for the dough to rise, get the filling together. Chop up the walnuts into fine pieces and mix together with brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down.
Cut into four equal pieces.
To form the pancakes, start by flattening a piece of dough into a 5" circle. Add in about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the filling mixture. Then seal the edges of the dough together and roll in between your hands to form a ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
Since these pancakes are best served piping hot and fresh, you can leave the ready-made balls in the fridge for up to 1 day and in the freezer for about 1 week. To keep them fresh and to prevent them from sticking together, wrap them in waxed paper and then put in a zip-top bag. When I wrap them, I like to make sure there's waxed paper separating the balls [see below].
To cook, melt 1/2 teaspoon of butter (per pancake) in a frying pan. Once the butter melts, place a dough ball in the frying pan and then using the back of a spatula, press the pancake down until it becomes flat. Let it cook on one side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip over and squish on the second side. Cook for another 3 minutes until the second side is brown and crispy.
Let them cool for five minutes before serving, or else you'll burn your lips on the hot melted sugar inside. Here's a photo to show the filling. The dough should be super chewy and the filling should be melty and sticky and wonderful.
Cooked pancakes can also be wrapped in waxed paper and put in a zip-top bag and stored for later. Just warm them up in a frying pan again before serving. Cooked pancakes will last about 1 week in the fridge and 1 month in the freezer.