Jan Hagel Cookies
I had a huge decision to make today. Take a 3 mile hike on the mountainous trails in the state park near my house or bake cookies. I really wanted to go on the hike. No, really I did. But, it was cold and somewhat blustery. Blustery you say, in Southern California! Since leaving the east coast 32 years ago I’ve become a big wuss, and when the mercury dips below 60 degrees I am forced to stay in the house. Well, not really forced, but it seems like the only sane thing to do. Really, what kind of a crazy person would venture out into such grave weather conditions. So, there you go, baking cookies won out.
So naturally, that takes us to Jan Hagel Cookies (pronounced Yahn Hahgel) . I know, that’s a weird name, right. They’re Dutch cookies so I assume they were named for some Dutch guy who liked to bake. But I could be wrong. If you know where the name came from, please let me know. Anyway, when I was a kid growing up in the olden days, Keebler used to make a Jan Hagel cookie. It was one of my favorite cookies, and my mother always had a bag of them in the cookie drawer. But wouldn’t you know it, Keebler, unbeknownst to me, stopped producing the Jan Hagel cookie.
Well, as it turns out I don’t eat commercially packaged cookies anymore, anyway. It’s probably been twenty years since I had a Jan Hagel, so that’s what Mama baked. They’re just perfect. It’s a cinnamon spiced shortbread topped with sugar and almonds that get all sweet and crunchy when you bake them.
Dutch Shortbread – Jan Hagel Cookies
Jan Hagel Cookies
From Nick Malgieri
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces
- small bowl of water and pastry brush for brushing dough
- 1 cup blanched, sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- With a pastry brush and melted butter, butter the bottom and sides of a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan, then line the pan with parchment paper and butter that lightly too.
- Place your oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put all your dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the mixture is reduced to fine crumbs and looks like coarse cornmeal.
- Evenly distribute the dough mixture in the pan and use the palm of your hand to press it evenly and to make it adhere together. I used a drinking glass turned on its side to act as a rolling pin to flatten out the mixture in the pan. Paint the dough with water and evenly scatter the almond, sugar, cinnamon mixture over the dough, gently pressing it in to make it adhere to the dough.
- Bake the cookies for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden in color and the cookies are firm.
- When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and cut them immediately before they harden. I used a ruler to measure where to score the cookies. I chose to cut them into 1 1/2″ x 3″ bars. I used a large metal spatula to cut into the cookies, but a serrated knife will work fine also.
- When the cookies are sliced, you can place them on a rack to cool.
Makes 30 – 1 1/2″ x 3″ cookies
Jan Hagel Cookies – Dutch Shortbread
Slice the cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven as the dough will quickly harden making them too hard to cut.
Jan Hagel Cookies