Jan Hagel Cookies – Dutch Shortbread

Jan Hagel Cookies

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

Dutch Shortbread – Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

From Nick Malgieri

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51 thoughts on “Jan Hagel Cookies – Dutch Shortbread

  1. Such lovely cookies, Mama! I love that crisp, crunchy, sugar-cinnamon topping. I haven’t eaten a Keebler cookie in over a decade. I can still remember the commercials they used to play on tv with the Keebler elves.

  2. It’s a good thing I just finished a Bassett’s ice cream cone or I’d have been obsessing about these cookies. That will come in about two hours. I remember the Jan Hagels very well. I’d wager Mama’s version is a hundred times better than anything mass produced and bagged. Maybe I’ll find out.

  3. Darn, I saw blanched sliced almonds at the grocery store on sale (today) for $1.00 and I didn’t buy them. Looks amazing. I wanted to pin this recipe but you don’t have this option. I’ll have to bookmark it.

  4. I looked it up on the Internet and “het Janhagel” used to be an insulting word for the bourgeois. And in the second world war the Dutch paramilitairy force that fought on the German side was called Jan Hagel because the had shotguns and the small bullits are called “hagel” in dutch. But why the cookie is called Jan Hagel? Maybe because of the sprinkeled sugar on top of it? Or maybe because a lot of bourgois people made them? I am going to look that up. :) and going to bake them! Yum!

  5. These are delicious-looking shortbread’s! I have never heard of Vietnamese cinnamon. I learn something new everyday! My 12 year-old loves shortbread and she feels like baking today so we just might be making these. By the way, your pictures are amazing!

  6. These look SO delicious. My sister studied abroad in the Netherlands and only told me about the chocolate hail (sprinkles) they put on bread for breakfast. I couldn’t see myself doing that, but these shortbread cookies are something I can really get behind. I <3 Shortbread…or any kind of cookie, really.

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