I was very excited to find this cookie recipe to make for the alphabet J. The name of the cookie was very attractive to look into, and I was drawn by the easy procedure and ingredients that the recipe has. Jan Hagel (pronounced Yahn Hagel) is a Dutch cookie, that has been passed down generations after generations. Every family has a tradition of baking these cookies around Christmas time, but they are mostly baked year around.
The Jan Hagel cookies are made with butter and are topped with nuts and sugar. In 17th century, the sailors, common man and ordinary people were referred to as ‘janhagel’. These were the people who enjoyed them the most and hence it was a apt word for the cookie.
There is no clear theory on where the Jan Hagel cookie originated but it dates back to 17th century. Jan Hagel is referred to as Christmas tradition, but it is also baked as one of the main dessert for the Feast of St. Nicholas and its eve, which falls on 5th and 6th December each year. Since it is so close to Christmas, the cookies are baked through the season.
Keebler company used to manufacture the Jan Hagel Cookies, but they have stopped its production. The Jan Hagel cookies are very simple to bake and they are very rustic looking. The dough is spread in a baking tray and then are cut into pieces after baking. It sort of reminded me of making the burfis (Indian fudge). The cookies are made of basic shortbread cookies and is topped with sliced almonds and sugar. The cookies as such are very mildly sweet and the sugar crystals on top makes it perfect.
My other bakes in the A – Z Baking around the World Marathon –
A for Almond cookies from China
B for Bretzel Rolls from Germany
D for Danish Cookies from Denmark
E for Empanada from Argentina
F for Franzbrötchen from Germany
G for Grissini from Italy
H for Hot Cross Buns from England
I for Irish Freckle Bread from Ireland
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Baking time – 20 to 25 minutes
Difficulty level – easy
Recipe adapted from – Mama’s Gotta Bake
Ingredients to make Jan Hagel Cookies – (makes about 28, 2 x 2 cookies)
- All purpose flour – 2 cups
- Butter – 12 tbsp ( chilled and cubed)
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Cinnamon – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
- Milk – a few teaspoons (if needed, to bring the dough together)
- Almonds – 1/2 cup (sliced)
- Sugar – 1/4 cup (granulated)
Procedure to make the Jan Hagel Cookies –
- I used my food processor to make the pastry dough. In the bowl of the food processor, combine all the dry ingredients; flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pulse the mixer few times to mix.
- Add the chilled, cuber butter to the dry ingredients and pulse in little intervals. The mixture should come together as a dough. If not, add a little milk to bring the dough together.
- Grease a 12 x 8 sheet pan (rimmed) with butter and then layer it with parchment. Grease the parchment as well with butter.
- Spread the cookie dough evenly on the greased parchment. Use the back of a glass or your palm to spread the dough as evenly as possible.
- Brush the top of the dough with little water and then sprinkle the sliced almonds and sugar over the dough. Press it gently to make the nuts adhere to the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Remove the tray from the oven and when it is still warm, cut them into desired size.
- Place the cut cookies on a rack to cook them completely.
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