Jan Hagel Cookies
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Jan Hagel Cookies (pronounced Yahn Hahgel, sometimes written as Janhagel) are delicious shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. Jan Hagel cookies are a traditional Dutch cookie. Why they are named Jan Hagel, I’ve no clue. After some research I did find out that Jan Hagel was the name used for common folk in the 1700s and in particular it was used as slang for sailors and scum or riffraff, back in the day sailors weren’t seen as the best people.
I always thought that the name came from a guy called Jan (Jan is a boys name in the Netherlands) that made a cookie which he topped with pearl sugar which resembles hail (hagel) on the cookie. So you would get Jan’s hail cookies (Jan’s hagel koekjes). But I haven’t found any evidence anywhere that that’s true. I do know one thing though, whoever came up with the recipe for this cookie was a genius. As a kid this was one of my favorite Dutch cookies. The brittle shortbread with a hint of cinnamon with the nice crispy bite from the almond and pearl sugar topping is a match made in heaven (in my opinion). Making these cookies have been on my to do list for awhile now and I’m so happy I finally made them! I found a recipe on bakkersinbedrijf.nl which I used as a base to make the Jan Hagel cookies.
The recipe calls for pearl sugar, pearl sugar is also called nib sugar and hail sugar. It’s a refined white sugar that’s very coarse and hard. It doesn’t melt during baking. I used a Belgian pearl sugar for this recipe. I did a quick search and saw that Amazon sells pearl sugar. If you can’t find pearl sugar, you can use crystallized sugar or coarse sugar as an alternative. Personally though, I find the pearl sugar really completes the cookie and makes it perfect. I haven’t tried making these cookies with crystallized sugar or another coarse sugar yet.
How To Make Jan Hagel Cookies
You’ll need, all-purpose flour, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, an egg, pearl sugar and almond slices. (The full list of ingredients including measurements can be found in the recipe card below.)
Mix your baking powder with the all-purpose flour in a bowl and set aside.
Add butter and sugar to a bowl and mix till incorporated, add the cinnamon and salt and mix till incorporated.
Whisk the egg and add half of the egg, mix till incorporated. Add the flour mixture and briefly mix till the dough starts to form. Don’t over mix. Take out the dough as soon as it starts to come together and place it on a work surface.
Using your hands form a ball of the dough and place the dough onto some parchment paper that’s big enough to fit your baking sheet. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and roll out the dough in between the sheets into a rectangular shape of 12 x 14 inch (30 x 35 cm). Brush the rolled out dough with the other half of the whisked egg.
Sprinkle the Jan Hagel cookie dough with slivered almonds and pearl sugar. Place the second sheet of parchment paper on top again and lightly roll the sugar and almonds into the dough. Transfer the dough, with the parchment paper still on the bottom to a baking sheet. And bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
When the big cookie sheet is nice and golden it’s ready to take out of the oven. Using a knife, immediately, while still hot, cut into cookies of 1 x 3 inch (3 x 8 cm). Make sure to use oven gloves, the baking sheet will still be hot. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the sheet, don’t pick them up yet while still hot or they will break. Once they’re cool enough to pick up you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool down further.
Once cooled you can enjoy these lovely brittle Jan Hagel cookies with a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Just be warned, it’s nearly impossible to just eat one of these…
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