These shortbread cookies are known as Jan Hagel, a traditional Dutch cookie. They are Almond Sugar Cookies with a little bit of cinnamon and you can admire them cooling on a rack after about 40 minutes .
While typing this post, I am sitting behind my computer munching on this cookie with a glass of tea. I am listening to “Yesterday, when I was young”, sung by Charles Aznavour – a French-Armenian singer. Aznavour was known for his chansons and lyrics. I would think that most of you, will probably know this song as sung by Andy Williams.
Every now and then, I am thinking back to where I came from and I only moved to the US 11 years ago. It may be because I have only been back once to The Netherlands, that certain aspects of my life are flashing by once in a while and then I realize that I miss some of them. It’is not that I am homesick; just every now and then I crave some products that I cannot find here. These Almond Sugar Cookies are one of them, so I decided to make them myself.
This recipe yields 9 cookies and it will not take a lot of time to make them, or to eat them for that matter.
The dough consists of butter, light brown sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, egg yolk and salt. The topping consists of slivered almonds and pearl sugar or nib sugar.
There are a few references that explain where the name Jan Hagel comes from. The first reference is pretty straight forward: ‘hagel’ is the Dutch word for ‘hale’. Clearly referring to the pearl sugar. The other reference that exists is that janhagel was slang for the unruly, the common people, for those who live at the fringes of society. Here the link is the apparent casual, unruly if you like, way the nuts and sugar are decorated on the cookies.
How to make these Almond Sugar Cookies
- Mix butter, sugar, salt. Add egg yolk, In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. You’ll have a crumbly mixture that easily comes together pressure is applied.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle of 6 x 9, thickness about 1/8-inch. If the dough is too sticky, allow it to become cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Brush dough with whisked egg and sprinkle with almond slivers and pearl sugar. Press the topping gently into the dough. Use your hands or a rolling pin.
- Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F. When you bake them close to 20 minutes they are a little chewy; when you bake them for 25 minutes they become more crunchy and of course a little darker.
Almond Sugar Cookies – Jan Hagel
- 70 grams butter room temperature
- 50 grams light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 egg yolk whisked
- 100 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 egg whisked
- 25 grams almond slivers
- 20 grams pearl sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix butter, sugar and salt in a bowl, add egg yolk and mix again, In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. You’ll have a crumbly mixture that easily comes together when you knead it.
- Lightly flour work surface and roll the dough until you have a 6 x 9-inch rectangle that is about 1/8 inch. Place the dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. (NOTE 1)
- Brush dough with whisked egg and sprinkle with almond slivers and pearl sugar. Press the topping gently into the dough. Use your hands or a rolling pin. (NOTE 2)
- Bake 20-25 minutes in the oven. (NOTE 3)
- Take the cookies out of the oven and cut them when they are still warm. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
- If the dough is too sticky to roll our, wrap it in some plastic wrap and cool it in the fridge for at least 1 hours.
- Be gentle when you press the almonds and sugar into the dough. You don’t want the dough to stretch out and become thinner.
- When you bake them close to 20 minutes they are a little chewy, if you bake them longer they become more brittle.