Grandma’s Jan Hagel cookies, #1

December 1:

My grandma was an amazing woman. She never went a day without cookies  in the cookie jar. Not only was she always prepared to serve Grandpa cookies with his mid-morning coffee or mid-afternoon tea, she was ready to show hospitality to guests 365 days a year.

Grandma didn’t “do” store-bought cookies (except for a brief season of chocolate Malomar cookies that melted against the hot tea cup). Over the years she evolved her own special recipe that started with a standard chocolate chip cdookie recipe and ended up involving a lot of cereal and other ingredients to stretch the recipe until it made HUNDREDS of cookies. She did, however, have one standby recipe that she made when she was pressed for time or when she didn’t have chocolate chips in the house. Laura and I grew up eating these cookies and they evoke powerful memories of grandma’s house. These Dutch cookies are called Jan Hagels. (Pronounce that Yahn Hoggle.)

Jan Hagel Cookies

  • 1/2 lb. butter (1 c. or two sticks)
  • 1 egg yolk (set aside the egg white)
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • chopped nuts
  • granulated sugar

In the food processor (or with a mixer) cream butter, sugar, and egg yolk thoroughly. Add flour and cinnamon. Mix. Pat mixture evenly into a shallow greased baking dish (9×9 or 9×13 for varying thickness). Brush the top with egg white. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and sugar. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Cut into 48 strip cookies.

These were Grandma’s “quick cookies” and are especially handy to have in the cookie arsenal for the Christmas holidays.


4 thoughts on “Grandma’s Jan Hagel cookies, #1

  1. I think they are sometimes also known as windmill cookies because of their shapes. (those would be the store bought variety)

    • @Joan, actually windmill cookies are quite different from Jan Hagel cookies. Windmill cookies have a lot more spices, are dark brown, and are very crispy. Jan Hagels are very light in color, only have cinnamon, and are somewhat chewy. They do both have nuts on top.

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  3. Today, as she does every year at this time, Pearl has made Jan Hagel cookies.
    This is a confectionary delight that is unknown to most of humanity.
    As they came out of the oven steaming she slapped my hands that were quivering in anticipatory delight.
    They were cut into uneven squares and scraped off in the most haphazard fasion, as to create all kinds of unsightly crumbs.
    The smell is just a thing of unbridled joy to behold. I moved the wire tray off to the side as soon as Pearl was off washing the pan.
    There on the counter were all these little crumbs amidst the roasted almond slivers. I used the spatula to scrape them up and shoveled them into my mouth.
    Now the spatula is made from a bunch of holes tied together with small strands of thin metal. It is not very well suited as a mover of small pieces.
    The whole process was very messy and took forever to accomplish.
    I can’t wait until next year.

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