Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.

Jan Hagel Cookies

(Dutch Almond Shortbread)

 

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Who can say 2020 was a wonderful year?  I am thankful and happy to report that I can! What makes my year something special is searching for and finding my biological father. My year started with spitting into a test tube through Ancestry.  I’m excited to say the DNA test result matches were more than I expected.  Although they were not a direct match with my biological father, they were a 100% match with three of his close family members. One message sent to my matches got the ball quickly rolling, and within two weeks I had my first contact with my biological father. His name is Bernie, and imagine his surprise, not knowing that I existed until now. How someone digests such a thing I cannot say, but what I found was a very welcoming, warm and sincere man who was “pleasantly surprised” to learn of me. What I also quickly learned was that Bernie is very much a family man with a family of four children. How cool, now I have more siblings!  Wait, not quite… not only was Bernie the man being searched for by an adopted child but also one who has adopted his own four children and over time has assisted them in finding some of their biological roots. So I have to say half-siblings in spirit but not biologically. But the interesting twists in my story don’t end here.  I was adopted by a family who live in the same small town as my biological family.  I went to the same high school his children did, shopped at the same stores and practically grew up right under his nose. Ooooh how small the world just became!

I have since had the pleasure to meet Bernie, his lovely wife Joan, most of his children, two aunts, and cousins. I also have a biological grandmother still gracing the earth at 92 years old, but sadly with our pandemic world I have not been able to meet her yet.  It’s truly hard to find the words to describe what an experience it all has been and continues to be, but I do know that time spent with Bernie and his family is very much a gift and I look forward to our continuing story.

A sheet pan of freshly baked Jan Hagel Cookies resting on a wire rack.

Now, on to the Dutch Jan Hagel cookies, also known as Dutch almond shortbread. As you’ve probably guessed I have learned that I am Dutch on my father’s side. My biological grandparents immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1949 on the vessel RMS Seythia. They settled in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada to farm and raise a family of seven children. I’ve been dabbling in several different Dutch recipes but these cookies are my favourite so far. Jan Hagel Cookies are crisp, buttery and very addictive. They are a traditional Dutch cookie often made at Christmas and will become part of my holiday baking line-up from now on. I’m excited to continue to experiment in Dutch cookery and hope to share more recipes as time goes. Till then, enjoy!

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.

Author Compelled to Cook, adapted from Jan Hagel Koekjes.

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.
Jan Hagel Cookies
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20-22 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20-22 minutes
    A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.
    Jan Hagel Cookies
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20-22 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20-22 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: 10"x15" tray
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set oven rack to the middle position. Lightly butter a 10"x15" baking tray, set aside.
      2. Cream together butter and granulated sugar. Divide the egg and add the egg yolk, cinnamon, salt and almond extract. Beat to fully combine. Add flour and mix only until dough starts to come together.
      3. Press or roll dough evenly into prepared pan. Whisk egg white with 1 tbsp water. Brush evenly onto prepared dough. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Just enough to create a nice sparkle.
      4. Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes and then cut into squares or diamonds while the cookie is warm and soft. Once cut, allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
      Recipe Notes

      -coarse sugar is a larger crystal sugar that doesn't melt when baked so it keeps a sparkle on the goods it's sprinkled on. It may also be called pearl sugar, decorators sugar, sparkling sugar.

      -I get about 45 - 2" diamond shaped cookies, plus the best and crispiest half diamonds around the edges.

      -I've tried sliced almonds with and without the skin and both are good to use and is a matter of preference.

      -I find it just as easy to cut the squares instead of just scoring them while they are warm, but if you're having difficulty just score them and cut when cool.

      -cookies are best if eaten while fresh, however they will last in a sealed container at room temperature for several days. If freezing, allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container away from strong odours.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Apple Galette with Almond Pastry

      Apple Galette with Almond Pastry

      Freshly baked Apple Galette with Almond Pastry sitting on a wooden board with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the centre.

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      Galettes are easy to love with their flaky, rustic pastry and sweet or savoury fillings. Apple Galette with Almond Pastry comes together easily and tastes just as delicious as apple pie. It’s the perfect ending to your entertaining occasions, but particularly Thanksgiving when apple desserts are sought after.

      A basket full of green apples in preparation for Apple Galette with Almond Pastry.

      What is a galette anyway? A galette is a free form tart that can be made with sweet fillings such as berries and apples or savoury fillings like chicken and mushrooms. They’re unique in the way the pastry is shaped around the filling into a rustic form without the use of a pie dish. This eliminates the need for a top crust and fussy crimping, yet the filling stays snuggly in place.

      An assembled Apple Galette with Almond Pastry on parchment paper ready for the oven.

      What makes a good galette? Like a traditional pie, a lot depends on the pastry and this means using cold butter that is cut into the dry ingredients until crumbly and the butter bits are no bigger than the size of a pea. It’s also very, very important to use ice-cold water. This helps keep everything just a little bit colder, especially the butter which tends to soften as you work with it. Keeping everything as cold as possible helps the butter hold its size, which will create flaky layers when it melts during baking. There’s no need to overfill a galette, it’s meant to be flatter than a pie. So resist the urge to pile your filling sky high because the filling needs to cook at the same time as the pastry.

      Apple Galette with Almond Pastry
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        8 slices 50-60 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        40 minutes 1+ hours
        Servings Prep Time
        8 slices 50-60 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        40 minutes 1+ hours
        Apple Galette with Almond Pastry
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          8 slices 50-60 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          40 minutes 1+ hours
          Servings Prep Time
          8 slices 50-60 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          40 minutes 1+ hours
          Ingredients
          Pastry
          Filling
          Servings: slices
          Instructions
          Pastry
          1. In a large bowl combine flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter cubes into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or a knife until the flour is crumbly with small bits of butter.
          2. Drizzle water and vinegar over flour mixture and toss with a fork until dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and work gently to bring everything together and the dough has smoothed out.
          3. Roll dough into a ball and then flatten into an approximate 6" disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
          Apple Filling
          1. Peel and core apples and then cut them into thin slices. Drizzle slices with the lemon juice as you slice to prevent oxidization.
          2. To the apples add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss to combine.
          3. In a small bowl whisk together egg and milk.
          4. Preheat oven to 375°F.
          5. On a lightly floured surface roll dough to an approximate 13" circle adding a sprinkle of flour to the top and bottom as you go to prevent it sticking.
          6. Trim dough to a neat 12" circle by using a plate or pie plate as a guide (see note). Roll dough onto your rolling pin and transfer to a large parchment-lined baking tray.
          7. Pile filling in the centre and spread out towards the edge leaving a 1 1/2" border of plain dough.
          8. Fold the dough edge up and over the filling, crimping slightly as you go around. Sprinkle the apples with dots of butter. Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes until the pastry is golden and apples are tender.
          9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving with ice cream.
          Recipe Notes

          -The pastry does not have to be a perfect circle. If you'd like a nice rustic look you can leave it as you roll it as long as it is an approximate 12"-13" in diameter and 1/8" thick.

          -If you like a neater look you can also arrange the apple slices in a concentric circle.  I'm partial to piling the apples in as they fall.

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          Affiliate Disclosure

          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com