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
      Molasses Crinkle Cookies

      Molasses Crinkle Cookies

      A stack of Molasses Crinkle Cookies that sit in front of a silver box filled with cookies and decorated with white ribbon and acorns.

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      Molasses Crinkle Cookies are one of my holiday favourites. They’re perfectly chewy, lightly spiced with ginger, dusted with sugar and absolutely delicious. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person when it comes to holiday baking. Some years I can’t wait to start and will typically make numerous types of cookies and squares. You know, gotta have a chocolate square, a raspberry coconut square, butterscotch squares, shortbread, etc etc. This year I’m opting to only make one type of square and one cookie. I know, I know, people will wonder what’s wrong with me. The truth of the matter is time or should I say the lack of it. As a food blogger with a full-time job, I struggle at times to get a post out weekly. I’m not complaining, because I love doing it, but I realize that I have to make priorities. This includes making time for myself personally and the people in my world. But as a food blogger, I cannot bring myself not to make any treats for giving and sharing. So the compromise is moderation, and you won’t be disappointed with my choice of cookie for the season.

      Cookie dough balls arranged on a baking tray and on a small plate of sugar for rolling in preparation for Molasses Crinkle Cookies.

      Tips for amazing Molasses Crinkle Cookies:

      -Chill the dough for at least 3 hours. The cookies spread while baking and the chilled dough keeps the process consistent during baking and prevents the cookie from overspreading. The result is a perfectly chewy cookie that’s not too thick.

      -Weigh or measure each cookie for uniform cookies and even baking.

      -Bake one tray at a time in the center of the oven. It takes more time, but worth it.

      -If the dough balls soften while rolling them, give them a ten-minute chill just before baking.

      -Generously coat in sugar when rolling into balls. This not only prevents the dough from sticking to your hands but gives the cookies a holiday look, especially if you use coarse sugar.

      – The cookies will spread on their own without flattening.

      -Don’t over-bake!! Can’t stress this enough. They only take 9-10 minutes.

      Molasses Crinkle Cookies stacked five high and tied with a white ribbon and decorated with an acorn.

      Author:  Compelled to Cook, adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine winter 2003 Molasses Crinkles.

      Molasses Crinkle Cookies stacked five high and tied with a white ribbon and decorated with an acorn.
      Molasses Crinkle Cookies
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        38-40 cookies 40 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        9-10 minutes 3+ hours
        Servings Prep Time
        38-40 cookies 40 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        9-10 minutes 3+ hours
        Molasses Crinkle Cookies stacked five high and tied with a white ribbon and decorated with an acorn.
        Molasses Crinkle Cookies
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          38-40 cookies 40 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          9-10 minutes 3+ hours
          Servings Prep Time
          38-40 cookies 40 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          9-10 minutes 3+ hours
          Ingredients
          Servings: cookies
          Instructions
          1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
          2. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream butter and brown sugar until light.
          3. Add oil and molasses and beat until combined. Add egg and beat until fully incorporated.
          4. Mix in flour until well combined.
          5. Flatten dough into a round disk and chill for a minimum of three hours or overnight.
          6. Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking trays with parchment.
          7. Divide dough into equal portions using a tablespoon or weigh (I used 20g each). The dough balls should be an approximate inch in diameter.
          8. Roll each ball in sugar to coat completely. If the dough has warmed while you were rolling, rechill rolled dough for about 10 minutes to firm up again (this prevents the cookies from overspreading). Arrange prepared dough on baking trays placing at least 2" apart. There's no need to flatten cookies. Sprinkle the tops with additional sugar.
          9. Bake cookies on the middle rack for 9-10 minutes only. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
          Recipe Notes

          -Start these cookies several hours ahead as they need time to chill.

          -Using coarse sugar makes for a pretty holiday cookie.  It will take a little more coarse sugar than granulated sugar for rolling.

          -I find the dough warms up too much while rolling into balls, especially if taking the time to weigh each one. Therefore, I suggest that you rechill the rolled balls for about 10 minutes to prevent too much spread. You can do this before rolling in sugar, after rolling in sugar, or once they are prepped on the baking tray (this is great if you can fit the tray in your fridge)

          -At 20 grams each, I get 38-2 3/4" cookies.

          -Do not overcrowd the cookies on the cookie sheet and do not overbake. These cookies are wonderfully chewy at the 9-minute mark.

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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