Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

(Dutch Almond Shortbread)

 

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

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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      Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread

      Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread

      Let the holiday baking begin with these beautiful melt in your mouth Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread cookies. Not too sweet, the tart cranberries are the perfect compliment to the flakey, buttery cookie. They’re a must to add to your holiday baking lineup.

      A closer look at these stunning Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread cookies finds them easy to prepare with basic ingredients, they’re holiday themed, gorgeous, and great for gift giving. Oh, and did I mention they’re melt in your mouth buttery with vibrant, tart roasted cranberries.

      Whipped shortbread has always been my personal favourite. Mostly it’s the texture that gets me at the first barely resistant bite to that melt in your mouth butteriness. They’re an indulgence for sure and worth every bite. Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread:  Adapted from “Let’s Break Bread Together, Whipped Cream Shortbread”

      Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        5 dozen 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        22 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        5 dozen 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        22 minutes
        Roasted Cranberry Whipped Shortbread
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          5 dozen 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          22 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          5 dozen 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          22 minutes
          Ingredients
          Roasted Cranberries
          whipped Shortbread
          Servings: dozen
          Instructions
          Roasted Cranberries
          1. Preheat oven to 425℉. In a medium bowl toss together all ingredients and spread in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, spreading out in a single layer to cool to room temperature.
          Whipped Shortbread
          1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Add butter to a stand mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and salt. Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes, scraping bowl and paddle down at least twice.
          2. Scoop dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip. Line large baking sheets with parchment and pipe dough into approximate 1 3/4"- 2" rosettes with 2" spacing. (cookie will spread slightly with cooking)
          3. Press an approximate 1/2 tsp of roasted cranberries into centre of cookie. Top centre of cookie with course sugar and bake in centre of oven for 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
          Recipe Notes

          You will likely have about a 1/2 cup of cooked cranberries left depending on how much you top the cookies with.  Any leftover is fantastic on crostini with brie or with roasted meats.