Jan Hagel Cookies

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Jan Hagel Cookies (pronounced Yahn Hahgel, sometimes written as Janhagel) are delicious shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. Jan Hagel cookies are a traditional Dutch cookie. Why they are named Jan Hagel, I’ve no clue. After some research I did find out that Jan Hagel was the name used for common folk in the 1700s and in particular it was used as slang for sailors and scum or riffraff, back in the day sailors weren’t seen as the best people.

I always thought that the name came from a guy called Jan (Jan is a boys name in the Netherlands) that made a cookie which he topped with pearl sugar which resembles hail (hagel) on the cookie. So you would get Jan’s hail cookies (Jan’s hagel koekjes). But I haven’t found any evidence anywhere that that’s true. I do know one thing though, whoever came up with the recipe for this cookie was a genius. As a kid this was one of my favorite Dutch cookies. The brittle shortbread with a hint of cinnamon with the nice crispy bite from the almond and pearl sugar topping is a match made in heaven (in my opinion).  Making these cookies have been on my to do list for awhile now and I’m so happy I finally made them! I found a recipe on bakkersinbedrijf.nl which I used as a base to make the Jan Hagel cookies.

Pearl Sugar

The recipe calls for pearl sugar, pearl sugar is also called nib sugar and hail sugar. It’s a refined white sugar that’s very coarse and hard. It doesn’t melt during baking. I used a Belgian pearl sugar for this recipe. I did a quick search and saw that Amazon sells pearl sugar. If you can’t find pearl sugar, you can use crystallized sugar or coarse sugar as an alternative. Personally though, I find the pearl sugar really completes the cookie and makes it perfect. I haven’t tried making these cookies with crystallized sugar or another coarse sugar yet.

How To Make Jan Hagel Cookies

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 01

You’ll need, all-purpose flour, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, an egg, pearl sugar and almond slices. (The full list of ingredients including measurements can be found in the recipe card below.)

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 02

Mix your baking powder with the all-purpose flour in a bowl and set aside.

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 03

Add butter and sugar to a bowl and mix till incorporated, add the cinnamon and salt and mix till incorporated.

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 04

Whisk the egg and add half of the egg, mix till incorporated. Add the flour mixture and briefly mix till the dough starts to form. Don’t over mix. Take out the dough as soon as it starts to come together and place it on a work surface.

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 05

Using your hands form a ball of the dough and place the dough onto some parchment paper that’s big enough to fit your baking sheet. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and roll out the dough in between the sheets into a rectangular shape of 12 x 14 inch (30 x 35 cm).  Brush the rolled out dough with the other half of the whisked egg.

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 06

Sprinkle the Jan Hagel cookie dough with slivered almonds and pearl sugar. Place the second sheet of parchment paper on top again and lightly roll the sugar and almonds into the dough. Transfer the dough, with the parchment paper still on the bottom to a baking sheet. And bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 07

When the big cookie sheet is nice and golden it’s ready to take out of the oven. Using a knife, immediately, while still hot, cut into cookies of  1 x 3 inch (3 x 8 cm). Make sure to use oven gloves, the baking sheet will still be hot. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the sheet, don’t pick them up yet while still hot or they will break. Once they’re cool enough to pick up you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool down further.

 

Dutch Jan Hagel Cookies | Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | https://www.cakieshq.com | Step 08

Once cooled you can enjoy these lovely brittle Jan Hagel cookies with a nice cup of coffee or tea.

 

Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | Recipe

Just be warned, it’s nearly impossible to just eat one of these…

 

Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar. | Recipe

 

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Jan Hagel Cookies
Jan Hagel Cookies are delicious traditional Dutch shortbread cookies spiced with cinnamon, topped with almonds and pearl sugar.
Jan Hagel Koekjes zijn een typisch Hollands koekje. Een heerlijk bros koekje met een vleugje kaneel, bedekt met amandelen en parelsuiker.
Votes: 21
Rating: 4.14
You:
Rate this recipe!
Type Cookies
Cuisine Dutch
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Dough
Topping
Additional tools
Type Cookies
Cuisine Dutch
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Dough
Topping
Additional tools
Jan Hagel Koekjes zijn een typisch Hollands koekje. Een heerlijk bros koekje met een vleugje kaneel, bedekt met amandelen en parelsuiker.
Votes: 21
Rating: 4.14
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 °C / 350 °F. Set two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix baking powder with all-purpose flour and set aside.
  3. Add butter and sugar to a bowl and mix till incorporated. Add the cinnamon and salt and mix till incorporated followed by half of the whisked egg. Mix till incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture and briefly mix till the dough starts to form. Don't over mix. Take out the dough as soon as it starts to come together and place it on a work surface.
  5. Using your hands form a ball of the dough and place the dough onto some parchment paper that's big enough to fit your baking sheet. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and roll out the dough in between the sheets into a rectangular shape of 12 x 14 inch (30 x 35 cm).
  6. Brush the rolled out dough with the other half of the whisked egg. Sprinkle the Jan Hagel cookie dough with slivered almonds and pearl sugar. Place the second sheet of parchment paper on top again and lightly roll the sugar and almonds into the dough.
  7. Transfer the dough, with the parchment paper still on the bottom to a baking sheet. And bake in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes till golden. When the big cookie sheet is nice and golden it's ready to take out of the oven.
  8. Once out of the oven, immediately use a knife to cut into cookies of  1 x 3 inch (3 x 8 cm) while still hot. Make sure to use oven gloves, the baking sheet will still be hot. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the sheet, don't pick them up yet while still hot or they will break. Once they're cool enough to pick up you can transfer them to a wire rack to cool down further.
Recipe Notes

Please note that the cup measurements in this recipe are approximate. I have added cups for those that prefer using cups. The recipe is most accurate using weights measurements.

  • If you can't find pearl sugar, you can use crystallized sugar or coarse sugar as an alternative. I haven't tried making these cookies with crystallized sugar or another coarse sugar yet though.

4 comments

  1. Marti Bowland
    21 April 2019

    I too have been making this recipe for years: since the 70’s. I got it from a Dutch immigrant. She didn’t have salt or baking powder in the recipe and she only had 2 cups of flour. She had an egg yolk in the recipe and she had me wash the spread out dough with the white. That helped stick the almonds. She had a pinch of baking soda. She didn’t mention pearl sugar and the rolling pin method is new but I understand why that’s a good idea. I never cut it warm before but I just did it; we’ll see how it cools out. Thanks for your version.

    1. 23 April 2019

      I love how everybody has there own version. That’s why I love old traditional recipes, every household had their own version 😀

  2. Susan Morrison
    16 February 2019

    I’m updating some old family favorites and noticed your ingredient list includes 1/4 teaspoon of salt but you didn’t include it in the mixing directions. My old recipe doesn’t call for salt. Do you use it or not? Thanks!

    1. 18 February 2019

      Hi Susan,
      Yes, I use a little bit of salt. I put it in when I add the cinnamon.

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