Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cookie Time!!! Jan Hagel, a Dutch Favorite

Cookie time!!!

sketch of me holding a cookie the size of my head, smiling.  2 hearts, 1 star, and a rainbow above me.

Every December I go through a mad cookie-baking spree.  Believe it or not, baking your own cookies is actually better for the environment than buying them in a store.

There are no additional ingredients for preservation, and no gigantic factories using machines to press batter of unknown origin onto a conveyor belt.  It's just you, a bunch of easily recognized ingredients, a few cookie sheets, a stove, and a mixer.

Every December, I take out anywhere from seven to eight recipe cards and challenge myself to get everything done.  Last year I only made three different cookie types, mainly because I was moving to the opposite side of the country.  It was not a good season for baking, considering I also had boxes after boxes to unpack.

This year I took seven recipe cards out.  I plan to use them all.  First recipe?

Jan Hagel

These Christmas cookies are a popular tradition in Holland.  They're spread out onto a cookie sheet and cut into squares or rectangles after coming out of the oven.  And now it's time for a disclaimer:

I've never been to Holland, and have only had one Dutch friend in my entire life... and that was when I was in 3rd grade.  That being said, this recipe may or may not be like the true Dutch recipe.  All I can guarantee is that it's yummy!


  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk (save the white)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of nuts, crushed or diced (I usually use a bit less.  Go by your specific taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Remember the black walnuts that I cured and smashed open with a hammer?  I elected to use them in the recipe this year.  Normally, I use either walnuts or pecans, depending on my mood, as well as what's available in my pantry, but I obviously have plenty of black walnuts, so... they felt like a great idea!


1.  Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Blend together the butter, sugar, egg yolk (don't forget to save the white!), flour, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.  The result will be crumbly.

Dough has large, crumbled texture.

3.  Evenly grease your cookie sheet (I use lard for this, having elected to do away with shortening and cooking sprays).

4.  Drop your crumbly mixture of yumminess onto the sheet, and press it all along the bottom.  Leave no spaces.

5.  Whisk together the reserved egg white and the water.  Stop when it's nice and frothy.

6.  Brush the frothy mixture all over the top of the dough you've pressed into the pan.  It may or may not retain the froth as you brush.  Don't worry about that.  This doesn't really effect the resultant deliciousness.

Pressed dough, shining due to the smooth egg white brushed on top

7.  Sprinkle the nuts on top.  I usually don't use them all, but I'm not heavily into nuts, so this is a personal decision.  How much you use doesn't effect the baking times.

pressed dough glistens due to the egg white/water mixture.  Crushed nuts on top

(I crushed my nuts, as you can see, and the resultant scent very closely resembled golden delicious apples.  Black walnuts are definitely an interesting type of nut!)

8.  Place your pan into the oven and wait for what feels like an eternity, but is really only 20-23 minutes.  When they're ready, you'll see that the top is slightly browned, as are the edges.

9.  Remove from the oven, and cut into squares or rectangles immediately.

Slightly browned cookies, cut into squares:  6 rows, 8 columns

Trust me on this... one year I got distracted and left them alone for about 5 or 10 minutes before coming back to cut them, and, well... let's just say that They ended up getting torn into squares, rather than cut.

Yep.  It was messy.  Learn from my mistake.  Don't wait to cut it!

Now go do the earth a favor and make your own cookies this Christmas, instead of buying them.  This recipe is super easy, and overwhelmingly yummy.

We all love yummy, right?

*** sorry about that yellow spot in all of these pictures.  I keep saying that I need to get a new camera, and more and more it's looking like I really have to do it.  Ugh...

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