I know, that name sounds a little strange to non-Dutchies. To explain: Jan is a very common Dutch (male) name and Hagel means hail. I suppose some baker just wanted a cool name and came up with this, looking at the pearl sugar covered cookies he had just created (back in the 1860s). Pearl sugar does look a bit like hail so it does make some sense. It’s been a traditional Dutch cookie ever since!
For this cookie, you’ll create one big slab of a cookie and cut it afterwards. It can be a little tricky since it’s still so hot, but use an oven mitt or something like it to protect your fingers and you’ll be fine. Just be careful 😉 I used a pizza cutter to cut through the slab but a knife works just as well. Just “push” the knife through or you’ll have a horrible mess afterwards (okay, a bit of mess can’t be avoided, but this trick helps a little). You’ll be left with a really lovely, short cookie with a nice crunch from the topping.
Jan Hagel (Dutch Cinnamon & Almond Cookies)
Source: Van Dinther, Mac. “Bros En Bruin.” De Volkskrant [Amsterdam] 30 Jan. 2015. Web. which features an interview with and recipe by Cees Holtkamp from his (co-authored) book Koekje.
Makes about 50 cookies
Tools: rolling pin, baking sheet, handheld mixer with dough hooks or stand mixer with paddle attachment
175 grams softened butter
125 grams light brown sugar (Dutchies: basterdsuiker)
10 grams milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (this seems like a lot, but it’s not, trust me!)
250 grams pastry flour (Dutchies: Zeeuwse bloem)
5 grams baking powder
1 beaten egg
100 grams flaked almonds
50 grams pearl sugar (or caster sugar)
1. Combine butter, sugar, milk, cinnamon and salt. Then add flour and baking powder and mix or knead until the dough starts to come together. Knead dough until it is smooth with your hands (not too long!) and wrap in cling film. Chill for 1 hour.
2. Pre-heat oven to 190C/375F.
3. Roll out dough on a floured working surface to a rectangle, 2 mm thick. Neaten the edges with your hands. Use a rolling pin to transfer the slab to a baking sheet (buttered, lined with baking parchment or silpat mat) by rolling the dough around the tin and unrolling it on the sheet.
4. Brush dough lightly with egg. Sprinkle over flaked almonds and lightly press into the dough with your fingers. Shake off excess. Do the same with the pearl sugar. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Once baked, immediately cut the slab into cookies 3×7.5cm in size (I’m sorry, I’m not too good at inches, especially when it comes to smaller sizes). Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and leave to cool.