Normally you will find me taking traditional recipes and making them more real food-friendly. I’m prone to removing white flour and replacing it with sprouted flour, and switching out the sugar for honey, or maple syrup, or sucanat.
But I’m not actually going to do that this time.
(Okay, maybe just a little.)
When I was growing up, my family lived in the middle of nowhere, and our closest neighbors were a family from Holland. They were the almost-grandparents who got me off the bus and made me tea when my mom was running late and came to sit with me the first time I was old enough to stay home by myself — except I wasn’t.
When I was in sixth grade, I had to do a class project on the Netherlands, and as part of it, my neighbor taught me how to make Jan Hagel. And, call me sentimental if you like, but I wanted to share this recipe as I remember learning it, and as I remember making it every chance I got.
This recipe is easy, quick, and oh-so-delicious. If you need a hostess gift, or want to add one more thing to a cookie tray, this is it. Plus, my version is nut-free.
In all fairness, I do believe that Jan Hagel is supposed to have slivered almonds on top; that is the way my neighbor taught me. But my twelve-year-old self didn’t like almonds. So now, even though I do like almonds, I don’t like them on my Jan Hagel.
It’s actually kind of sad.
2 cups organic flour (I use this kind)
1 cup + 1 teaspoon organic sugar (I used Natural Cane Sugar)
1/2 pound butter (preferably from grass-fed cows; I like Kerrygold)
1 egg (preferably from pastured hens)
Slivered almonds (optional)
Cream butter and egg yolk. (Reserve the egg white.)
Add flour and 1 cup of the sugar. Mix until a crumbly dough forms.
Pour the dough onto a well-oiled cookie sheet, and press to flatten. If you use a small cookie sheet, the dough will take up the whole thing. If you use a larger one, you will have crumbly bits at the edges. This is no bad thing, really.
Beat egg white, and brush over dough.
Mix the remaining teaspoon of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough. Sprinkle with slivered almonds, if using.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
Cool and carefully cut into diamonds; the cookies are fragile!
This is where it’s awesome to have the crumbly bits… they are delicious, but not quite pretty enough to add to that tray you’re going to give away. 😉
If you are not giving them away, try not to eat them all in one sitting. In theory the will keep for about a week in a sealed container.
What did you think? Comments are always welcome!
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