Everyone needs a delicious treat at Christmas, and I have just that treat. Jan Hagel is a Dutch cookie, made usually for St. Nicholas Eve and Day (Dec. 5th and 6th), but anytime during the Christmas season will work. This is a very buttery cookie (1/2 lb. of butter), but what sets it apart from something like shortbread is the topping.
The topping is a cinnamon-sugar mix, with walnuts. Divine. I’ve already made two batches, and they’re gone. The recipe comes from an old holiday cookbook of mine, The Holiday Dessert Cookbook, by Kathy Cutler. These may expand your waistline, but they’re worth it.
2 sticks butter
¼ cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbl. water for an egg wash (helps the topping to stay on)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
In mixing bowl (I suggest a stand mixer), cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg. Gradually add flour and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Spread batter in lightly greased jelly-roll pan (a 15 ½ X 10 ½ X 1 inch pan). This is a little difficult. You might try rolling the dough out like a pie crust, or try patting in place, which is what I did. It’s a bit tedious, but if you keep your fingers wet, it eventually goes in. I’m going to try rolling next time. Brush dough with the egg wash.
In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and nuts; sprinkle on glaze. Bake in a 350 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, but should be a nice golden brown. While warm, cut into 3-by-1-inch strips. Cool on a rack. You won’t regret making these (your waistline might even forgive you).
Cutler, Kathy. The Holiday Dessert Cookbook. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1986.
You can read more of Sue Van Slooten's food adventures at www.SueVanSlooten.com.