Add a Dutch touch to your holiday baking repertoire with these traditional Dutch cookies, which are widely enjoyed at Christmas time in the Netherlands. Flavored with almonds, cinnamon, and caramel-like crystallized sugar, they are sure to be a hit with your loved ones and may just become a new holiday tradition in your home. As easy to make as they are versatile, these seasonal cookies can be cut into squares, rectangles or diamond shapes and served with ice cream, mousse or sabayon, or as a tea-time treat.
- 2 cups/200 g all-purpose flour
- 1 cup/190 g granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup/230 g unsalted butter (cold)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Garnish: Almond slivers
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes and add. Rub the flour mix and the butter together between your thumb and forefingers until it resembles wet sand.
- Press dough onto a greased cookie sheet, roughly forming a rectangle. Brush surface with the beaten egg and decorate with almond slivers and sugar crystals or caramel shards. Bake for 35 minutes or until browned.
- Using a sharp knife, immediately cut into the desired shapes. Leave to cool and crisp up, before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Use Dutch kandij (sugar crystals) to decorate your Jan Hagel cookies, but if you can't find these, simply make your own alternative. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan over a high heat (do not stir). The second the sugar liquefies completely, decant the liquid sugar onto waiting parchment paper. Try to pour it thinly. The sugar will set into a crisp disk. Once cooled, simply chop into shards -- a mezzaluna knife works well here. The larger shards will remain crispy as the cookies bake, while the smaller ones will melt into the cookies -- delicious either way.