Jan Hagel Cookies – Dutch Shortbread

Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

I had a huge decision to make today. Take a 3 mile hike on the mountainous trails in the state park near my house or bake cookies. I really wanted to go on the hike. No, really I did. But, it was cold and somewhat blustery. Blustery you say, in Southern California! Since leaving the east coast 32 years ago I’ve become a big wuss, and when the mercury dips below 60 degrees I am forced to stay in the house. Well, not really forced, but it seems like the only sane thing to do. Really, what kind of a crazy person would venture out into such grave weather conditions. So, there you go, baking cookies won out.

So naturally, that takes us to Jan Hagel  Cookies (pronounced Yahn Hahgel) . I know, that’s a weird name, right. They’re Dutch cookies so I assume they were named for some Dutch guy who liked to bake. But I could be wrong. If you know where the name came from, please let me know. Anyway, when I was a kid growing up in the olden days, Keebler used to make a Jan Hagel cookie. It was one of my favorite cookies, and my mother always had a bag of them in the cookie drawer. But wouldn’t you know it, Keebler, unbeknownst to me, stopped producing the Jan Hagel cookie.

Well, as it turns out I don’t eat commercially packaged cookies anymore, anyway. It’s probably been twenty years since I had a Jan Hagel, so that’s what Mama baked.  They’re just perfect. It’s a cinnamon spiced shortbread topped with sugar and almonds that get all sweet and crunchy when you bake them.

Dutch Shortbread - Jan Hagel Cookies

Dutch Shortbread – Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

From Nick Malgieri


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces


  • small bowl of water and pastry brush for brushing dough
  • 1 cup blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. With a pastry brush and melted butter, butter the bottom and sides of a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan, then line the pan with parchment paper and butter that lightly too.
  2. Place your oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Put all your dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and pulse repeatedly until the mixture is reduced to fine crumbs and looks like coarse cornmeal.
  4. Evenly distribute the dough mixture in the pan and use the palm of your hand to press it evenly and to make it adhere together. I used a drinking glass turned on its side to act as a rolling pin to flatten out the mixture in the pan. Paint the dough with water and evenly scatter the almond, sugar, cinnamon mixture over the dough, gently pressing it in to make it adhere to the dough.
  5. Bake the cookies for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden in color and the cookies are firm.
  6. When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and cut them immediately before they harden. I used a ruler to measure where to score the cookies. I chose to cut them into 1 1/2″ x 3″ bars. I used a large metal spatula to cut into the cookies, but a serrated knife will work fine also.
  7. When the cookies are sliced, you can place them on a rack to cool.

Makes 30 – 1 1/2″ x 3″ cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies - Dutch Shortbread

Jan Hagel Cookies – Dutch Shortbread

Mama’s Tips:

Slice the cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven as the dough will quickly harden making them too hard to cut.

Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

Recipe: Easy


51 Comments on “Jan Hagel Cookies – Dutch Shortbread”

  1. Desert Vintage says:

    this looks divine!!!!! I must try! Thank you!

  2. Such lovely cookies, Mama! I love that crisp, crunchy, sugar-cinnamon topping. I haven’t eaten a Keebler cookie in over a decade. I can still remember the commercials they used to play on tv with the Keebler elves.

  3. These cookies look yummy! I LOVE Vietnamese cinnamon, they are fabulous. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I’ve never had these – never even heard of ’em. And why is this!! How have these escaped my notice??

  5. 3meals2snacks says:

    It’s a good thing I just finished a Bassett’s ice cream cone or I’d have been obsessing about these cookies. That will come in about two hours. I remember the Jan Hagels very well. I’d wager Mama’s version is a hundred times better than anything mass produced and bagged. Maybe I’ll find out.

  6. Beth says:

    I never met a dutch cookie I didn’t like 😉

  7. Gary Lum says:

    Hmm…bake or hike. I don’t understand the question lol

  8. Good call to stay and bake. I wish I could reach into the computer screen and grab one of these–fabulous!

  9. What would happen if one did not blanch the almonds? Would they be to dry? How long to you blanch?

  10. Clover says:

    I like just about anything that includes almonds! These are beautiful. 🙂

  11. mamacormier says:

    Darn, I saw blanched sliced almonds at the grocery store on sale (today) for $1.00 and I didn’t buy them. Looks amazing. I wanted to pin this recipe but you don’t have this option. I’ll have to bookmark it.

  12. roomforfood says:

    I looked it up on the Internet and “het Janhagel” used to be an insulting word for the bourgeois. And in the second world war the Dutch paramilitairy force that fought on the German side was called Jan Hagel because the had shotguns and the small bullits are called “hagel” in dutch. But why the cookie is called Jan Hagel? Maybe because of the sprinkeled sugar on top of it? Or maybe because a lot of bourgois people made them? I am going to look that up. 🙂 and going to bake them! Yum!

  13. Michelle says:

    Cookies beat hiking. Any day.

  14. Beautiful cookies and I love almonds, cinnamon and sugar. When I go to sleep, I’m going to have Jan Hagel cookies dancing in m head. These look so divine.

  15. ohlidia says:

    These are delicious-looking shortbread’s! I have never heard of Vietnamese cinnamon. I learn something new everyday! My 12 year-old loves shortbread and she feels like baking today so we just might be making these. By the way, your pictures are amazing!

  16. Suzette says:

    These look delicious! I have to make them now! I love shortbread-type cookies. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  17. Brilliant decision… those cookies look scrumptious!! The hike can wait until April and warm weather!! xxoo

  18. petit4chocolatier says:

    These look delectable! I love hiking.., yet baking cookies is pretty important stuff!!

  19. Rita Horn says:

    Yum! They look picture perfect! Definitely love anything with almonds!!

  20. Noa Levin says:

    Once again, fabulous stuff, I’ll have to try them!
    I found that “Jan Hagel – Johnny Hail – is Dutch for ‘an unruly mob’ or ‘rabble,’ with hagel in the sense of ‘multitude’ or ‘swarm.’ In the cookie, the rock sugar resembles hail.” from http://globalcookies.blogspot.com/2007/10/netherlands-jan-hagels.html.

  21. ooohhhh¡¡¡¡se ven deliciosos¡¡

  22. Sheryl,OMG! I have been talking about and pining for these cookies forever! THANK YOU!

  23. sarahlouisek says:

    That topping makes them shimmer and sparkle — nice! I liked your story too. And Keebler made them once? Wow!

  24. Was about to get up and do the same thing last weekend..I agree SoCal is just way too cold right now! Glad you decided to stay home and bake instead 🙂

  25. Oh yum, your shortbread looks delicious!

  26. These look and sound delicious! Definitely going to try this recipe, thank you!

  27. Oh my goodness, they look like they’ll melt in your mouth, but still be crunchy with the almonds on top! I wonder if I could make these with almond flour….Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  28. Victoria says:

    These looks scrumptious! A very pretty cookie also!

  29. lhtw says:

    These look SO delicious. My sister studied abroad in the Netherlands and only told me about the chocolate hail (sprinkles) they put on bread for breakfast. I couldn’t see myself doing that, but these shortbread cookies are something I can really get behind. I ❤ Shortbread…or any kind of cookie, really.

  30. Nice going, Dutch guy!! AND, you have to be kidding me… I have everything to make these cookies, too! My tummy is growling. 🙂

  31. Caroline says:

    Just Made these for some dutch relatives! Big success, loved by all 🙂

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