Cinnamony, crunchy and sweet.
These are very similar to the Dutch Almond Bars I posted last Fall, only there is enough of a twist to make these really very different. These Jan Hagel cookies are my friend and neighbor Jerome’s specialty. He not only loves baking sweets, he also loves hanging out in his backyard – winter, summer, rain or shine. So much so, two years ago he built his own outdoor oven of bricks and concrete. We bring him our tree prunings to help with firewood to stoke his oven. It’s quite a trick to get it to the right temperature, but once you get the knack, you can use normal oven equipment, like cookie sheets, spatulas and hot pads, with the addition of long wooden paddles and sticks for pushing and pulling the baking in and out of the oven. It’s good to bake on a dry day so your cookies don’t get rained on when you pull them out of the oven!
Here’s the recipe for Jerome’s Jan Hagel cookies, adapted so you can bake them in the comfort of your indoor home kitchen! Sweet and crumbly, the cinnamon sugar on these brings back the fun of eating cinnamon toast when I was very young, and pie dough scraps sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and baked – and eaten while still warm. There is something really special about the crunchiness of cinnamon sugar that brings out the best in a cookie.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 egg, separated
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ – ½ cup pearl sugar or coarse sugar
- Mix the flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and egg yolk. Allow the dough to set for about thirty minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a jelly roll pan with a thin coating of butter, then parchment paper, then coat the paper with a thin coat of butter. Press the dough into the pan, using a rolling pin to spread it evenly.
- Beat egg white and milk until frothy, then brush over the dough. Quickly sprinkle the nuts and coarse sugar evenly over the dough, then gently press with your palms to make sure they stick into the dough. With a sharp knife, cut the dough – right through the nuts - into rectangular cookies about 1½ inch X 3 inches.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until just barely turning brown on the bottom. Cool for a couple of minutes in the pan, then separate them and allow to cool completely on a rack.
To package, I used:
- Evermine large cellophane bags 3″ x 1.75″ x 8”
- Evermine square 1B labels, style Jules Veneer in cherry red with font “Sparhawk Fill”
- Evermine small luggage tags, style “Elements” in cherry red with font “Sparhawk Fill”
- Evermine baker’s twine in black + white