Jan Hagels


Jan Hagels

1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar

1 egg, separated white from yolk
1 t almond extract

2 c flour

1/2 c sliced almonds
1 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and almond extract. Then add flour and stir until just combined.

Turn dough into ungreased 15X10X1 inch pan (jelly roll pan.) Using your fingers spread the dough until it evenly covers the entire pan.

In a small bowl whisk egg white until it is frothy. Brush egg white over dough and then sprinkle the almonds on top. Finish by sprinkling the cinnamon sugar over the dough.

Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool and then cut into pieces. Traditionally these cookies are served in diamond shapes so cut into diagonal strips that criss-cross the pan. Or, you know, squares taste the same.

Printable version here

Notes: The most time consuming part of this recipe is pushing the dough into the pan. When you first start to do so you will swear that I am  crazy and it will never be enough to cover the pan. But I'm not and it does.

My mother's best friend was German (still is, last I heard from her) and she used to make these cookies at Christmastime. For the first thirty seven years of my life I only considered eating these in December. But I have recently realized that life is too short to relegate things that taste good to tiny windows of time and my new plan is to start drinking at breakfast. Oh, and to make Jan Hagels whenever I feel like it.

Last week I was standing in the grocery store about to buy a package of Oreos when I decided that I should bake more often. What could be more comforting and loving than a homemade cookie in one's lunchbox, I reasoned. So I virtuously returned the Oreos to the shelf and I picked up a big bag of chocolate chips and a small ditto of sliced almonds on my way out. Then, as I do, I forgot about it until about nine o'clock on Sunday night. Jan Hagels come together very quickly and they bake quickly so it wasn't THAT much of a hassle but I still felt like I had been particularly selfless when I told Patrick on Monday morning that I had made cookies for his lunch.

"Great!" he said. "Chocolate chip?"

"No! Jan Hagels!"

So he looked at them and made a face and said, "oh. I don't like almonds" and then Steve said, "oh no not those ALMOND cookies again" because Steve doesn't like almonds either (I think he had a bad marzipan experience as a child.) The end result is that I got six dozen cookies all to myself and Patrick took one of those vile little shelf stable puddings we had left over from his tonsil surgery.

There is no moral to this story but if you are not weird and you like the delicious taste of a well-sugared almond then you will no doubt enjoy this recipe. 

PS Someone requested printable versions of the recipes and I think this is an excellent idea and I am working on implementing it. So... I'm trying.

PPS I froze some of the cookies after I baked them because... well I could eat 6 dozen Jan Hagels but should I? I defrosted them later and they were pretty good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


These are Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. You don't need me to tell you how to make them - just get a package of chips, read the recipe and put your butter out to soften. Or use your own recipe, which is just as good or better (is it? want to share it?)

I did, however, think it might be helpful to tell you what I do to maximize my homemade chocolate chip cookieness while minimizing my access to eating, say, twenty cookies in the course of a single afternoon.

Double the recipe. Get a cookie sheet and a spring-loaded, two tablespoon sized ice cream scooper (if you're feeling fancy; otherwise a spoon and your thumb work just fine.) Create as many dough balls as you can and then put the cookie sheets into the freezer for an hour or two. Pop the now frozen cookies off the sheet and store together in a ziploc bag in the freezer for a month or two.

To bake, preheat oven to 350°. Place cookie dough balls (make a couple at a time or make a bunch) with plenty of room between them because they spread a lot when you bake them frozen. Bake 14-16 minutes until the bottoms are just beginning to brown and the tops are no longer wet.     

Notes: I should be ashamed of myself for posting this but it's what I did today and who knows? Maybe it never occurred to you to freeze the dough pre-clumped. Besides, last night we had fried egg sandwiches for dinner: toast, dijon mustard, sliced tomato, egg over easy topped with swiss cheese and then put under the broiler for a minute - delicious but you wouldn't want a picture of it.

Black Raspberry Cobbler


Patrick likes to forage (he'd make a good bear, I think) and a recent expedition netted him about three pints of black raspberries.

"Let's make a pie!" he said.

"Let's make a cobbler!" I countered.

"What's a cobbler?" he asked. The actual answer is that a cobbler is what I am capable of making since I cannot make pie crust (I KNOW. feel free to teach me) but I am pretty good with forgiving doughs that are intended to be rustic and ugly.

I told him a cobbler is like a pie but you can use even more sugar. He became pro-cobbler, abandoning his pie platform in the face of my compelling rhetoric.

There are a lot of ways to cover a bunch of berries. You can use biscuit, oats, cake, bread, shortcake... personally, I like to make a sugar cookie dough and just drop it on top of the fruit. Even better is to give your child the ingredients and a chair to reach the counter and let them make it while you read a magazine. So that is what I did.

IMG_4215_2 IMG_4220_2

Black Raspberry Cobbler  

3 pints black raspberries (or red ones. blueberries. blackberries I suppose)
1 T cornstarch
2/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Gently combine and scrape into 9 inch deep pie plate. Heat oven to 400°. Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake about fifteen minutes until berries release juice.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t baking powder
pinch of table salt  

and set it aside. Then in a medium bowl beat

8 T butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar

until light and fluffy. Add

1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract

Beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.

After the fifteen minutes remove pie plate from oven. Stir fruit and then drop dough evenly over berries in heaping spoonfuls. Return to oven and bake (uncovered) until topping is browned and fruit is bubbly, about 35 minutes.


Patrick's berry haul was shy of three full pints so I augmented the black raspberries with leftover blueberries I had in the refrigerator. It all baked down into a nice purple mess regardless.  

Did you make it? Change it? Have a better idea? Tell me what you think in the comments.