Jan Hagel

My mom made Jan Hagel every year at Christmas.  Her step-mother (my Oma) was Dutch.  This is one of the cookies that always reminds me of her.  

What is Jan Hagel?

Jan Hagel is a Dutch bar cookie that is very buttery, similar to a shortbread cookie.  I like the hint of cinnamon and the crunch of the toasted walnuts.  They are so easy to make.  Just press the dough into the pan, top with walnuts and bake!

To this day, I still make some of the cookies without walnuts for my sister (who still doesn’t like nuts).  I make a batch and just leave the nuts off the bottom quarter of the pan.  That way everyone else can eat the ones with the nuts and she gets hers they way she likes them!

Cookie Week

I make Jan Hagel every year as part of an array of Christmas cookies that Joe and I gift to friends and family.  I spend a whole week baking, packing, shipping the cookies across the country, and distributing them locally.  It is known as “Cookie Week” in our house.  Joe buys the cookie tins, helps to package the cookies into the boxes, mails them out, and arranges to distribute them in town.  It is a big process, but everyone loves getting their cookie packages every year.  It has become a tradition. 

I try to remember who likes which cookie best, if they like nuts or not, etc.  I package each cookie tin specifically for the recipient.  It takes a day just to package all the cookies into the tins.  No one in our house is allowed to eat any of the cookies, unless they break (oops!), until after the cookie tins are packed.  We have to have enough cookies, but we always do!

The cookies give us a reason to visit with our friends and family that we don’t get to spend enough time with throughout the year.  Sometimes life seems to get in the way, but the cookies are the glue that brings us all together again.

Jan Hagel

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Recipe by Margaret Sanfelippo Course: DessertsCuisine: DutchDifficulty: Easy


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This buttery bar cookie has a hint of cinnamon and is topped with chopped walnuts.


  • 3/4 cup 3/4 walnuts

  • 1 cup 1 butter, softened

  • 1 cup 1 sugar

  • 1 1 large egg, separated

  • 1 cup 1 flour

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 salt

  • 1 tbsp 1 water


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the walnuts on a cookie sheet. Toast them until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they bake evenly. Remove the tray from the oven and set them aside to cool.  
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and salt.
  • Put the butter, sugar and egg yolk in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl, as necessary.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Chop the walnuts very finely.
  • Lightly grease a 15″x10″ cookie sheet.  Pat the dough into the pan.  Making sure it is spread evenly.
  • Combine the egg white and water in a small bowl and beat with a fork until frothy.  Brush onto the dough.  Sprinkle the walnuts onto the dough, pressing them gently into the dough so they don’t fall off.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until very lightly browned.
  • Cut immediately into finger-like strips (approx 2.5″ x 1.5″).


  • Be sure to cut these cookies while they are hot. Once they cool, they will crumble when you try to cut them.


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