Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Begins

Winter has arrived of late and I've been busy, busy, busy.

I'd been thinking through November that I should blog all my favourite Christmas baking as I baked - showing the finished project and sharing the recipes, but then I went ahead and started baking and completely forgot about sharing. Already baked and squirreled away in the freezer are my Cherry Pound Cakes, Hazelnut Crescents, Lemon Shortbread and Coconut Macaroons. I think, perhaps, I'll treat a sampling to a visit to a plate and do a wee photo shoot. I suspect Nigel and Ian will help make sure that none of them have to return to the freezer...

Today though, was Jan Hagels day...

this cookie recipe was one Mum use to make years ago, and one I've made every Christmas for a long, long time. I suspect the recipe came from a magazine, possibly a Canadian Living, but I'm honestly not sure, all I do know is that it's not listed in their recipe index.

But don't despair, because I've got the recipe right here:

Jan Hagels

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I use granulated)
1 egg, separated
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour (I use unbleached white)
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds (I suspect I use more than that)
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

With mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolk and almond extract. Blend thoroughly. Stir in flour (I don't stir, but beat it in with the mixer). Turn cookie dough into an ungreased 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan. Spread evenly to edges with spatula (for many year the pan I had was too big, so I only spread it to three edges and about 3/4 the length of the pan - use your judgement people!). Beat the egg white until foamy. Spread evenly over cookie dough (I don't use all of it, I brush it on with a pastry brush until there's a nice even coating on top), spread nuts evenly over top (I use a fair bit, probably more like 3/4 cup, rather than the 1/2 cup stated in the original). Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over nuts (I always have a shaker full of cinnamon and sugar in the cupboard, for making cinnamon toast, I don't measure this out I just shake, shake, shake all over the top of the almonds). Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes until lightly browned (hmmm...actually, I check them at about 22 minutes, and if they look and smell done then I take them out - don't let them burn). Let cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Cut into 8 lengthwise cuts and 12 diagonal cuts (I use a pizza cutter). Cool in pan, remove with spatula. Mmmmm...

There's always a few odd, too-skinny shaped pieces that are left over for snacking. This makes Nigel very happy.

I got a tree for the landing and decorated it with a collection of vintage ornaments.

My favourite...

and the tree topper, so lovely...

Every year since Ian was tiny we've put up the Playmobil Advent calendar. It's been amusing me every year that no matter how old he gets, he'll make a bee-line for the calendar and open the little box first thing in the morning, before anything else, but today...for the first time... number 1 still sits and waits.

They break your hearts for the first time at fourteen.


martiangirl said...

Well Mom, I'm 13 years, 7 months and 1 week old (exactly). Isn't that cool? Those cookies look really good. My vw is anogg, makes me think of eggnog.

do you mind if i knit said...

Mmmm those look delicious, I bet they don't last long! And your tree and the ornaments look lovely, I love those vintagey looking one. Thank you for the tip on the gloves and socks! Love Vanessa xxx

noricum said...

I love your tree, ornaments, and wreath! I'm still living in a rat's nest, and so I don't get to decorate for my favourite holiday. :( (I *must* do something about this mess!!!!)

That recipe looks *yummy*! Thanks for sharing! :)

Jane said...

Are you warning me Thea?
Anne, everything looks lovely. I remember Mom making Jan Hagels - I never really liked them. I think it's the almond flavouring. I just like regular shortbread. And I haven't made any shortbread this year. I just made gingerbread for the cookie exchange. We've finished up the cookie exchange cookies and now I'm sick of cookies for the season. And I had bought stuff to make rugallah (rasphberry jam and chocolate).