Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jan Hagel Cookies - Jan Hagel Kekse

After a month-long absence from the blogger community and an almost four-week long stay at the hospital, I am finally back home. I would like to mark the occasion with a post about one  of my most treasured cookie recipes, photographed in one of my favorite places. A feel good post of sorts. But before I get started, I would like to thank all my friends and fellow bloggers for their patience, encouragement, support, well-wishes and wonderful personal messages that I received during the last couple of weeks. I am truly grateful to be part of such a lovely community and would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart! 

You are truly the best!
Nach einer einmonatigen Abwesenheit aus der Blogger-Gemeinschaft und einen fast vier Wochen langen Aufenthalt in der Klinik bin ich endlich wieder zurück zu Hause. Ich möchte dieses zum Anlass nehmen, um mit einem Post über eines meiner Lieblingskeksrezepte, fotografiert an einem meiner Lieblingsorte, ein wenig zu feiern. Ein wahrer Wohlfühlpost sozusagen! Aber bevor ich anfange über die Kekse und die wunderbare Umgebung, in der ich sie fotografiert habe zu sprechen, möchte ich mich von ganzen Herzen bedanken bei alle meinen Freunde und Blogger-Kollegen für ihre Geduld, Ermutigung, Unterstützung, Genesungswünsche und wunderbare persönliche Botschaften, die ich im Laufe der letzten Wochen erhalten habe. Ich bin unendlich glücklich, solch einer wunderbaren Gemeinschaft anzugehören!

Ihr seid wirklich die Allerbesten!




Today’s cookie recipe is a cookie treat of Dutch origin named "Jan Hagel", also known as "Janhagel", "Hollanders", or "Dutch Pearl Sugar Cookies".  Traditionally, these cookies are eaten during the holiday season but my beloved taste testers and I believe that they are equally delicious when baked throughout the year.
Das heutige Keksrezept kommt aus den Niederlanden und trägt den klangvollen Namen "Jan Hagel", auch bekannt als "Janhagel", "Holländer" oder "Niederländische Hagelzuckerkekse".  Traditionell werden diese Kekse im Dezember gebacken, aber meine lieben Geschmackstester und ich sind überzeugt davon, dass sie zu jeder anderen Jahreszeit genauso lecker schmecken.




Jan Hagels are said to have originated in the Province of Zeeland ( the westernmost province in the Netherlands). "Jan Hagel" is Dutch for an "unruly mob", with "hagel" in the sense of "multitude". Another theory on the origin of the name of these fabulous cookies refers to the fact that "hagelsuiker" is Dutch for "hail or pearl sugar" and therefore "hagel" refers to the pearl sugar that graces the top of these cookies. But no matter where the name for these cookies came from, trust me, you might have an unruly mob at your hands if you not try this wonderful recipe and bake a batch of these delicious cookies.
Das Rezept für Jan Hagels soll aus der Provinz Zeeland (die westlichste Provinz in den Niederlanden) stammen. "Jan Hagel" bedeutet eine "aufsässige Menge“. Eine andere Theorie über den Ursprung des Namens dieser fabelhafte Kekse bezieht sich auf die Tatsache, dass "Hagelsuiker" in Niederländisch „Hagelzucker“ bedeutet und sich damit auf den Zucker der vor dem Backen auf den Keksteig gestreut wird, bezieht. Aber egal, welchen Ursprung der Name für diese Kekse hat, ich kann nur sagen, dass man sich möglicherweise mit einer etwas aufsässigen Menge gegenüber sieht, wenn man dieses wunderbare Rezept nicht mal ausprobiert.




The cookies consist of a buttery, cinnamon-flavored base topped with toasted almonds and pearl sugar and they are quite easy to make. Just mix all the ingredients together, press the dough into a brownie pan or any other square baking pan, brush with egg, sprinkle on the almonds and pearl sugar, and you are  much there.
Die Kekse bestehen aus einem einfachen Basisteig und werden mit Mandeln und Hagelzucker verfeinert. Sie sind ganz einfach zu machen. Einfach alle Zutaten miteinander vermischen, den Teig in eine Backform geben, mit Ei bestreichen, mit Mandeln und Hagelzucker bestreuen und das war es auch schon. 




Unlike so many cookies, you can make these from things you already have in your pantry and fridge, which is good if you need to whip them up in a hurry. The flavor is fairly simple, just the goodness of butter and sugar, the warm spiciness of cinnamon, a hint of wonderful vanilla and sweet toasted almonds, which does make a nice difference from some of the ingredient-laden cookies that you often encounter.
Im Gegensatz zu so vielen anderen Keksrezepten, kann man diese Kekse mit den Zutaten backen, die man meist schon vorrätig hat, was besonders praktisch ist wenn man es ein wenig eilig hat. Die fertigen Kekse schmecken ganz eindeutig nach ihren wenigen, aber guten Zutaten, wie Butter und Zucker, Zimt und einem Hauch von wunderbarer Vanille und süßen Mandeln. Die Zutaten machen das Rezept aus, würde ich sagen und manchmal sind es genau diese Art Kekse, nach denen man sich sehnt und da ist diese Rezept genau das Richtige.




Jan Hagel Cookies
(makes about 18)

Ingredients for the Cookies
  • 225 grams plain (AP) flour (you can substitute spelt flour as well)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon ("Ceylon" cinnamon  if possible)
  • 150 grams unsalted butter
  • 100 grams soft light brown sugar (I like to use Dutch “lichtbruine basterdsuiker” but any light brown sugar works equally well
  • 1 1/2 tsps. pure vanilla sugar (or homemade)
  • 1 egg (L), organic or free range
  • 50 grams pearl (hail) sugar (available online)
  • 75 grams flaked almonds
Jan Hagel Kekse
(ergibt ungefähr 18 Kekse)

Zutaten für die Kekse
  • 225 Gramm Weizenmehl (man kann auch Dinkelmehl benutzen)
  • ½ TL Backpulver
  • ¼ TL feines Meersalz
  • 1 TL Zimt („Ceylon“ Zimt wenn möglich)
  • 150 Gramm ungesalzene Butter
  • 100 Gramm hellbrauner Zucker (ich nehme immer „lichtbruine basterdsuiker“ aus den Niederlanden)
  • 1 ½ TL Bourbon Vanille Zucker (oder selbstgemachter)
  • 1 Ei (L), Bio-oder Freilandhaltung
  • 50 Gramm Hagelzucker
  • 75 Gramm Mandelblättchen



Special equipment needed
  • a square tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom) or a brownie baking pan
  • parchment paper
  • serrated knife
  • small offset spatula or cake server
Zusätzlich
  • eine quadratische Backform (am besten mit einem herausnehmbaren Boden) oder eine Browniebackform
  • Backpapier
  • ein gezacktes Messer
  • eine kleine Winkelpalette oder einen Tortenheber



Preparation of the Cookies
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream together the butter, light brown sugar, and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture together with half of the egg, then mix until you have a smooth dough.
  4. Cover the bowl with food wrap and leave in the fridge to chill for about an hour or longer.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit).
  6. Butter and flour a square tart pan or line a brownie baking pan (25 cm x 25 cm or 10 inches x 10 inches) with parchment paper. Personally, I prefer a French tart pan with removable bottom, that way, once you unmold the cookies, some of them have a nice ruffled edge.
  7. Press the dough into the baking pan and try to get an even layer as possible. This is best done using a flat-bottomed measuring cup. It makes it easy to get an even thickness and to get into the baking pan' s corners.
  8.  Brush the dough with the remaining egg. Sprinkle over half of the pearl sugar, then the flaked almonds, and finish with the rest of the pearl sugar. Using your hands, very gently press the almonds into the dough.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until puffed and the almonds are golden.
  10. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack and then carefully cut into bars  using a sharp serrated knife while the dough is still warm. Then leave the cookies in the pan while they are still warm or they will fall apart.
  11. Once the cookies have cooled completely, re-cut them along the same cutting lines as before and carefully lift them out of the baking pan, one by one (this is best done using a small offset spatula or a cake lifter.
Zubereitung der Kekse
  1. In einer großen Schüssel das Mehl, Backpulver, Salz und Zimt mischen. Beiseite stellen.
  2. In einer anderen Schüssel die Butter, den hellbraunen Zucker und den Vanillezucker so lange rühren, bis die Masse schaumig ist.
  3. Das Buttergemisch zusammen mit einem halben Ei der Mehlmischung hinzufügen und dann so lange mischen bis man einen glatten Teig hat.
  4. Die Schüssel mit Frischhaltefolie abdecken und dann im Kühlschrank für etwa eine Stunde oder länger fest werden lassen (so lässt sich der Teig besser verarbeiten).
  5. Zum Backen den Ofen auf 180 Grad Celsius (355 Grad Fahrenheit) vorheizen.
  6. Den Teig in eine quadratische Backform oder eine Brownie Backform, die mit Backpapier auskleidet ist, geben (25 x 25 cm oder 10 inch x 10 inches). Persönlich bevorzuge ich eine französische Tarteform mit herausnehmbaren Boden – wenn man die fertigen Kekse aus der Form nimmt, dann haben einige von ihnen einen schönen gewellten Rand.
  7. Den Teig so ebenmäßig wie möglich in die Form drücken am besten mit dem flachen Boden eines Messbechers.
  8. Den Teig mit dem restlichen Ei bestreichen. Zuerst die Hälfte des Hagelzuckers, dann die Mandelblättchen, dann den restlichen Hagelzucker darüber streuen. Mit den Handflächen ganz vorsichtig den Hagelzucker und die Mandeln in den Teig drücken.
  9. In den vorgeheizten Backofen geben und für zirka 20 Minuten backen oder bis die Mandeln goldbraun sind.
  10. Aus dem Ofen nehmen, für ein paar Minuten auf einem Kuchenrost erkalten lassen, dann mit einem gezackten Messer sorgfältig in Streifen schneiden. Dann die Kekse in der Form lassen bis sie vollständig erkaltet sind, sonst brechen sie auseinander.
  11. Sobald die Kekse vollständig abgekühlt sind, erneut entlang der gleichen Schnittlinien schneiden und vorsichtig aus der Form nehmen, eins nach dem anderen (das klappt am besten mit einer kleinen Winkelpalette oder einem Tortenheber).



This cookie recipe is a very quick and easy recipe, and does not need anything too fancy to produce great cookies. A wonderful every day kind of treat.
Dieses Keksrezept ist schnell und einfach und man braucht sicherlich keine komplizierten Zutaten um wunderbar leckere Kekse zu backen.




The pictures for this post were taken in the beautiful "Faliezusterpark", Maastricht (NL) where you can visit the still remaining parts of the Maastricht city fortifications. In 1350 there was a small convent named "St. Catharina" established in this location. After a large fire, from 1647 until 1652 the convent was re-built in the Maastricht renaissance style. The adjoining church was torn down in 1865. Today, the former convent St. Catharina houses a gallery ("Galerie La Falie") that offers art exhibits and offers workshops.
Die Fotos für diesen Blogpost habe ich in dem schönen "Faliezusterpark", Maastricht (NL) aufgenommen. Dort kann man noch verbleibenden Teile der Stadtbefestigung Maastricht´s besichtigen besuchen. Um 1350 wurde hier ein kleines Nonnenkloster mit dem Namen „St. Catharina“ gegründet. Nach einem großen Brand wurde das Kloster 1647 bis 1652 in dem Maastrichter-Renaissance-Stil neu gebaut. Die angrenzende Kirche wurde 1865 abgerissen. Heute beherbergt das ehemalige Nonnenkloster St. Catharina eine Galerie ("Galerie La Falie"), in der Kunstausstellungen und Workshops angeboten werden.




Next to the former convent, you can visit the "The Helspoort" or "Hell's Gate", part of the original city wall, built after Henry I, Duke of Brabant, gave permission for its construction in April 1229. It is the only remaining city gate in Maastricht and the oldest one in the Netherlands. Today there is a small museum inside the gate.


For more information on the locations where the pictures were taken:

Formerly "Feilzusterklooster St. Catharina", Faliezusterpark 8-6-4, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

"Helpoort" or "Hell's Gate", Sint Bernardusstraat 24b, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Unweit des ehemaligen Klosters, kann man das sogenannte"Helpoort" besichtigen. Das ursprüngliche Stadttor wurde gebaut nachdem Henry I, Herzog von Brabant, im April 1229 die Erlaubnis für den Bau gab. Es ist das einzige verbleibende Stadttor in Maastricht und das älteste in den Niederlanden. Heute gibt es ein kleines Museum in dem Stadttor.


Weitere Informationen zu den Orten, wo die Bilder aufgenommen wurden:

Ehemals "Feilzusterklooster St. Catharina", Faliezusterpark 8-6-4, Maastricht, NL.

"Helpoort", Sint Bernardusstraat 24b,
Maastricht, NL






58 comments:

  1. It's so nice to have you blogging again, Andrea. Welcome back! In the meantime, your photos are as gorgeous as always.

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    1. Beth, thank you so much - it feels wonderful to be back but I will definitely take it one day at a time for a while so I get the chance to recover my strength. So glad that you like the pictures - I took them in one of my very favorite places - looking at these pictures makes me feel good.

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  2. Welcome back Andrea! I wish you a speedy and full recovery! These cookies look so tasty I will pin this recipe so I can make it in the future! I love your photographs beautiful colours and composition!

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    1. Maria, thank you for all your well-wishes, I truly appreciate them! If you get a chance to make these cookies, let me know how they turn out. They are easy to make and taste fabulous with a cup of coffee or tea or just on their own.

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  3. So happy to see you blogging again, welcome back. Those cookies look scrumptious, thank you for posting the recipe. This is
    definitely being bookmarked.

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    1. Nana, you are such a kind person - thank you so much for all your wonderful messages, they always made me feel better! What a fabulous feeling to be part of such a lovely blogging community!

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  4. Welcome back, Andrea! It is so good to be here reading your blog. Gorgeous photos, delicious looking cookies and absolutely lovely post!! So glad you’re back, my dear friend!!

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    1. Kathy, it makes my day to read that you enjoy this post, the pictures and the recipe. How nice of you and thank you very much for all your supporting and thoughtful comments during the last couple of weeks, they meant a lot to me!

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  5. And, she is back! I checked my pantry, and I have everything I need to make these! Woohoo! Will be making these very soon. So happy to hear you are back home and recovering. Don't overdo it now... ~Cathy

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    1. Cathleen, pantry-item-cookies, that´s what they should probably be called because they are so easy to put together with ingredients that we already have on hand but they are quite delicious as well. Thank you also for all your wonderful messages! And no, I will not overdo it, I have a "deal" with myself to really take it easy for a few weeks and I will.

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  6. So glad you are back, my friend. You have been in my thoughts and prayers constantly. Thee look lovely!

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    1. Monet, so glad that I am back with a new post, I felt it was time to start blogging again, albeit a bit more "low key" than last year. I definitely need a bit more time to regain my full strength but I am working on it. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers! I truly appreciate your kindness!

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  7. SO pleased to see you are back :) We missed you! xo

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    1. Mardi, merci beaucoup! So nice to hear from you!

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  8. Welcome back. I didn't know you were ill. I hope you recovered well.

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    1. Marion, hartstikke bedankt! I have recovered well and I am working on getting my energy level up so we can get started on our project as soon as possible - I am looking forward to it!

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  9. Welcome back Andrea! So sorry to hear you were hospitalized. Four weeks! Wow, that's a long time, I know it had to be tough! So glad you're back home and hopefully feeling much better. Love these cookies, they sound just amazing and your photos are gorgeous! I feel like I just took a wonderful trip :)

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    1. Chris, thank you! I hope you had a nice time in Great Britain with your lovely grand-children. It must have been wonderful to see them during the holidays. Yes, four weeks were rather long and felt like an eternity but things are looking up, albeit slowly.

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  10. Meine Guete, vier Wochen Krankenhaus! Sorgenvoll habe ich immer wieder auf den Blog geschaut. Liebe Andrea, ich wuensche ganz schnell und bald voellige Genesung! Der Anfang ist gemacht mit einem tollen Rezept und wunderschönen Fotos. Auch wenn es schwer faellt, einen Gang zurück schalten kann sicherlich nicht schaden. Pass gut auf dich auf!

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    1. Liebe Wally, ich muß zugeben, dass vier Wochen eine gefühlte Ewigkeit sein können und jetzt bin ich ziemlich glücklich wieder zu Hause zu sein. An Energie mangelt es nocch etwas, aber, wie du schon so richtig schreibst, einen Gang zurück schalten ist eine gute Idee. Ganz lieben Dank für deine herzlichen Genesungswünsche, ich habe mich sehr darüber gefreut! Und es freut mich natürlich sekr, dass dir das Rezept und die Fotos gefallen!

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  11. Hmmm... i like this !!! And your photos are really very nice !

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    1. Merci beaucoup! So glad you like the recipe as well as the pictures! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Oh, can I get your address to send a card? I did not know you were in the hospital, dear.
    So glad to see you back.
    Love. Xxxx

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    1. Kim, thank you very much! Whishing you much success with the Memorial Walk for Kim! I will leave a message on FB with my address.

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  13. Super excited to see you back in action, my dear Andrea! It's lovely to have you back safe and sound. These truly are wonderful cookies, simple but flavour packed and I love the sugar!
    Take care of yourself. Talk to you soon :)

    nazneen xx

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    1. Dear Nazneen, so good to be back on track...and yes, these cookies are easy, every-day-kind of cookies. The kind of recipe that I really enjoy, especially these days...I am looking forward to visiting your blog on the weekend. "See" you soon!

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  14. What gorgeous cookies and gorgeous photos! simply lovely:)
    Mary x

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    1. Mary, thank you kindly! This recipe is one of my favorite easy cookie recipes, and this is one of my very favorite places to visit these days - this blog post is meant as a real feel good kind of post.

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  15. These cookies are wonderful - and the cinnamon is so unexpected! I have some pearl sugar in the cabinet so I might make these this weekend.

    I am so glad you home and feeling better - you had us all so worried! Take good care - and thanks for this wonderful post. xo, David

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    1. David, nice to be back - really a wonderful feeling to be blogging a bit as well. It is kind of easy to get bored at the hospital...goodness, I am so thankful to be back home. And if you do get a chance to make this recipe, please let me know how the Jan Hagel turned out, the cinnamon is indeed a nice touch - the "Dutch" touch, lots of cookies from the Netherlands have cinnamon as an ingredient.

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  16. I am so sorry to hear that you were ill. Iti s good that you are back with your gorgeous work! Those are the best looking Jan Hagels I have ever seen! Brava!

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    1. Ah, what a lovely compliment, am enjoying the moment...thank you very much, dear Adri!
      Ti ringrazio tantissimo!!!

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  17. It looks great and I'm glad to see you blogging again Andrea! :) I hope you start feeling much better soon!

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    1. Arisuchan, thank you very much for welcoming me back!

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  18. Glad to hear you are back in action. These are great looking cookies!

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    1. Thank so much - these cookies are a nice every-day-treat, easy to put together, yet quite delicious.

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  19. Well this is certainly a pleasure, Andrea, leaving a comment on another one of your beautiful posts at last. The photography, as always, is special and like Chris, I enjoy my strolls through Europe with you. Those cookies do look like my kind of simple and since I am now in a big kitchen here in California for a few months, I think I will do some baking. These cookies will be a good start and I will let you know if and when I get them baked. Take your time with your recovery, Andrea. I know, I know, I've said that several times. Love that you're on the mend and back with us. Love to the girls.

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    1. Dear Mary, I must say that when I close my eyes am imagine for a while cooking in a big California kitchen (for a change) I get a whee bit jealous (in the nicest way possible, of course). I certainly would not mind a change of scenery these days - but Thomas and the kids are doing a great job with trying to help wherever they can. And I do not really get to do much, I am forced to rest most of the day as I am still struggling to get my energy level back...that will take some time still. So let´s take this one post at a time and if you ever get a chance to bake the Jan Hagels, I am sure you will enjoy them, they taste a bit like those famous Shortbread Cookies.
      Love from all of us and thank you so much for all yout wonderful messages!

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  20. Hi Andrea, great to see you back and with a recipe I can't wait to try. There is a very strong chance that it will take an unruly mob to part me from a single one of these gorgeous biscuits! The light in your photos is beautiful too.

    Maastricht looks really charming - I only know it from the treaty - I had no idea it was such an ancient town.

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    1. Hester, how nice of you to comment on the photos - these were the photos that I had been wanting to post for a few weeks now but did not get a chance to put them together before my absence. They were the first ones that came to my mind when I starting planning blogging again. So, yes, a bit of a feel-good-post of sorts to sooth the soul.
      Maastricht is one of the nicest and charming places I know - we love to visit and considering that it is only about 130 kilometers from where we live, we try to visit as often as our schedule allows.

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  21. It's so good to have to back dear! I really missed you!!! Aw these cookies look divine... So pretty with the Hagelzucker :)
    Have a wonderful sunday!
    xox Amy

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    1. Amy, dear, I am so relieved to be back home - I am working on getting back to my old self and I am grateful to be surrounded by wonderful blogging friends such as you, dear friend!
      Danke vielmals!

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  22. Just discovered your blog through Juliana @coloryourrecipes.
    Tolle Rezepte und Geschichten und wonderschoene Fotos.
    Looking forward to your next post!

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    1. Dear Daniel, thank you for visiiting my blog and taking the time to leave such a nice comment - I will hop over to your blog now! Das freut mich das dir die Rezepte, Geschichten und Fotos so gut gefallen! Lieben Dank für deinen Besuch!

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  23. Andrea, wonderful to have you back! Your cookies sound delicious and what a beautiful spot to photograph them. Wishing you all the best in your recovery!

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    1. Guyla, thank you for all your well wishes - I truly appreciate them - I must admit I am quite happy to be back and blogging!

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  24. What a beautiful, special cookie to commemorate your return to blogging. We were SO, so worried and I, one of many, am thrilled to see you posting again, Andrea. Take good care, my friend!!! xoxo

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    1. Liz, thank you so much - I appreciate your comment so much! It is nice to be blogging again and to get started with one of my favorite cookie recipes, photographed in one of my favorite locations: I am looking forward to participating in FFwD again (hopefully this coming Friday).

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  25. Welcome back, Andrea love! You were truly missed. It's so wonderful to have you back.
    These cookies look lovely. I don't have any pearl sugar, but will be stocking up this week. xoxo

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    1. Colette, thank you for welcoming me back! It feels good to be blogging aagin - even if I will slow down for a while. Although pearl sugar is widely available around here, I know it can be a bit more difficult to find in the US. But I found it online - good news.

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  26. Andrea, First time here and your jan-hagel-cookies looks wonderful! Have a great week ahead..

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    1. Thank you so much - glad you found my blog and enjoy this recipe!

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  27. I would absolutely love to make this

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    1. Candy, you should give this recipe a try - easy and delicious, it is perfect for any day of the week! Maybe you will get a chance to prepare it some day! Thank you for commenting!

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  28. I was honestly very worried about you. When I saw your husband posting a news about your illness, I was in shocked and couldn't believe it. Are you all recovered now? Please take good care. Really happy to see you back with this recipe!

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