Food Without Morals

April 5, 2010

Jan Hagel

Filed under: Dessert,Food — by Katie @ 3:44 pm

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on spring break (SPRING BREAK WOOOOO). I went to my parents’ house for a few days, my house in Quincy flooded, then it dried up, then I went back home, then I went to visit my aunt up in New Hampshire, and that is where this was baked. I realized a few months ago that you can take the girl out of New England, but you will drag the New England out of this girl’s cold, frostbitten, wet fingers (I am trying to be realistic here).

But seriously, the weather that later half of the week was beautiful. So I locked myself indoors (the sun! it burns my pale, pasty skin!) and made Jan Hagel.

This recipe comes from some woman who graduated Guilford College in 1974. I know this, because I got the recipe out of a cookbook my aunt had, titled “‘Of Loving Kindness and Good Will: A Cookbook By and For Residents of Mary M. Hobbs Hall, Guilford College”. For the purpose of explanation, my mom, aunt, two of my grandmothers, and my brother all went to Guilford College. My grandma graduated in Marrying Your Roommate’s Brother, I think. I don’t really know what majors they had in the 40s, clearly.

Anyways, Jan Hagel is something that seems like it should not work, and while you are putting it together you hope that nobody comes home before it is out of the oven just in case it suck and you have to throw it out. And then, it looks okay! And the next morning, it was gone.

First, put on an apron, so that when Bobby comes by later to pick you up for the Sock Hop you don’t have flour all down your front. Then, dump one and a quarter cups of flour into a bowl.

Add half a cup of sugar to your flour.

Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon. And I added mace, because what the crap IS that? and also some nutmeg, because, well, look:

Nutmeg. The noblest and most hallucinogenic of all the spices.

Cut up half a cup (one stick of America Butter) of COLD butter into cubes, and add it to the bowl. You don’t necessarily have to cut it up into cubes, but it makes the next step easier.

Cut the butter into the flour until it looks like floury peas. I used a pastry cutter, but I have used my fingers, and I have heard that you can use two knives, but I don’t even know what that means, to be honest.

Separate an egg, save the white, and add the yolk to the bowl. Ignore the fact that this egg has a bloody spot. Don’t even think the word “fertilization,” and DEFINITELY don’t think “zygote.” And TOTALLY DO NOT call that phone number in the background. It’s probably my grandma’s doctor.

Cut the yolk into the flour. It won’t look wet, it’ll still look DRY. Resist the urge to add some liquid.

Press the mixture into a greased 9×13 inch pan. AAAAHHHH, THE SUN, MY ANGLO-SAXON ORIGINS CAN’T TAKE IT

Good, it went behind a cloud. Lightly beat the reserved egg white (just until the proteins are somewhat broken up and it’s a little foamy); brush it on the pastry. Use all of the white, the pastry should be totally covered with white.

Sprinkle with a quarter cup of sugar. If desired, also sprinkle on 1/4 cup of sliced unblanched almonds. I didn’t have any, so I went without. Pop into a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.

Seriously, folks, GONE the next morning. I normally bring back about half of the baked goods I make home with me when I leave my aunt’s house, and there were three left in the tray. I stole one away with me when I left the house.

Jan Hagel
Kathy Buckland Heer, Guilford College class of ’74
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. cold sweet butter or margarine
1 egg, separated
1/2 c sliced unblanched almonds (optional)

In bowl combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon. Cut butter into small pieces. Work mixture with fingertips or pastry cutter until small crumbs form.
Add egg yolk and work in until well blended; press dough evenly into well-greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
Brush with slightly beaten egg white; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the almonds, pressing them slightly into the dough.
Bake in preheated 350 oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars.

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