Cookies: Matters of the Heart

In the spring of 2023, Botkyrka konsthall presented the exhibition Matters of the Heart – A Journey Through the Art Collection. The exhibition was a homage to the public art that we encounter in everyday life and a kaleidoscopic trip through different eras and artistic expressions, which shows how art can grow with and from a specific place. Matters of the Heart was often compared to a bag of sweets – containing one treat after another.

To celebrate the art and the many wonderful forms of expression, we wanted to invite everyone to a party filled with cookies, and so the exhibition expanded to include the Fittja Kitchen, spreading a warm and welcoming aroma. On opening day, hundreds cookies were baked: hallongrottor (thumbprint cookies), kolasnittar (Swedish toffee) and skurna chokladrutor (chocolate slices). The cookies activated people, awakened memories and were a great reflection of all the public art found in Botkyrka.

Hallongrottor (Raspberry caves) (makes 24)

Oven: 200°C,  10–15 minutes

Ingredients

450 ml plain flour
100 ml sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 g butter or margarine, room temperature
100 ml raspberry jam
small cupcake cases

Preparation

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Cut the butter or margarine into small cubes and add to the bowl. Mix until just combined. It’s important that the butter is softened in room temperature otherwise the dough will be crumbly.
  3. Divide the dough into 24 equal parts and roll into balls. Place each ball in a small paper cupcake case on your baking tray.
  4. Use your thumb to make an indent in the middle of each ball and fill it with jam.
  5. Bake the biscuits in the middle of the oven for 10–15 minutes.
  6. Allow the thumb-print biscuits to cool off before serving.

Tip: For pretty heart-shaped cookies like the ones we made for the opening of Matters of the Heart you can create your own cutters made out of modelling clay (baked in the oven to harden before use) or a piece of cardboard, foil, a wooden skewer and tape. Apply enough pressure with the cutter to get nice, bright-red hearts.

Swedish Toffee Biscuits   (makes 30–40)

Oven: 175°C, 10–15 minutes

Ingredients

100 g butter or margarine, room temperature
75 ml sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp syrup
300 ml plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preparation

  1. Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and syrup until creamy. Add the flour and the baking powder.
  2. Form the dough into 3–4 lengths about as wide as a finger and as long as the baking tray. Line the tray with baking paper and place the strips on it. Flatten them a bit with a fork or your hand.
  3. Bake in the middle of the oven at 175°C for about 14 minutes.
  4. Cut diagonally into shorter slices while still warm. Allow to cool before serving.

Märta’s Chocolate Slices  (makes 40–50)

Oven: 200°C,  ca. 15 minutes

Ingredients

125 ml sugar
250 ml plain flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
200 g butter or margarine, room temperature
1 egg or 50 ml oat-based cream (for vegan cookies)

Decoration

1 egg, lightly whisked, or 50 ml oat-based cream (for vegan cookies), and nib sugar.

Preparation

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients. Cut the butter or margarine into cubes and add to the flour mixture along with the egg or cream. Mix into a smooth batter.
  2. Divide the batter into 4–6 parts, shape into rolls and place on baking paper.
  3. Flatten the rolls a bit, brush them with whisked egg or oat-based cream and sprinkle with nib sugar.
  4. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes.
  5. Cut diagonally into about 2-centimetre-wide slices while still warm. Allow the biscuits to cool before serving.

A helping hand whilst baking for the exhibition Matters of the Heart – A Journey Through the Art Collection in March 2023.