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Hallongrottor: Thumbprint Cookies To Heal A Relationship

Relationships are tricky. Especially when they are made up of two vastly different people, with vastly different views, from vastly different walks of life. But sometimes, none of those things matters — not when you have an old Swedish cookie recipe to bring you two together.

Let me explain. In this case, one is a suburban-raised, red-as-they-come Republican homebody who hates travelling and loves little furry things with paws. The other is a globetrotting, blue-as-a-bluebell Democratic who hates animals and whose commitment issues won’t let her stay in one place for more than a year-and-a-half. As you can probably imagine, this combination is not exactly a match made in heaven. In the beginning, it led to fights about politics, ethics, and all-too-serious (for my taste) plans for the future. Not all smooth sailing.

But what about the recipe? Well, that’s where the solution comes in: cookies. Specifically, Swedish raspberry thumbprint cookies. These were the first cookies my partner ever learned to make after starting our baking business together. After setting up a stall at the local Swedish cultural centre’s flea market on a whim, we decided that, with my love of baking and his dream of starting his own business, we would take the plunge and create a bakery together. We called it Aina’s Swedish Bakery and decided to specialize in home-baked, Scandinavian treats. The first few weeks were perfect: a ton of orders from friends and family and a deal to supply a major Scandic store in the area. We were flying high.

Then September began, my student visa came, and the Inevitable London conversation came up once again. I was supposed to be going back to university for my third year… in London, next month. Again, not an ideal situation.

So we fought. We fought about my (lack of) commitment, his (lack of) support of my goals, about how much we each purported to care about each other and about what we were going to do about the business. It was not great.

But then we stopped fighting. He accepted that I had to go back, and I accepted that he didn’t want me to. He decided to support me regardless, and I decided to forgive him for not supporting me in the first place. I apologized for making him feel like a second option, and he apologized for holding me back from doing what I wanted. And then we made cookies.

We had a big order that week for the Scandic store — an order which included 6 boxes worth (or 72 individual pieces) of the hallongrottor. “Hallongrottor” is Swedish for raspberry thumbprint cookies, which are basically little caves of shortbread dough filled with a dollop of tart, sticky raspberry jam and then baked to golden-brown perfection. They’re absolutely gorgeous.

Anyway, that’s the reason I’ll always remember these cookies as patch-up cookies. We spent the night baking and laughing and it was like everything went back to normal. Because like the man says: sometimes all you need is a bit of sugar and spice for everything to turn out nice.


- 4.5 dl (235g) flour

- 1 dl (85g) sugar

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

- 200g butter

- 1 dl raspberry jam


- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 395 degrees Fahrenheit.

- Mix together all of the ingredients except for the butter in a bowl.

- Cut the butter into small pieces and crumble it into the mixture until it comes together into a dough.

- Refrigerate dough for 10-15 mins while you line a baking tray with mini cupcake liners.

- Take the dough out of the fridge and form it into small balls.

- Place a ball in each hole and use your thumb to make a dip in it. Fill dip with raspberry jam.

- Bake for around 10 minutes.


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