Swedish “chocolate cuts” cookies — chokladsnittar

by | Jul 24, 2020

Chokladsnittar, or cut chocolate cookies, is one of the workhorse cookies that are part of the standard café selection.

And apparently, they are a pretty good option if we were to calculate the value of our household activities.

In 1968, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet published extracts from the book Lönar sig köpet? (“does the purchase pay off?”). After the normal advice such as “plan your purchases” and “don’t cook more food than you’ll need”, the authors reason that if we value our time, why not put an actual value on it? Baking gingerbread cookies for Christmas would (according to their calculations) only have generated a corresponding salary of 0,99 SEK per hour – making it far more valuable to work that time. Chokladsnittar, on the other hand, turned out to be far more worthwhile to make, racking up 10,76 SEK per hour.

As an amateur, I am happy that I don’t have to calculate the monetary value of baking. The idea of attaching a price tag to every waking minute saddens me immensely. So what, if it turns out to be cheaper to buy cookies than to make them myself? After all, the value is in enjoying the process. So, while chokladsnittar turned out to be good value-for-money to make, that’s not why to choose to bake them. Instead, the crispy edges, crunchy pearl sugar, and perfect texture make this a can’t-take-one treat.

Let’s take a look at this stop motion animation of how to make them:

When do chokladsnittar turn up in history?

If we look at similar cookies, the oldest I find is chokladringar in Mellerstedt’s bakery bible Svensk konditorbok from 1924. The dough has less butter and more egg than a normal chokladsnittar-dough. It is shaped into rings instead before it gets egg-washed and sprinkled with pearl sugar.

In 1939, Mera god mat—en fortsättning på Prinsessornas kokbok features a recipe of chocolate cookies, that are cut out with cookie shapes and also contain cooking chocolate. Otherwise, it is difficult to find chocolate cookie recipes in the cookbooks from the 20s and 30s. Then the 1946 edition of Stora kokboken features chokladbröd, or chocolate bread, that are very similar to today’s chokladsnittar, although they are cut out with round cookie shapes and are sprinkled with chopped almonds as well as the regular pearl sugar.

So, the name seems to be a bit more recent than the cookies themselves. I didn’t find them mentioned in Svenska Dagbladet until 1966 or Dagens Nyheter in 1953 when they make it into the bakery ads.

But let’s move on to more recent times. The recipes in today’s cookbooks are similar. In The Nordic Baking Book, Magnus Nilsson uses more cocoa powder than Konditori Vete-Katten and Sju sorters kakor, while Vete-Katten is less sweet than the other two recipes.

How to make chokladsnittar — Swedish chocolate cookies

This recipe is based on Märtas skurna chokladkakor—chokladsnittar from Sju sorters kakor. However, I have added more cocoa powder and vanilla. Makes 45-50 cookies

200 gr (7/8 cups) butter (room-temperature)
2,5 dl (1 cup) sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1 egg
5 dl (2 cups) flour
1 tsp baking powder

For sprinkling: an egg, pearl sugar

  1. Set the oven to 200°C (395°F). Prepare a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla powder.
  4. Add the egg and stir until smooth.
  5. Mix flour and baking powder together, then add them to the batter. Stir until it forms an even batter.
  6. Cut the batter in four and form long cookie logs on a lined baking tray. Flatten them slightly.
  7. Brush the logs with an egg that you have whisked lightly, then sprinkle with pearl sugar.
  8. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. The cookies won’t get much color but need to be baked through so they aren’t doughy (although they still will be tasty even if doughy).
  9. Once you take them out of the oven, immediately cut them with a sharp knife into individual cookies, about two centimeters wide (slightly less than 1 inch). Cutting them diagonally looks the prettiest.

Suggestions

You can substitute the pearl sugar with for example raw cane sugar, chopped nuts, or chopped chocolate. Or why not add some chopped dark chocolate into the batter?

2 Comments

  1. Julie Logue-Riordan

    I enjoyed learning about these cookies. It almost seems impossible that there was a time when there was no chocolate in baking. My mother’s family is from Norway and she told me she rarely had chocolate growing up.
    I make these and add really good chocolate chips to the recipe.

    Reply
    • Isabelle Fredborg

      Thank you, Julie! I know, it’s a bit crazy — today, chocolate is almost a staple, and it used to be so rare. That said, it does make an appearance in some recipes in the 17th century, too, so it’s not exactly new to us.

      Chocolate chips — that sounds like an excellent choice!

      Reply

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Hej och välkommen!

My name is Isabelle. Here at Swedish Spoon, you’ll find Swedish food history, tried-and-tested recipes, and a lot of obsessing over great butter. You can also expect some travel tips.

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