One of the focal points in Sugar, Sugar at Brenda May Gallery is the installation Goosebump, the 7-metre wall covered with over 300 pfeffernüsse biscuits. It took the Brisbane-based artist Elizabeth Willing over a day and a half to create the entire installation and visitors were invited to bite the cookies from the wall starting on opening night. The majority of the biscuits in the middle of the wall have been eaten away causing visitors to now crouch down on the floor to get the lower ones or to solicit the help of their friends to reach the cookies at the top. Willing calls the resulting pattern “the mapping of eating” which produces “a graph-like pattern of peoples head heights.” Of the work, Willing states “I have had a longstanding reliance on using the gallery wall as a canvass for my materials, it gives them structure and accentuated the ephemeral nature of my installations, there is no way I can save this work once the exhibition is over, it has to be eaten or scraped off.”

willing_goosebumpElizabeth Willing, Goosebump, 2010-2013
pfeffernüsse biscuits, royal icing, dimensions variable

The biscuit used to create Goosebump, pfeffernüsse, originated in the Netherlands. It is a small round cookie made with spices typically enjoyed around the holidays. Sugar, Sugar will be on view until 19 October at Brenda May Gallery in Sydney. You will have the opportunity to bite a cookie off the wall until around 5pm on Saturday.




Yield: 12 cookies

80 milliters molasses
40 milliters honey
35 grams shortening
35 grams butter
1 egg
2 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup icing sugar

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together the molasses, honey, shortening and butter. Continue to stir until creamy (a couple of minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool until about room temperature and then add the egg – mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix well and then begin to incorporate the wet mixture from the saucepan. Mix throughly and once combined, transfer to the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Set the oven temperature to 165 degrees celsius. Remove the batter from the fridge and roll out the dough into small balls around the size of an acorn. Arrange on a baking sheet with a space of about 2.5 centimetres between each cookie. Slide the cookies into the preheated oven and bake for ten to fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Dust with the icing sugar once cool.