If there is any part of life in the kitchen that is guaranteed to trigger a wave of nostalgia, it has to be cooking or baking childhood sweets and treats. In our home, there was always a container of biscuits (US readers: I mean cookies) tucked away in the pantry for greedily snacking on after school. And who could say no to a crunchy, chocolatey, delicious New Zealand Afghan Biscuit? Not me!
What is an Afghan Biscuit?
A New Zealand Afghan Biscuit is one of our oldest national recipes, made famous by the beloved Edmonds Cookbook. It’s a cookie made from cocoa and cornflakes, topped with a rich chocolate frosting and half a walnut. The reasons for it being called an Afghan are hotly debated, though I rather like the idea that the rough texture is supposed to resemble an Afghan mountain range.
Why are Afghan biscuits so good?
The combination of a crunchy cookie base and the soft chocolate frosting is guaranteed to win many fans. For most Kiwis eating an Afghan biscuit is sure to bring back a raft of childhood memories. This is a treat that is so quick and easy to whip up in the kitchen, and much like many recipes of the period is actually very frugal, making use of common household ingredients.
New Zealand Afghan biscuits are simple to make, so a great way of entertaining kids at home. Butter and sugar are creamed together, then flour, cocoa and cornflakes are stirred through. Quickly baked, then topped with a simple homemade chocolate frosting, the hardest part is waiting for them to cool down enough to eat!
The original version of recipes like this one often made upwards of 20 tiny biscuits or cookies. Perhaps I’m just greedy, or maybe tastes have changed over the years, but I prefer to make 10 larger cookies. If you do want to bake smaller ones, simply roll the cookies out smaller and bake for 5 minutes less.
Looking For More New Zealand Recipes?
- New Zealand Peanut Brownies
- New Zealand Louise Cake
- Summer Berry Pavlova Slice
- Easy Mini Berry Pavlovas
- No-Churn Hokey Pokey Ice Cream (video)
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the biscuits:
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g (½ cup) sugar
- 150g (1 ¼ cups) plain flour
- 50g (¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 75g cornflakes (2 cups approx.)
for the icing:
- 250g powdered sugar
- 1 heaped Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 1 Tbsp softened butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 Tbsp hot water
- 10 walnut halves
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Sift over the flour, cocoa baking powder and sea salt, then run the mixture on low until evenly mixed through. At this stage the mixture will likely look very crumbly but don’t despair, it will come together.
- Stir through the cornflakes, then using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until it forms a soft dough.
- Roll the dough into 10 balls. They should be slightly larger than a golf ball in size, then place on the prepared tray.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. If the biscuits are still very domed when you take them out of the oven, flatten gently with a fork or the back of a spoon.
- Allow to cool on the tray for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- When the biscuits are completely cool, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar and cocoa. Beat in the butter, vanilla extract and hot water, adding extra water only in tiny little dribbles until you have a thick, spreadable frosting.
- Spread the icing thickly onto the top of each biscuit, then top with a walnut half.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I have a nut allergy. Can I still make Afghan Biscuits?
Sure, simply leave the walnut off at the end.
Can New Zealand Afghan Biscuits be made Gluten-Free?
To make gluten-free afghan biscuits you will need to sub out the cornflakes and the flour with gluten-free alternatives, you can then proceed as per the recipe.
Can I double or triple the recipe?
How do I store Afghan Biscuits?
I often have them on a covered cake stand, or you can store them in a single layer in a biscuit tin or container.
Why are they called biscuits? Aren’t they cookies?
Isn’t the English language confusing? In the Commonwealth countries, a cookie is a called a biscuit, while an American ‘biscuit’ is called a scone!