Afghan Biscuits – Cookies by Request

20130608_213805I do try to listen to readers here. For those of you who like sorbet you can thank Sam Han for their more frequent appearance (or perhaps, that they appear at all) here, and anyone who forms a love for Afghans at the result of this post can thank Mika for her request in a previous cookie post. I should also thank her for inspiring me to consult an old tome I procured about a year ago, a 1970 book called Australian and New Zealand Complete Book of Cookery. Not so complete perhaps (no Afghan recipe), but I’ve found some interesting recipes for things like Apricot Gelato, Hazelnut Ice Cream, and Lemon Water Ice that predate ice cream machines and I can’t wait to try once study breaks for the semester.

Now, when it comes to Kiwi baking standards, a great place to start is Edmonds. In fact, when it came to baking as kids, a lot of us from a certain vintage and older started with Edmonds. A lot of their recipes have been tried and tested over generations, and are extremely reliable. I took the recipe from here, and if you like video instructions, Edmonds have this on their website, including a nice little idea for having broken bits of this cookie with banana and ice cream as a dessert.


Also, for those of you not used to making your cookies without leavening or eggs might need to take a bit of a leap of faith when making these cookies. Once you’ve creamed the butter and eggs, and are combining them with the cocoa powder and flour, the mixture is going to seem powdery, grainy and incapable of gaining any sort of cookie coherency. Persevere and you should end up with a mound of mixture that sort of forms a single solid mass. Don’t expect the sense of trepidation to ease once you start to add the cornflakes either. However, approach the final ball making process with warm hands and you should be able to form little cookie sized portions reasonably easily.


The final product is densely soft with cocoa flavour and perky with cornflake crunch. I left these ones out overnight for the icing to dry, and they were great the next morning. Depending on how you feel about dark chocolate, you might like to experiment with different kinds of chocolate for the icing. One of my favourite store bought examples of this biscuit uses milk chocolate on the icing, although I used 50% Whittakers here. Playing around with the way the sweetness of the icing offsets that celebration of the cocoa bitterness in the cookie will probably provide you with the most joy when you put your own little twist on this NZ staple.

So good with milk. Go now, cook merrily.

20 thoughts on “Afghan Biscuits – Cookies by Request

  1. Are these from Afghanistan? they look very tasty. I can imagine the chocolate fused with cornflake crunch…yummy! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Enjoy the coming week!

    1. When done well, these are really good. I’ve had my fair share of dry and powdery examples that have put me off this cookie over the years, but this batch turned out better than I expected.

  2. I’ve never eaten an Afghan (the biscuit; though I’ve never eaten any other kind of Afghan either) but these look delicious! Big cheer for tried and true NZ recipes. Have you ever made lolly cake? I tried it in Wellington and I was a little fascinated. Oh, and chocolate fish!!

    1. Lolly cake, now that takes me back, that’s another delicious treat (I really should look up a recipe for that as well, although there is another log recipe of a similar type that I want to blog as well, from the Kiwi Kitchen Series. My aunt used to make that a lot when her daughters and I were kids, I wonder if she makes it for her grandchildren now.

  3. My OH thought he’d died and gone to heaven when I bought him an Afghan in a wee coffee shop in Queenstown 🙂 Mmmm

  4. Serendipity. I was thinking of making Afghans yesterday after a conversation with my mum who lives in England now. But I couldn’t find any cornflakes and being a bit lazy, made Anzac biscuits instead. The first time I made Afghans was for a little Bulgarian boy who was visiting us in England. It was the first time I’d had to think about cooking for a child and realised I had no idea about the junior members of the species. I opted for pizza, (British) icecream and Afghans. The biccies were definitely the best part of the meal!

  5. Oh yay oh yay oh yay, I discovered these in our first couple of weeks in NZ and was so delighted with them, I was determined to make them once I got home. Thank you for recommending a recipe!

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