Sunday, 28 September 2014

Alison’s Chocolate Crunchies (Afghan Biscuits)

If you were raised in New Zealand, odds are you are well acquainted with the Afghan Biscuit. I was wondering about the origins of the name recently so did a little research and made a couple of interesting findings. First, the idea of a chocolate biscuit containing cornflakes is actually something pretty unique to New Zealand, who knew? Secondly, the origin of the name is even more obscure – some suggest it may be because shape of the biscuits resembles the craggy mountains of Afghanistan (why Afghanistan, not the Southern Alps?), while others think it there may have been some resemblance to an Afghan turban…

Anyway, while I’m not really any the wiser on the origins, I am certain they’re delicious! This is my mother’s simplified method (there’s no creaming of the butter and sugar). If you’re really in a rush they can be enjoyed ‘as is’ but they’re really at their best iced and topped with a piece of walnut.

For 30-40 biscuits:
125g butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup (180g) self-raising flour
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa
1 1/2 cups (cornflakes

1/2 cup (75g) chocolate chips
2 Tbsp sour cream
30-40 walnut pieces or halves

Heat oven to 170°C (160°C fanbake), with the rack just below the middle. Line a two baking trays with baking paper or a Teflon liners.

In a pot big enough to hold the whole mixture, melt the butter until it is barely liquid, then remove from the heat. Add the sugar, vanilla and egg, and mix well with a fork. Measure the flour, cocoa and cornflakes on top of this and stir until evenly mixed.

Using two teaspoons, arrange 30-40 quite compact heaps of mixture on the prepared baking trays, leaving room for spreading. We like slightly mounded biscuits, but if you want larger, flatter biscuits flatten the unbaked biscuits gently using several fingers or the pad of your thumb.

Bake for 8-12 minutes until biscuits look evenly cooked but have not darkened round the edges. While biscuits are warm, lift them onto a cooling rack.

When biscuits have cooled, stir together the chocolate chips and sour cream, then heat gently until the chocolate has just melted (we microwave the mixture for about 30 seconds on High, stirring after about 15 seconds). Spoon about a teaspoon of the icing onto each biscuit and top each with a walnut piece or halves before the icing sets.

Leave in a cool place for icing to set, then store in an airtight container.

Photography: Simon Holst

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