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a day of afghani activity

April 13, 2012

I made afghan biscuits today for my new Canadian friends.

An Afghan biscuit is a traditional New Zealand biscuit made from cocoa powder, butter, flour and cornflakes, topped with chocolate icing and a walnut. The origin of the recipe and the derivation of the name are unknown, but the recipe has appeared in many editions of the influential New Zealand Edmonds Cookery Book.


Edmonds Cookery Book, after much deliberation, was the chosen recipe book that made it into the suitcase.

So no one really knows why they are called Afghans, but I heard somewhere that they represent the Afghanistan camel drivers who drove camels in the aptly named Ghan, central Australia, during the early 20th Century. They say the cookie base is the tanned body, the chocolate icing the dark hair, and the walnut the turban.

Coincidentally, I crocheted afghan squares today too! In fact, I have been all week, and I will be for a long while longer.

An afghan is a blanket, wrap, or shawl of colored yarn. It is knitted or crocheted, often in geometric shapes. It can also be referred to as a “throw”. Afghans were first made in Afghanistan and commonly featured geometric designs with many holes in the pattern. They are hand-stitched or knitted. In North American craft tradition, afghans are draped over sofas or large chairs for decoration.

To add to this, Host-Mom’s daughter is currently living in Afghanistan! Naturally she was pretty intrigued by this afghan business. We even marched down to IGA (like a small supermarket) together to get ourselves a ginormous box of cornflakes (seriously, it’s much wider than it looks in the photo!) so I could make these New Zealand delights. I think J will be having cornflakes for breakfast the next few weeks.

Afghan Bicuits
Edmonds Cookery Book
Makes 24 -26

Biscuits
200g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups Edmonds, standard plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups cornflakes
Chocolate Icing (see below)
walnuts, optional

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour and cocoa.

2. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in cornflakes.

3. Spoon small mounds of mixture onto a greased oven tray and flatten slightly

4. Bake at 180˚C for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and firm.

5. When cold ice with chocolate icing and decorate with a walnut piece.

Chocolate Icing
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon butter, softened
2 Tablespoons hot water, approximately
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add butter. Add sufficient water to mix to a spreadable consistency. Flavour with vanilla essence.

And share with some non-New Zealanders :)

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse Bartlett permalink
    April 13, 2012 5:28 pm

    I just had 2.. Couldn’t help myself 8|

  2. April 14, 2012 6:06 pm

    Yum!

  3. April 15, 2012 4:13 pm

    Love the thematic nature of this post. :) Your afghans (the edible ones) look amazing! The afghan squares are very attractive as well. I think I just might have to pick up a copy of this Edmonds Cookery Book you speak of while we are here!

    • April 15, 2012 9:26 pm

      Oh, totally do! It’s one of those stand by recipe books that many New Zealanders have in their recipe book collection for life with a recipe for ANYTHING. Well, almost :P

  4. April 16, 2012 5:52 pm

    It was so nice having you visit! And what a lovely treat you brought. I love the story behind the name- very cool! I must say I was confused by the name initially, especially when you mentioned that they are from NZ and I assumed they were a recipe from your hosts (Afghan connection)! Haha I had a good laugh.
    I’m loving your blog, and knew you enjoyed cooking, but I now see you really do! How I wish you could stay longer and we could bake and cook together, swapping recipes! I would love it!
    Hope you are on the mend soon. H&M calls before Spain!

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