afghan biscuits (a NZ family favourite)

I have no idea where the name came from but Afghan cookies are a family favourite. Originating in NZ, they’re chocolate cookies with added crunch thanks to a few cups of cornflakes. Traditionally, a walnut or a pecan is placed on top of the icing but if the pantry is bare I resort to a sprinkling of desiccated coconut.

As you can probably tell from this post, I’m a big fan of sweet treats. I bake every week – lunchbox treats, cup-of-tea accompaniments and morsels of sweetness to proclaim my love. I’m also a big advocate for plates full of fresh veg, bowls full of broth and lunchboxes that are naturally coloured with fruit, crunchy veg and cheese, hummus and eggs.

In this day and age of wellness gurus and green smoothies I think we’re more anxious about food than we’ve ever been before. And it makes me feel really uneasy. I want my kids to grow up knowing that a homemade muffin is not guilt-ridden or that a chocolate cookie for afternoon tea is a special something to savour. I also want them to know what sugar tastes like so they can be mindful of having too much.

If you’re on a similar wavelength I’m sure you’ll find much to love in this recent article by Rohan Anderson.

But back to the cookies! This recipe comes from a very stained page in a very old edition of the Edmond’s Cookery Book (it’s a NZ icon, first published in 1908).


200g butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1¼ cups plain flour

¼ cup cocoa

2 cups cornflakes

24 walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour and cocoa. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in cornflakes.

3. Spoon mounds of mixture onto the tray, gently pressing together.

4. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. When cold ice with chocolate icing (I melt chocolate pieces with a little butter) and decorate with a walnut.

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  • Johanna

    Hi Jodi, I love your thoughts about sweet treats being a special and delightful part of life and a balanced diet. Thanks so much for putting them in such beautiful words.
    All the best from Germany – Johanna

  • Lois Stiegemeier

    Jodi. I enjoy reading your blogs. I can’t wait to try this recipe It’s so fun when you share recipes. I live in the US and feel the same way you do about food. Two of my three children are married and my third is in college, but I always felt you can teach good eating habits without freaking out about desserts. Life is too short not to enjoy a good homemade treat. My motto is moderation. Thank you for sharing this.

  • clémence

    I’ll surely be baking these! I’m a sweet tooth mama too, and love building kitchen memories with my boys… I feel uneasy too with all these something-free diets… is life really about control?!

  • Lisa

    Afghans we love them here in Gateshead (England) baked by our very own kiwi, one is never enough! You should try Anzacs from the Edmonds cook book, delicious. X

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