While London is being flooded with "Australian" Lamingtons this week, my thoughts have strayed to other Antipodean treats. We don't have a lot to call our own in New Zealand - the Pavlova, I had thought the lamington, though it looks as though i'm going to have to concede defeat there... and then there are these fantastic biscuits - the Afghan. They are a very simple cookie base made of flour, cocoa, sugar and wait for it....cornflakes, which gives them an ridiculously crunchy texture. They are then topped with chocolate icing and a half walnut. Always a walnut - though I had a friend who's mum used to sprinkle dessicated coconut on top of her afghan bisuits - in lieu of the walnut - this was also delicious - perhaps the perfect afghan-lamington hybrid?
These really are a handy biscuit to have in your repetoire as they are so easy to whip up. My version is a lot flatter a cookie that a lot of more traditional afghan biscuits which generally arent pushed down so flat pre-baking - leading to more of a biscuit mound than traditional cookie. Also, in place of chocolate icing I have set some melted chocolate disks in the fridge to place on top.
*Adapted from a long lost New Zealand Woman's Weekly recipe insert.
200 grams of softened unsalted butter1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine or bakers sugar in the US and sucre en poudre in France)
1 1/4 cup flour
Pinch of fine salt
1/3 cup good Dutch cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups cornflakes
200 grams chocolate - a cocoa % of your choice
Cream butter and sugar until pale and light and the grains of sugar are no longer visible.
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together then combine with the butter.
Take your cornflakes, and gently crush them a little to break up the pieces into smaller sizes - not everyone does this the same - many people prefer to leave most of them whole - they will naturally crush a little while mixing, so do whatever suits you.
Form balls of the dough - the size of a large walnut, and press down a little gently to flatten slightly.
Bake in the oven at 180 deg Celsius (356 F) for 10-15 minutes.
Take out of the oven and leave to cool.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over lightly simmering water. line a baking tray with baking paper.
Using a teaspoon, spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate onto the baking paper, and spread out into a thin circle with the back of the teaspoon. This side doesnt have to be perfect and smooth as it will be face down on the cookie later. Continue this so that you have 1 chocolate disk per cookie.
Set the chocolate in the fridge for 15 minutes. Retain left over melted chocolate for assembling.
Once the chocolate is hard, carefully peel them off the baking paper. Assemble by putting a little of the still melted chocolate onto the biscuit, acting as a kind of sweet cement, and place the chocolate disk ontop. Repeat to the top of the chocolate disk and place the halfed walnut on top.