(Originally published, Aug-2015, then updated by Tania, May-2018)
Hi there! These fantastic biscuits are a Kiwi tradition and also a family favourite!
They have a softness to them, but also have a crispy texture as they contain cornflakes. Traditionally they are small with a sweet, soft chocolate icing but these BIG Cafe Style ones are covered in milk chocolate with a walnut half on top of each one (which is how you know at a glance that it’s an Afghan)!
300g / 10 ½ oz butter (at room temperature)
2/3 cup castor sugar (superfine)
2 cups standard flour (loosely packed, for a lighter biscuit)
1/3 cup good-quality cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups cornflakes
11 walnut halves
200g / 7 oz block, milk chocolate (or the same weight in chocolate buttons)
makes 11 large biscuits
STEP BY STEP
Preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F fan-bake oven or 175°C / 350°F conventional oven, on bake, with a rack situated in the centre of the oven.
The butter needs to be super soft for this recipe so if it isn’t at a warm room temperature cut it into small cubes and place it in the microwave on 50% / ½ power for 1 minute and then 30-second increments until it’s soft (you don’t want any melty bits though, this will make the dough too soft and sticky).
Not all older microwaves have the half power function so another thing you can do when you need soft butter for creaming is this…Cut it into small cubes and then place it on a plate. Next, fill a heatproof bowl with boiling water and then tip the water out straight away. Place the hot, upturned bowl over the butter and leave it there for say 5 minutes for a small amount of butter and 10 minutes for a larger amount, or simply until it reaches your desired softness (with a large amount of butter you may need to do it twice).
When the butter is nicely softened add it to a large bowl with the castor sugar.
Using an electric beater (or bench mixer) on medium/high speed, cream the butter and sugar together for around 3 minutes or until it’s light and fluffy and has paled in colour.
Scrape the bowl down and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Use the beater and mix it all together until it’s just combined.
Next, add the cornflakes and mix them in until just combined also.
Divide the dough into 11 x 75 g / 2 ½ oz pieces (it doesn’t have to be precise, just either side of that weight is fine)
- If you don’t own digital scales each biscuit is around 1/3 cup of dough.
- I like to weigh my biscuits so they are all the same size. It ensures that they are cooked at the same size rather than have some underbaked, some overbaked and some just right.
There will probably be a little bit of ‘cookie dough’ left that’s not enough for a whole biscuit so you can do one of two things…eat it…:) or simply divide it up and add it to the others.
Next, roll them into fairly smooth balls.
Line a tray with non-stick baking paper and lightly spray it all over with cooking spray.
Place the balls of dough on the tray (not in perfect rows, so the heat can move around them easily, cooking them more evenly).
Then flatten them down a little using a metal spatula or a fork.
Pop them in the oven and bake them for 30 minutes or until they are just firm to the touch in the centres.
Leave them on the tray for 10 minutes before using a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack.
If you melt the chocolate as soon as they go into the oven, by the time the biscuits have thoroughly cooled down, so has the chocolate and it’ll set quicker once on top.
To melt the chocolate, find a heatproof bowl that fits snuggly into the top of a small saucepan. Break up the chocolate and place the pieces (or, if using them, the buttons) in the bowl.
Fill 1/3 of the saucepan with water and then set the bowl on top again. Check that the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl and if it is, tip some out.
Remove the bowl again and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to medium/low or to where the water is simmering.
Place the bowl of chocolate back on the saucepan and stir often (especially the sides and bottom so it doesn’t stick and burn), until all the chocolate has melted.
Spoon some chocolate over each Afghan (I use the back of the spoon to spread it over) and then…
…place a walnut half in the centre of each biscuit before the chocolate sets.
Leave them until the chocolate has set before placing them in a container or cookie jar.
Keepin’ em fresh – Store the Afghans in an airtight container for up to a week.