Change can be gentle and gradual like a breeze running over your face or harsh and heartfelt like a might wind that knocks you off your feet. Recently we have lots of change. My sister Fran has moved interstate, our friendly next door neighbours are moving house, I have moved into a new office, E started a new job and we have just bought a new car. It is not all bad but it is hard work keeping up and adjusting. This is change that requires the comfort of home made biscuits just like my mum used to make!
It is actually a couple of weeks since I made the Afghans but I could do with another batch of comfort right now. In fact I have felt shame faced that it has taken me so long to blog them. Perhaps it is due to our lack of cornflakes in the house. When I was a child I ate cornflakes regularly but I rarely do now that I have discovered so many other breakfast options. However cornflakes has recently become a staple item in our kitchen because Sylvia loves them for breakfast
With cornflakes in the cupboard and upheaval aplenty, Afghans were just what I needed. I baked them while Sylvia was in bed (albeit not sleeping). When I got her up, she found me pulling a tray of bikkies out of the oven. Mischief being her middle name, she had climbed up on a chair and sampled a hot bikkie before I could stop her. Needless to say she loved them.
Of all the biscuits my mum used to bake when I was little, Afghans were my favourite. I thought they must be Australian until I started blogging and read people say they were from New Zealand. So I asked my mum where she got the recipe and she said it was in a cookbook she got soon after she was married. (I don’t know where the name came from but it doesn’t seem to be from Afghanistan.) They were often in the cupboard and my mum still bakes them.
My greatest memory of making Afghans with my mum is mixing the cornflakes into the batter. No matter how many times I made them, I thought I would never mix all those cornflakes into that thick unyielding batter. They also seemed special because my mum put a drop of sherry into the chocolate icing and a walnut on top. I haven’t seen sherry added to other Afghan recipes around the web so maybe it is my mum’s innovation. Nothing like a pre-dinner sherry for a bit of inspiration!
Afghan biscuits never cease to delight. They are chocolatey, buttery and short with the crunch of cornflakes. The creamy sweet icing makes for a delightful contrast. You could get away without the walnuts but the icing is mandatory. It is necessary for the perfect combination of tastes and textures.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time one year ago: Recreating Pad Thai
This time two years ago: PPN #88 Roasted Asparagus, Tomato and Caper Pasta
from my mum
makes about 30 biscuits
6oz (187g) butter
1 oz (2-3 dessertspoons) cocoa
6oz (1¼ cups) self raising flour
3 oz (½ cup) brown sugar
2 oz (2 cups) cornflakes or wheeties
Cream butter and sugar. Add sifted cocoa and flour. Stir in cornflakes gradually. Spoon teaspoonfuls onto greased tray [you don’t need to flatten them but give them an inch or two to spread slightly]. Bake in moderate oven for 12-15 minutes. Ice with chocolate icing* and a walnut**.
* I don’t give amounts for icing above because I wrote the recipe as I had it in my notebook but if you are not sure you just need a cup or two of icing sugar, a good spoon of butter, one or two teaspoons of cocoa, a teaspoon of sherry and enough hot water (just a dribble or two) to make the mixture spreadable.
** Traditionally Afghans have half a walnut on top but I shelled some walnut that were in my fruit bowl and most were not perfect halves.
On the stereo:
Andre Zeiten (Brown edition) - Various Artists