Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Good Biscuit

When I was little there were a few go-to recipes that always seemed to pop up where my family was concerned. Things like Neenish Tarts, Louise Cake (which I didn’t like as a kid but love now), Banana Cake with Lemon Icing and… Afghans. Afghans are a truly good biscuit. Why? Because they have cornflakes in them and that is just plain cool. The flakes turn into little crunchy, chewy specks amongst the sweet cocoa-ey biscuit crumb. I love cocoa so these are right up my alley. And they are really easy to make. When it comes to this recipe, out of all the ingredients cornflakes will probably be the item you’re least likely to have in the cupboard. But it’s worth a trip to the corner store. I’ve never tried to substitute the cornflakes with other cereals, you could try but I don’t think any would work as well as the trusty little cornflake.

This recipe comes from the Edmonds ‘Sure to Rise’ Cookery Book, which is a staple in any good New Zealand home. If you grow up in New Zealand you know about this book – I think it’s probably the most famous cookbook New Zealand has. A few months ago I was talking to my sister who lives in Sydney and we got to laughing about how we were basically raised on Edmonds recipes. Every page we turned (we both have our own copies) featured one recipe or another that had been made sometime in our youth. And even in the 2008 edition that I have, the photos still have that classic 70’s or 80’s vibe - but you can’t fault the flavours. This biscuit is light, sweet, crumbly, crunchy and full of cocoa flavour. It’s a great one for kids to make too – just mix it all up in a bowl and squish in some cornflakes!

Thank you Edmonds for making sure generations of kiwis grow up with full pukus (tummies).

Afghans (from the Edmonds Cookery Book)

200g butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup ‘Edmonds’ Standard Plain Flour (or any plain flour you have in your cupboard)
¼ cup cocoa
2 cups cornflakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). This seems to be the go to temperature for all Edmonds recipes…if in doubt, go 180! Cream the butter and sugar until it turns pale yellow and goes all fluffy. Sift the flour and cocoa together then stir into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Fold, squish, smash or smoosh the cornflakes into the batter. Grab chunks of the dough, roughly about a tablespoon each, press together gently and place on a greased oven tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until they look ready (slightly raised, set, yummy). Cool on a rack – be gentle taking them from the tray while they’re hot as they can be quite crumbly. When completely cool ice with chocolate icing (which you can make by mixing a bowl of icing sugar with a big spoon of cocoa powder and a few teaspoons of boiling water – it’s seriously easy) and dot with a walnut or sprinkle with shredded coconut. Or sprinkles! Whatever takes your fancy.

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