I brought a few leftovers home from the field, including several boxes of cereal. I wasn't all that excited about finishing the plain cornflakes for breakfast, but damn near thrilled when the internet reminded me that they're a key ingredient in Afghan biscuits.
Apparently these are a New Zealand specialty, and their name has hazy (but very probably racist) origins, so I'm rechristening them Kiwi cocoa crunches. The chocolate-coloured, cornflake-studded biscuits bake crisp and dry, then soften just a little under a spoonful of icing. A walnut on top adds a much-needed touch of bitterness. It turns out they're super-easy to veganise - simply swap butter for margarine.
The biscuit dough was crumbly and one biscuit disintegrated on the tray, but the rest held their own and have proven to be quite robust over subsequent days. I don't remember such visible cornflakes in the batches I've eaten in other homes - perhaps the cornflakes are more often crushed? The recipe made much more icing than I could fit across the batch, and I've reduced the quantities accordingly below.
I've only had fleeting contact with these biscuits over the years and I'm regretting that I didn't get to know them sooner - they're like crispy brother of the brownie.
Kiwi cocoa crunches
(adapted slightly from a recipe on SBS Food)
110g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
185g plain flour
80g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon water
walnut pieces, to decorate
Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with paper.
In a large bowl, use a fork to beat together the margarine, sugar and salt. Sift in the flour and cocoa, stirring to combine. Stir in the cornflakes and mix thoroughly.
Scoop out tablespoons of the biscuit mixture, roll the into balls and flatten them a little, arranging them on the tray - they'll spread a teensy bit while baking, but not much. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a crust forms on the outside of the cookies. Set them aside to cool.
Make the icing by sifting together the icing sugar, cornflour and cocoa. Whisk in the water to form a smooth icing, adding more water just a teaspoon at a time if needed.
Spoon teaspoonfuls of the icing on top of the cookies and set the walnuts into it. Give the icing a while to set at room temperature before serving the cookies.
Store them in an airtight container if they don't get eaten immediately.