Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kiwi cocoa crunches

April 19-20, 2014


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)

biscuits
150g margarine
110g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
185g plain flour
25g cocoa
60g cornflakes

icing
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.

10 comments:

  1. I love these - had them often as a child - and I have leftover cornflakes which had me thinking about them lately (actually I was sure they must have been Australian until I started blogging and found they were New Zealand's bikkies - not sure how my mum got the recipe)

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    1. Hi Johanna - I have this sneaking suspicion that the Oz Women's Weekly might have included the recipe in one of their books. That's where many of our family biscuit recipes came from!

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  2. I love cornflakes in biscuits. Never had a cocoa version though, looks interesting!

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    1. Hi leaf - yes, as a kid we ate more 'vanilla' cornflake cookies, usually with sultanas or currants in them.

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  3. I've never seen these before, but they look like something I'd really love. Can't go past chocolate and walnuts and icing! Not something I need at this time of year though - I've over indulged quite a bit lately, I'm afraid.

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    1. Hi Lentil Institution - save up the recipe for later, in that case. Or make a batch and share it around!

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  4. Yum!! I so happen to have all these ingredients in my kitchen. Love it when that happens. Awesome!

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    1. Nice one, Winston. Happy baking. :-)

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  5. Ooh Afghans remind me of my nan (in NZ, unsurprisingly!) as she'd always have a jar of them when we'd go visit. I've always meant to ask her for the recipe, and now I don't need to!

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    1. Hi Liz - I'm sure there are a few slight variations around, I'd be interested to know if these taste like your nan's. :-)

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