Sunday, November 27, 2016

Classic treats - Mrs Cake's Afghan biscuits

I don't usually buy cornflakes, but a while ago I needed some to eat for medical purposes (don't ask). They come in an enormous box, so I had lots left over. So naturally,  my mind turned to Afghans, or as they're now known, Afghan biscuits - although I don't think there was ever anything genuinely Afghan about them...
        Edmonds does, of course, have a recipe, but when I had a look at my online stash, I found a more interesting one by Mrs Cake. I followed the biscuit part exactly, except that when I went to soften the butter in a warm oven, ready for creaming (which I lazily do in the food processor), I left it too long and it melted. I wasn't going to waste all that butter, so I went ahead anyway. The good news is that it didn't seem to make any difference at all - the texture was perfect.
        The icing had to be adapted a bit because I didn't have enough icing sugar, I don't like ti too sweet, and (IMHO) it has to contain real chocolate. So I cut the quantities back by two-thirds, and added about six little blocks of Whittaker's Dark Ghana, plus a dash of vanilla. That provided more than enough icing for the 15 smallish biscuits I made.

Afghan biscuits 
from Mrs Cake, 27 November 2011,
(makes 15 smallish ones or 12 a bit bigger)

180g butter, room temperature (but see my note about melted butter above!)
½ cup/100g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence or extract
½ cups/180g flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
2 cups/60g cornflakes

2 Tbsp water
30g butter
30g caster sugar
1 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
6 squares Whittaker's Dark Ghana chocolate
walnut halves or coffee beans

- Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. 
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (Processing it works fine.)
- Mix in the vanilla, then sift in dry ingredients and mix together. (You can process it all again gently until mixed.)
- Use your hands to crumble the cornflakes into the mixture so they are in smaller pieces, then mix in with your hands.
- Form into balls, place on baking sheet and flatten (either with the palm of your hand or with a fork). - Bake for 12-14 minutes. (Mine took 15 minutes, on fan bake at 170C.)\ Put on a rack, on their paper, to cool.

- While the biscuits are cooking, mix together the water, extra butter and caster sugar in a small saucepan. 
- Heat until butter is melted, then simmer for a minute to form a syrup. Add vanilla.
- Melt chocolate into the syrup over a low temperature, mixing well.
- Add the icing sugar and cocoa, and whisk or stir very thoroughly to combine. 

When the biscuits have cooled, crown each one with a dollop of icing (it should sort of pool on top - if you need to warm it slightly, either heat it again very gently in its saucepan, or give it 10 seconds in the microwave). 

Press a walnut half or 2-3 coffee beans into each one.  I think these go extremely well with a cup of spicy Chai tea.


Rosa Slack said...

They look beautiful, Anne, you have inspired me, I'm going to make a batch of these this week with my little helpers. I predict that adding the cornflakes will be a popular part of the process. ;-)

AnneE said...

Have fun! I really love Afghans, but I'm very good at making them last by having one a day - except on a bad day of course...