Edmonds Afghan biscuits (classic New Zealand recipe)


It’s a strange word isn’t it? 

For those of you who live anywhere other than Queensland, Australia, it’s what we call our bathing suits or swimmers. 

Yes we’re a strange lot we Queenslanders. 

I have no idea where the word came from. 

It’s not like it gives you even the tiniest hint of what it means.

It turns out we’re not the only ones who name things and then can’t remember why we named them what we did. 

My Kiwi friend once sent me a recipe that she said I had to try – Afghans, a biscuit that the Kiwis (New Zealanders) claim as one of their national foods, or so I’ve heard.

Edmonds Afghan biscuits (classic New Zealand recipe)

What are Afghan biscuits

Afghan biscuits (or Afghan cookies if you’re in the USA) are chocolate cookies made with crunchy cornflakes and topped with a basic chocolate icing and a walnut or pecan. 

They’re traditional cookies in New Zealand and the original recipe (as far as I can glean) comes from the Edmonds Cookbook. 

Why are they called Afghans

According to a bit of Googling, the name has nothing to do with Afghanistan but it more related to the dark colour of the biscuits. 

Apparently no one actually knows for sure the true origin of the name. 

Whatever the origin, they’re a Kiwi favourite and I can see why. 

Why make Afghan cookies

  • They’re easy to make
  • They’re made with simple, inexpensive ingredients
  • They’re delicious

This Afghan biscuits recipe comes from New Zealand’s most popular and one of its oldest, recipe books – Edmond’s Cookery book. 

The book was so popular that for a few years after its release, engaged couples were sent a copy of the book for free because no wife should be without one. 

I wish that was still the go. 

I am one quarter Kiwi so I think that would have entitled me to one back in the day.

I had to adapt the recipe just slightly but the end result was fantastic. 

I think they’re even pretty enough to serve to guests. 

The ingredients

What are Afghan biscuits made of

To make this Afghan biscuit recipe you will need: 


  • Butter – chopped and softened to room temperature
  • Caster sugar – also called superfine sugar
  • Plain flour – also called all purpose flour or wheat flour (we’ve also made these with spelt flour)
  • Cocoa
  • Milk – preferably full fat
  • Cornflakes – crunchy cornflakes are one of the essential ingredients so don’t be tempted to substitute


  • Chocolate
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Whole walnuts or pecans – or your other choice of topping

How to make Afghan cookies

Butter and sugar

These are super simple to whip together. 

Yep you guessed it – cream butter and sugar together until they’re nice and smooth.

Flour, cocoa and milk

Take the bowl off the stand and sift in the dry ingredients (minus the cornflakes) into the butter mixture then stir them through. 

This is where I improvised a little. 

The dough seemed way too dry to be able to have cornflakes mixed into it so I also added two tablespoons of milk. 

The end result tasted fantastic so I don’t think I did any damage. 

Maybe New Zealand flour isn’t as dry as Aussie flour?


Tip in the cornflakes and stir them through. 

Don’t worry if you crush most of them, it’s pretty hard to be delicate at this stage. 

Just keep stirring/mashing it around until it looks fairly even.

You can make the dough start to finish in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or hand mixer rather than using a wooden spoon.

Ready for baking

Using a heaped teaspoon of dough, roll it into balls and place them on a parchment paper lined oven trays (you’ll need two). 

Squish them down until they’re all about 2cm thick. 

Bake the biscuits at 180C fan-forced for 15-20 minutes or until they are set.

Chocolate, butter and cream

While the biscuits are baking, make the icing.

You can throw it all together in the microwave but it’s far less risky to melt the chocolate 15 seconds at a time and then add the butter and cream.

Mmm chocolatey goodness

Stir it all together and set it aside.


When the biscuits are cooked, leave them on the tray to set for five minutes.

How do you know when Afghan cookies are ready

When they’re cooked they’ll be slightly firm to touch and the cornflakes will have turned ever more golden. 


Then it’s over to the wire rack to cool completely.

They don’t take very long at all.


Top each one with a blob of icing.

You might need to give the icing a zap in the microwave every few biscuits as it hardens up pretty quickly.

Pecan topping

Add the finishing touch – a pecan to the top of each one. 

The recipe actually calls for walnut but they weren’t to my standards. 

Can you use a different type of cereal

Potentially this recipe would probably work with something like Special K or another flaked cereal, but cornflakes give the most authentic Afghan chocolate biscuits. 

Can you top them with anything other than pecans

Look I’m not sure you can still call them Afghan cookies but you can really top them with whatever you like. 

For an authentic swap you can use a half walnut on each cookie instead of pecans. 

Alternatively you could use:

  • Marshmallows
  • White chocolate buttons

Serve them up with a cup of tea or keep them in an airtight container. 

The first time I made them the last of them were still good a week later. 

Happy Baking!

What about you? 

Do you have any strange names for things? 

Can you remember where the name came from?

Afghans - New Zealand's famous biscuits

Afghans - New Zealand's famous biscuits

Yield: 30



  • 200g (7oz) butter, chopped and softened
  • 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups plain AP flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 cups cornflakes


  • 200g (7oz) chocolate
  • 25g (2tbsp) butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • whole walnuts or pecans to top the biscuits


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C(356F) fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  3. Take the bowl off the stand and sift in the flour and cocoa. Add the milk and stir it all together.
  4. Tip in the corn flakes and fold them through.
  5. Using a heaped teaspoon of dough at a time, roll it into balls and place on the lined trays and press them down until they are 2cm thick.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are set.
  7. Meanwhile make the icing by melting the chocolate in the microwave. Add the butter and cream and stir them all together until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Leave the baked biscuits on the tray to set for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Once cool, place a blob of icing on top of each one and top them with a walnut or pecan.
  10. I'm not sure how long they keep but mine were still perfect a week later (kept in an air-tight container).

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