Afghan biscuit on a plate
An Afghan biscuit is a traditional New Zealand biscuit made from cocoa powder, butter, flour and cornflakes, topped with chocolate icing and a nut. Like any decent thing that comes from New Zealand, we Australian’s like to claim it (you can have Russel Crowe back now).

Afghan biscuits with a jug of icing and plate of almond slivers

Invented in the 1940’s the actual reason why it’s called an Afghan biscuit is debated, with no reliable sources one way or another.

Afghan biscuits waiting for their icing to dry on a rack

I personally like the theory that they were invented by a New Zealand woman to send to her beau posted in Afghanistan during the second World War. Like the ANZAC biscuit,  invented to send to soldiers in WW1, the recipe contains no eggs and for this reason is suitable for posting overseas.

Now, pay attention my lovely US blogger friends and readers: like the ANZAC biscuit this recipe comes with a warning. DO NOT use shredded coconut instead of desiccated (dried) coconut. Notes on where to get it or make it in the recipe below. When I tried to make ANZAC biscuits with shredded coconut I ended up with a gooey (yet tasty) mess on my tray, and see no reason why you wouldn’t end up with something with Afghans.

Afghan biscuits on a rack

Enjoy. Post overseas. Eat as they are.  It’s all good.

200 grams butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup lightly crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup desiccated coconut*

1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons water


  1. Preheat over to 180C and line trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Using an electric beater cream butter and sugar, add vanilla essence
  3. Add flour, cocoa and coconut until combined.
  4. Add cornflakes on low speed and mix until just combined.
  5. Roll dough into balls and place onto prepared trays.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  7. To make icing, combine all ingredients and mix well (i.e. when there are no more lumps).
  8. Allow biscuits to cool before icing and topping with flaked almond or walnut.

Quantity: Makes 24

Healthy? 144 calories a cookie

Gluten free? No, but I think would work OK with rice flour.

Storage: As they have no eggs, these are great for storing and making ahead. Store in airtight container.

* Warning: The type of coconut you buy in American supermarkets is not desiccated coconut. American supermarket coconut is very moist, dessicated is dried (which is what you get in Australia and the UK.  American’s can buy dessicated coconut from healthfood stores, or make dry coconut via this method.


31 comments on “Afghan biscuits”

  1. Looks like the perfect chocolatey bite or two. Love the glaze on the top. So good. Have a great weekend Aimee. So glad Clever Muffin is back in action. I don’t want Russell Crowe. I think you’d better keep him.

  2. I love these and used to make them all the time when I lived in NZ , but as well as the wrong coconut, the cornflakes taste funny in the US too.. oh and by the way.. Russell was born in NZ but is determined to be an aussie, so you can Keep HIm!! (had to laugh tho) .. c

  3. Nice to have you back Aimee.. how did your work go?? These look awesome.. I would have emailed them to my son.. but he’s back home now. Well, then I’ll just make them and he can have them tonight;)

  4. Thanks for the warning about the coconut – I would be one of those peeps who got the wrong kind. 🙂 These look right up my alley, though, with all those tasty ingredients…

  5. Welcome back! Even though I’m a little late in saying it! 🙂 These are awesome looking! And thanks for the note about the coconut… I didn’t know there were different types.

  6. Yay! She’s back 🙂 I HAVE to try these- I love everything in them and I am intrigued….I just have to figure out the right coconut and corn flakes to use…can I post my version if I try it? (credit to you for the recipe of course 😉 )

  7. We make these all the time gluten free. I make my own GF flour and just substitute. Also we ditch the coconut in ours. Just make sure the cornflakes are also GF. Jodie

  8. Great chocolate biscuit. I didn’t ice them personally as I used crunchy nut cornflakes they picked up extra sweetness and nut from them but the feedback was all positive. Will definitely make again, thanks!

  9. YUMMY! I followed the recipe exactly but had no cornflakes so substituted 1 cup of weet bix turned out delish! mine looked just like yours – I was so pleased and happy little faces and tummys here. Thank you 😀

Comments are lovely