Afghan biscuits

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. Evelyn
    13 April 2012 at 9:05 pm (6 years ago)

    Looks delicious! 144 calories a cookie though 🙁

  2. thedrivencook
    14 April 2012 at 1:57 am (6 years ago)

    Cute! I like the icing and almond on top!

  3. the Jilb
    14 April 2012 at 2:36 am (6 years ago)

    Yum! These look great.

  4. Geni - Sweet and Crumby
    14 April 2012 at 5:44 am (6 years ago)

    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.

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      14 April 2012 at 11:35 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks Geni, very happy to be back and thinking and reading about food so much again! Maybe we should give Russel to Afghanistan in honour of this post (ooo…to far? ;))

  5. frugalfeeding
    14 April 2012 at 6:30 am (6 years ago)

    Well… I didn’t expect these. Nice little lesson too. They sound awesome, Aimee.

  6. ceciliag
    14 April 2012 at 7:23 am (6 years ago)

    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

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      14 April 2012 at 9:50 am (6 years ago)

      I was thinking about you Celi, knowing you’re a NZ girl. I thought you would of made them. Total shame about the corn flakes in the US though!

  7. Just A Smidgen
    14 April 2012 at 1:18 pm (6 years ago)

    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;)

  8. Kristy
    15 April 2012 at 12:41 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh I had forgotten about ANZAC biscuits! We made those a while back. The Afghan biscuits look wonderful too. 🙂

  9. Ragamuffin Diaries
    16 April 2012 at 8:45 am (6 years ago)

    Yum! The frosting really makes them look over-the-top delicious.

  10. Courtney
    16 April 2012 at 12:34 pm (6 years ago)

    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…

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      16 April 2012 at 1:27 pm (6 years ago)

      Courtney I am one of those peeps! I only know from experience what happens when you buy the wrong one 🙂

  11. Stefanie
    19 April 2012 at 4:20 am (6 years ago)

    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.

  12. Amy
    21 April 2012 at 12:58 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve never heard of these before but holy cow they sound amazing! I’m totally gonna make these!

  13. easybaked
    23 April 2012 at 2:13 am (6 years ago)

    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 😉 )

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      23 April 2012 at 7:22 am (6 years ago)

      Of course you should post them!! Just make sure you get the coconut nice and dry if you make if yourself, and any old cornflakes should do. 🙂

      • easybaked
        23 April 2012 at 11:22 am (6 years ago)

        Thanks! So excited to try these 🙂

  14. Sarah
    24 April 2012 at 9:56 am (6 years ago)

    i so want to try these!!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      28 April 2012 at 9:24 am (6 years ago)

      Yay!! An absolutely beautiful post you’ve done 🙂 the cookies look amazing. Everyone should hop over and check ’em out! I’m always jealous of your mad keen photo skills xx

  15. Jodie
    4 October 2014 at 3:29 pm (3 years ago)

    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

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      4 October 2014 at 4:19 pm (3 years ago)

      Nice – do you ditch the coconut because of the gluten? I wasn’t aware coconut had gluten.

  16. Vicky Jones
    14 October 2014 at 9:07 pm (3 years ago)

    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!

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      14 October 2014 at 10:58 pm (3 years ago)

      That sounds fun using crunchy nut cornflakes! I’ll have to give that a try 🙂

  17. iwanttotouchthewalls
    13 November 2014 at 11:55 am (3 years ago)

    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 😀

    • Aimee@clevermuffin
      25 November 2014 at 4:32 pm (3 years ago)

      Yay! So glad they worked out, and weetbix sound interesting, I should experiment with them next time I’m looking for something crunchy in a recipe.


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Afghan biscuits

  1. […] is to read through all my favorite blogs and enjoy the photos.  This past weekend Aimee from Clever Muffin posted a recipe that I simply HAD to try.  This doesn’t happen very often, as I prefer […]

  2. […] is to read through all my favorite blogs and enjoy the photos.  This past weekend Aimee from Clever Muffin posted a recipe that I simply HAD to try.  This doesn’t happen very often, as I prefer […]

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