If you were a kiwi kid, I’d bet you know a thing or two about the Afghan Biscuit. I have sooo many wonderful childhood memories of baking in the family kitchen. My mum was never afraid to let us learn, create mess, and have fun trying out recipes. A lot of my love for cooking today is due to her patience, kindness, and encouragement that we weren’t too young or incapable of whipping up something delicious.
In those days Afghan biscuits ranked in the top echelon of any snack recipes. The walnut may have been picked off and thrown away (what was I thinking?) but chocolate flavoured biscuit AND icing; what could be better?! There’s a lot of speculation around when and how these little biscuits originated, but there’s one thing for certain; they’re Kiwi through and through. A star element of the Edmonds cookbook – everything that is traditional New Zealand cuisine.
The original recipe is a mixture of flour, sugar, butter, cocoa, and cornflakes. As much as I have fond and delicious memories of that variation, I thought I’d give it a go with a Hungry Cub makeover. The sliced almonds maintain that cornflake crunch and I love the deep rich flavour of this chocolate ganache topping. The perfect snack to have with that morning tea coffee!
Afghan Biscuits Redone (Gluten & Dairy Free, and Paleo) – yields approx 22 biscuits
2 cups ground almond (or 1 cup ground almond, 1 cup desiccated coconut)
2 tsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
4 tbsp cocoa or cacao
4 tbsp sliced natural almonds
2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter if you don’t require dairy free)
4 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170’c/340’F. In a large bowl, mix together the ground almond, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and sliced almonds. Melt together the honey (or maple syrup) and coconut oil in a small saucepan until combined, add the vanilla extract to this and stir. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients then mix with a wooden spoon or clean hands to combine until it comes together like a stiff dough. Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and place on an oven tray covered with baking paper. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hands till they’re about 2cm thick. Bake in the oven for 6-8 mins then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, get to work on the topping….
70g/2.5 ounces dark choc (70% cocoa solids or higher – I love either Whittakers 72% Fair Trade Dark Ghana or Lindt 90%)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup natural walnut pieces
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and set aside in a bowl. In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk, honey or maple syrup (if using), vanilla, and salt until steamy hot and almost bubbling. Pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate. Allow to sit for 3-5 mins then stir to combine until it’s a smooth and glossy mixture. Set aside to cool and thicken (this can take about an hour at room temperature or less in the fridge).
When ready, spread some of the icing over the biscuits and press a walnut piece into the centre. Repeat the process until all the biscuits are decorated and enticing! Store in an airtight container