Afghan (biscuit) facts for kids
|Place of origin||New Zealand|
|Main ingredients||flour, butter, sugar, cornflakes, cocoa powder, chocolate icing, walnut|
An Afghan is a traditional New Zealand biscuit made from flour, butter, cornflakes, sugar and cocoa powder, topped with chocolate icing and a half walnut. The recipe has a high proportion of butter, and relatively low sugar, and no leavening (rising agent), giving it a soft, dense and rich texture, with crunchiness from the cornflakes, rather than from a high sugar content. The high butter content gives a soft melt-in-the-mouth texture, and the sweetness of the icing offsets the low sugar and the cocoa bitterness.
Despite its name, the biscuit's place of origin is thought to be New Zealand. A recipe in the Timaru Herald for "Afghans" (minus the icing and walnut) dates from 1934, and an otherwise identical "Chocolate Cornflakes" biscuit recipe, complete with icing and walnut, was in the same publication of the previous year. There are many theories in circulation about the origin of the name "Afghan", ranging from the First Anglo-Afghan War to the biscuit's texture being likened to the landscape of Afghanistan.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the manufacturer Griffin's Foods announced in June 2020 that they would rename the product, due to controversy over its name being a possible reference to the 19th century Anglo-Afghan Wars. Later that year, the product was rebranded as "Roughs".
Ingredients and recipe
According to the Edmonds Cookery Book, a batch of 24 afghans are made by combining 200 g (7 oz) butter, 115 g (4 oz) white sugar, 160 g (6 oz) all-purpose flour, 25 g (1 oz) cocoa powder, and 50 g (2 oz) cornflakes. Tablespoon-sized balls of the mixture are formed, placed on a greased baking tray, and baked at 180 °C (360 °F) for around 15 minutes. Once the biscuts are cooled, they are iced with chocolate icing and the half-walnut placed on top. The Edmonds recipe has changed over the years; for example, the 24th De Luxe (1987) edition of the cookbook only called for 75 g (3 oz) of sugar.
Some variations on the recipe exist; crushed weet-bix may be substituted for cornflakes, for instance.