For some reason I've been really homesick lately. Probably due to being in the middle of an English winter while everyone back in NZ is having a barbecue or at the beach... for whatever reason I find myself craving the comforts of home. And the best way to relieve this craving (or possibly to indulge it) is to make something that reminds me of home. My mum is a fantastic baker, there would always be home-made biscuits in the biscuit tin and she would even make birthday cakes for school friends of mine who were not so maternally advantaged as myself. I love it when I can recreate something she has made, because as well as being delicious it also gives me that cosy home feeling.
Afghan biscuits are very specific to New Zealand - even my Australian boyfriend had never heard of these before. They are from the Edmond's Cookery Book, of which my mum has an extremely old and battered version, held together with yellowing sellotape, possibly from the 1950's. Wikipedia says:
The book has been described as "as much a part of New Zealand kitchens as a stove and knife", and that at one time it was 'sent unsolicited to every newly engaged couple in New Zealand."What I love most about the Edmonds Cookery Book is the cover. It shows the old factory on Ferry Road in Linwood, Christchurch, which before being demolished in 1990, sat right next to my high school.
Anyway, enough reminiscing. It's time to bake!
2 small eggs
225g / 8oz butter
2 cups caster sugar
3 cups self-raising flour (or 1 level teaspoon baking powder for each cup of plain flour)
6 tablespoons cocoa
6 weetbix, or 2 cups of cornflakes
For the icing:
200g icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
60g butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and sugar until white. Mix in eggs. Sieve flour (and baking powder if used) and cocoa into mixture. Finally crumble in weetbix and mix into a hard dough.
Scoop into tablespoon sized balls onto greased baking tray and press slightly with a fork.
Bake for 10 minutes per batch at 180 degrees C (350F).
Once cooled, ice and decorate. For the icing sieve the icing sugar and cocoa together, then pour in the melted butter and milk and beat until smooth. Ice each biscuit and top with a walnut half.