Afghan Biscuits / Cookies

Afghan Biscuits / Cookies | Gather and Graze

The Afghan Biscuit is an iconic and adored New Zealand biscuit/cookie, which in my opinion, ticks every single box of biscuit perfection. Not only do they look stunning, they have a taste and texture all of their own. Usually I shy away from any recipe that utilises breakfast cereal, however in this particular case I feel strongly that the crumbled up cornflakes truly maketh the biscuit… and in no case should they be omitted. The texture really just wouldn’t be the same.

There are many similar recipes for Afghan Biscuits out there, but this particular one has always turned out so beautifully and has such a gloriously glossy icing to dollop on top. It comes from a cookbook (‘Ladies, a Plate’ by Alexa Johnston) which was given to me as a gift by a dear friend as we were leaving New Zealand to move back to Australia. This beautifully written book is packed full of kiwi classics, evoking fond and cherished memories of our time spent living in ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’.

Afghan Biscuits/Cookies

  • Servings: Makes about 32 Smallish (but beautiful!) Biscuits
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
  • Print


For the Biscuits:

  • 170g (⅔ Cup) Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 100g (½ Firmly Packed Cup) Brown Sugar
  • 180g (1½ Cups) Plain Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons (Good Quality) Cocoa Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 60g (2 Cups) Cornflakes (broken up into smaller pieces using your hands)

For the Icing:

  • 3 Tablespoons Water
  • 45g (3 Tablespoons) Caster Sugar
  • 45g (3 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
  • 190g (1½ Cups) Icing (Powdered) Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (Good Quality) Cocoa Powder
  • 30 Walnut Halves


Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays with baking/parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir to combine. Add the cornflakes, pressing them in to the mixture until well incorporated.

Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking trays (leaving a little space around each for spreading) and flatten each one slightly with a fork. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, then allow to cool completely, before topping with the icing and walnuts.

To make the icing… sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a mixing bowl, then set aside for the moment. Combine the water, sugar and butter in a small saucepan. Heat gently, until the butter melts, then allow to simmer for 1 minute to form a syrup. Pour about ¾ of the syrup over the sifted icing sugar and cocoa, beating well to form a glossy, smooth, fudge-like icing. Add more of the syrup if the mixture is too thick.

Scoop a teaspoonful of the warm icing onto each biscuit and press a walnut half on top. Please note that you may also need to stir in a small amount of hot water to the icing (as you’re topping the biscuits) if you feel that it’s setting too quickly.

Leave the biscuits on a rack to set, before serving as an afternoon tea treat.

Store any leftover Afghan Biscuits in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Afghan Biscuits/Cookies | Gather and Graze

For my children who aren’t overly fond of walnuts, I’ve topped half with coloured sprinkles instead… though they’re infinitely better with the walnuts!

Afghan Biscuits | Gather and Graze * Recipe from the New Zealand cookbook ‘Ladies, a Plate’ by Alexa Johnston


53 thoughts on “Afghan Biscuits / Cookies

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Cheergerm! 🙂 It’s a classic… I also love her recipe for Hokey Pokey Biscuits (which is on the blog too… though taken from her follow-on book ‘A Second Helping’. Yet to make the Puftaloons, Laughing Jennies or Sir Edmund Hillary’s Birthday Cake, though all sound pretty yummy to me! 😉

  1. Pingback: Sarah Bernhardt Cookies | Gather and Graze

  2. trixpin

    I’ve heard of Afghan biscuits so many times and if you’d asked me I would have sworn I’d made them, but I just don’t recognise this recipe at all! It looks so much better than what my mind was telling me Afghan biscuits were 🙂 I enjoyed reading the Wikipedia page you linked to for Darya and it seems there is just as much mystery around the biscuit’s origin as there is confusion in my simple brain! How intriguing 🙂

      1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

        Always a joy to read your comments Trixie. 🙂 Thank you! It is rather intriguing to come across dishes with unknown, or at least questions surrounding their origins. Might make for a good series of posts one day!?

  3. jothetartqueen

    Its name is very interesting. I just went to read that wiki link you posted. have no idea what these are but they sound amazing from the sound of it! Have a great weekend!

  4. emilynatb

    Wow this looks delicious!! I’ve never seen or heard of these biscuits but after looking at the pictures, I definitely want to try them! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. tinywhitecottage

    Perfect little treats. I really like the half walnuts on top…although the confetti topped cookies are so festive and fun! No doubt the young ones go for those. 🙂 I love simple cookies recipes like this Margot. Lovely post.

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Making half and half with the walnuts and confetti certainly keeps a smile on EVERYONE’S faces! 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind comment Seana!
      PS. I linked you in on some emails recently, but not sure if they may have gone through to your spam folder… let me know and I can always re-send to you.

  6. Kitsch n flavours

    Bet these are really moreish. Although, I don’t think I’ve ever had cornflakes in a biscuit. Rice Crispies, yes. Have to admit, they’re not the sort of thing I eat – as in breakfast, full stop. But I used to like cornflakes. Does anyone remember Sugar Puffs?! Anyway, loaded with cocoa and I’d love them. Just can’t imagine the texture – slightly chewy? Oh, and I used to like Walnut Whip. Grief, this post is turning me all nostalgic! Or is it the fact I’ve just finished work – for the last time, here’s hoping. 🙂

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Hey, that’s such exciting news Johnny! So, no more working for other people? Onwards and upwards in the Jam-making business – wishing you all the success in the world!
      Hmm, have to say that I’ve never heard of Walnut Whip… though just googled it to find the most bizarre-shaped little treats! Intriguing… if I come across them in a lolly/sweet shop over here, I’ll now have to buy a bag to try! 🙂
      These Afghan biscuits aren’t chewy at all… more of a crispy, crunchy texture. I normally have such an aversion to any type of cereal in baked treats (possibly linked to always having hated Chocolate Crackles that were served at most children’s B’day parties growing up – ) Oh and strangely enough, we call ‘Rice Crispies’, ‘Rice Bubbles’ over here – not sure why though…
      Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

  7. Francesca

    That would be the same case with Her Majesty. Sometimes kids simply don’t get it! How can you pick sprinkles over walnuts??? But they will get there! 🙂
    I have never had cookies with cornflakes inside! They must be delicious! These gorgeous bites are so tempting. They will go beautifully with my cup of coffee in the morning. A must-try! 🙂

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      🙂 They’re still so pretty with the confetti on top, but I feel like the kids are missing out on the true flavour of how they SHOULD be. I agree though Francesca… they will get there eventually… and along the way hopefully they will learn and become more and more curious from seeing the delight we adults get from eating those foods that they won’t touch at the moment.
      Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Loretta

    Oh these look gorgeous Margot, I too had never heard of them, but from the looks of the ingredients, I could eat more than one 🙂

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      So kind of you Loretta – thank you! I suspected that might be the case… that the rest of the world has been kept in the dark about these beautiful little biscuits! A well-kept secret of the Kiwis! 😉

  9. apuginthekitchen

    I’ve never heard of Afghan biscuits but they look and sound really delicious. They look like perfect little bites. That glossy chocolate icing is yummy and I love corn flakes and anything that uses or contains them.

    1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks so much Suzanne! It’s the glossy chocolate icing that pulls it all together… and they’re such a nice small size that you don’t feel too much like you’re over-indulging! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  10. lemongrovecakediaries

    These are Mr LG’s favourite biscuit – last time we went back he purchased one of these at every café and shop we went into 🙂 I can’t wait to try these. Have a great weekend!

  11. Darya

    Why are they called Afghan biscuits? What a curious name. But they look quite delicious! And I bet the cornflakes really do make them unique.

      1. Darya

        Wow, thanks Margot, that was a fun read! I love recipes with a history, but I love recipes with uncertain histories even more.

      1. lapetitepaniere

        I trust you Margot 🙂 I made your delicious cookies yesterday and they were fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing. I took some pictures, I will post today on my instagram page xx

        1. Margot @ Gather and Graze Post author

          Oh Linda, I’m so excited to know that you baked up a batch of these! So pleased that you enjoyed them. I’ve only just recently set up an Instagram account (for TDPC), so later on this evening I’ll try and find you on there and hopefully get to see your photos! 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me know – you’ve made my day! M.xx


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