Afghan (biscuit)

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Afghan (biscuit)
Afghan II MRD.jpg
TypeBiscuit
Place of originNew Zealand
Main ingredientsflour, butter, sugar, cornflakes, cocoa powder, chocolate icing, walnut

An Afghan is a traditional New Zealand[1][2][3] biscuit made from flour, butter, cornflakes, sugar and cocoa powder, topped with chocolate icing and a half walnut. The recipe[4] 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.[citation needed]

Name[edit]

Despite its name, the biscuit's place of origin is thought to be from New Zealand. A recipe in The Timaru Herald for "Afghans" (minus the icing and walnut) dates from 1934,[5] and an otherwise identical "Chocolate Cornflakes" biscuit recipe, complete with icing and walnut, was in the same publication of the previous year.[6] 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.[7][8]

In the wake of the George Floyd protests, the manufacturer of the biscuit, Griffin's Foods announced in June 2020 that they would rename the product. In a statement issued by the company, it noted that the name of the biscuit was possibly a reference to the First Afghan War, although they acknowledged "there are other theories in circulation." The decision came amidst a wave of name changes in New Zealand over foodstuffs with names deemed racist or otherwise culturally offensive. Debate exists between historians over the origin of the biscuit's name; one theory suggests it was named after the traditional Afghan hat, the pakol.[9][10][11] The biscuit was eventually renamed "Milk Chocolate Roughs" by Griffin's, which advertised the renaming with a new slogan: "Same bikkie. New name."[12]

Ingredients and recipe[edit]

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.[13][14] 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.[13] 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.[15]

Some variations on the recipe exist; crushed weet-bix may be substituted for cornflakes, for instance.[16][17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Timothy G. Roufs, ed. (2014). Sweet Treats around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ISBN 9781610692212. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Afghan Biscuits, Isle of Capri Tomatoes and Broken Heart Gin". Asia Sentinel. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  3. ^ Tran, Mark (7 July 2016). "From bovver to budgie smugglers: the latest entries to the OED". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  4. ^ p.18, Edmonds Cookery Book, De Luxe Edition, Edmonds Food Industries Ltd. 1955
  5. ^ "TO-DAY'S RECIPE". Timaru Herald. 138 (19883). 21 August 1934. p. 12. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  6. ^ "TO-DAY'S RECIPE". Timaru Herald. 137 (19590). 9 September 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  7. ^ Bilton, Jan (16 June 2011). "Kiwiana bakes". Stuff. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  8. ^ "The Cherished Kiwi Cookie With a Mysterious Past". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  9. ^ "Café renames Afghan biscuit in light of racist history". Māori Television. Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  10. ^ "More NZ treats renamed over racist overtones". Otago Daily Times Online News. 2020-06-25. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  11. ^ "New Zealand treats renamed over racist overtones". RNZ. 2020-06-24. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  12. ^ "Griffin's: Our Biscuits". Archived from the original on 2020-10-16. Retrieved 2020-10-16.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ a b "Afghans". edmondscooking.co.nz. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  14. ^ "Weights & Measures". edmondscooking.co.nz. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  15. ^ Edmonds Cookery Book (24th De Luxe ed.). 1987. p. 16.
  16. ^ "Afghan Biscuit Recipe". www.chelsea.co.nz. Retrieved 2021-06-02.
  17. ^ Gofton, Allyson. "Afghans". www.allysongofton.co.nz. Retrieved 2021-06-02.

External links[edit]