Thursday, 22 October 2009

Catastrophe Cookies (Or, the biscuits previously known as Afghans.)

I'm a walker.

Ridgeway this way (Sep '08)To your right: a fence and then the Silvan resevoir.OH HAI ENTIRE WALK!Wind-blown

I love walking and discovering things and/or seeing things in a different light and/or just taking the time to see. My favourite walk has been The Ridgeway which I walked half of last year (and photos can be seen here) but I've done some amazing walks in and around Melbourne (which can be seen here.)

But what does all this walking have to do with biscuits, you ask?! Well, in March, Not Quite Nigella posted a recipe that is very close to my heart: Afghan Biscuits. I've always loved these biscuits and they are easily obtained in Perth i.e. every single cafe has them. I suddenly realised I'd never seen them in Melbourne and I was aghast.

Catastrophe Cookies 2

I did a very scientific poll of my friends and the results shocked me - nearly everyone who grew up in the Eastern 2/3rds of the country had never heard of, let alone eaten, an Afghan biscuit.

I took it upon myself to write this terrible wrong and made many batches. And it was with one of these early batches that a new (and not so racist) name was bestowed on them. I'll let J, one of the members of my walking posse explain:
Just as we were leaving civilisation (well, we were about to walk into CFA territory rather than MFB territory), our map failed us somewhat by not matching up with what was on the ground. G kindly offered to ride up ahead to see whether one part of the path ended where we thought it did, and the rest of us asked ourselves why we didn’t bring a cyclist all the time. Our question was soon answered as G came off his bike, and we rushed to see what had happened. His elbow was well and truly grazed up, with one significant gouge expelling large amounts of blood. I emptied my waterbottle over his wound to wash as much of the gravel out as I could, then tied a hanky around it. We all walked to the nearest houses and knocked on doors until someone was home and let us use his bathroom. We cleaned G’s elbow a bit more and applied some Dettol cream (thank you, random man), and I cleaned the hanky and reattached it.

SJ called E, and she came with a first aid kit, cleaned the wound with saline, and attached a better dressing than my hanky! As we were waiting for her, we drank the rest of our tea and ate more delicious biscuits. It was at this point that we renamed them Catastrophe Cookies, because they were pretty much the ideal thing to eat at this stage of a catastrophe. E drove G and me to RMH emergency room, where we waited for a couple of hours before G was anaesthetised, cleaned up properly, stitched up, and given a tetnus booster. D and SJ called a taxi and took G’s bike back into SJ & E’s place.
- from here

Anyway, now you know the story of the name, let me explain why these biscuits are so delicious.

1. They are crunchy and crumbly at the same time

2. Chocolate

3. Icing. On a biscuit.

4. They are damn fine with a cup of tea.

Catastrophe Cookies 6

They are also exceptionally quick and easy to make - the only frustrating moment is waiting for them to cool before pouring icing on them.

They are the kind of biscuit you expect to see at the cake stall at a school fête and, to me, that is the highest compliment there is.

Catastrophe Cookies 4

Catastrophe Cookies

makes approx 16

170g butter, softened
100g brown sugar
180g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp cocoa
60g cornflakes

3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp caster sugar
190g icing sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
walnut (or pecan) halves

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Cream butter and sugar together while getting the dry ingredients ready to sift.

2. Sift into creamed butter and sugar and mix until combined. The mixture will (most likely) become one big sticky ball of deliciousness.

3. Stir in the cornflakes (or, if you are lazy like me, pour the cornflakes in and mix on a low setting until combined).

4. Roll into balls and place on a lined baking tray. Flatten them a little bit and try not to overcrowd the tray - they don't spread a lot but you do want them all to bake at the same speed.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. They'll be quite fragile at this stage but they become more hardy as they cool.

6. Cool. (Boo.)

7. Make the icing! Spoon the icing onto the biscuits and press a walnut (or, in this case, a pecan) onto the biscuit.



Niki said...

Yum, I'm not a fan of biscuits, but I do love Afghans! Mine were also disasters growing up, Mum microwaved some on baking paper and they ended up permanently stuck to the paper. By the time they got to the shared lunch at school it was a container of crumbs and paper. Oh the shame...

PS. CUTE mugs!

essie said...

i think there might be ooooone left. arm wrestle for it? :p

nixwilliams said...

yes, i think we need to organise more walks sooooon. mainly so i get to eat your cooking more!

steph said...

and very little modification to make them suitable for meeeeee!

(are cornflakes vegan?!)

Johanna GGG said...

oh I love afghans and have them on my list of things to make - I remember them giving me a sore arm when mixing in the cornflakes - this posts makes me very hungry and I love your mugs

s-j said...

@Niki - less the shame and more the torture of having all the components of biscuits but in crumb form!

@essie - you'd be lucky. *wipes crumbs from mouth*

@nix - you know I'd bake for you whenever you want. That said, yes! walking! But how will I keep up with you two after all your conditioning over the SWCP?

@steph - I checked and yes, they are vegan! Not gluten free but the hippie ones in the hippie food aisle are.

@Johanna - They are delicious and I'm always surprised how quick they are i.e. I made another batch last night before bed and it took about half an hour to forty-five minutes from start to finish.