Recipe: Afghan Cookies

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Hi everyone, baking is one of absolute favourite things to do. Not only does baking allow me to enjoy delicious home baked goods but I also find it super relaxing.  Unless you are from New Zealand you are probably confused about what an Afghan Cookie is and if you are confused then prepare for your life to be changed for the better. Afghans are New Zealand bake sale classic of a soft chocolate cookie combined with crispy cornflakes, sounds weird but they are super tasty and really easy to make. I use the Edmonds Cookbook recipe for my Afghans with my own little twist for the topping.

Afghan Cookies

makes: around 15 cookies,  prep time: 10 minutes, cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

-200g butter, softened (you can use either unsalted or salted here)

-1/2 cup caster or regular white sugar

-1 1/4 cups plain baking flour

-1/4 cocoa (use the best quality you can get your hands on)

-1 1/2-2 cups cornflakes

for the topping:

-50grams milk chocolate

-70grams dark chocolate

-1tsp mild flavoured oil (canola or coconut oil work great)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius, bake. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl combine softened butter and caster sugar.  Whiz these together using a electric mixer until the mixture become light in colour and super fluffy. Take your time here and get this super fluffy, as this will make your cookies even better. If  you don’t have an electric mixer just use your wooden spoon.

Once your mixture if looking fluffy scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber scraper. Switch from your electric mixer to your wooden spoon. If you can be bothered, sift in your flour and cocoa, but if not then just chuck it in. Gently mix this through until just combined.

Add in your desired amount of cornflakes. Personally I add 1 1/2 cups but, if you like more crunch, add more. Gently fold these through with minimum cornflake crushing.

Place spoonfuls of your mixture onto your tray and gently squeeze together. DO NOT roll your mix into balls, it will ruin the soft delicious texture of these cookies.

Place your tray in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes (mine usually take 13). When the chocolatey smell fills your house, you know they are done. Once cooked leave the cookies on the tray to cool.

While the cookies cool make your topping. I’m not a fan of the classic super sweet chocolate icing and half walnut topping on afghans so I make them this way. Chop up your dark chocolate into small chunks and your milk chocolate into larger ones (milk chocolate melts faster so this stops it from burning). In a small microwavable bowl combine your chocolates with the oil and mix slightly. Chuck this in your microwave for a minute, then stir. Put it back in for 30 seconds, then stir. Place it back in for 10 seconds, then stir and leave on the bench. At this point the chocolate should be hot enough to melt any unmelted bits. If you don’t have a microwave you can use the Bain-marie method which involves placing the bowl of chocolate over a pot of boiling water to melt it.

Once your cookies have cooled for at least 10 minutes spoon over a tablespoon full of melted chocolate on each cookie. Enjoy straight away or store in an air-tight container for up to a week.


These are some pictures of my cookies. In these photos the chocolate is still runny, personally I think they taste their best like this.

 I hope you enjoy these cookies, please send me a picture if you make them.

Lots of love,

Fresh Findings xxx

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Recipe: Chicken, Haloumi and Couscous salad

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Hi everyone,

This is my first recipe for the blog and it is honestly one of the most delicious salads ever! I made this recently for my family for dinner and they all loved it, plus its perfect for lunch the next day! Lately, I’ve had a had a major obsession with anything Haloumi, it’s salty, gooey goodness makes it undeniably delicious. This salad takes that Haloumi and combines it with my other favourites things, Israeli Couscous, chicken and pumpkins plus smothers it all with a super delicious (and very versatile) dressing to make a wonderful marriage. This recipe comes from Kiwi cook Chelsea Winter’s book, ‘Everyday Delicious’ however, I have adapted slightly to my own preferences, enjoy!

Chicken, Haloumi and Couscous salad:

serves 4, prep time: 2o minutes, Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

for the dressing:

-2tsp Cumin seeds

-150ml extra virgin olive oil

-4tbsp lemon juice (try to get fresh, it will taste better!)

-1 clove garlic, crushed

-3tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

-3 tbsp chopped coriander stalks

-3 tbs honey

-large pinch chilli flakes

for the salad:

-500g pumpkin  or sweet potato (personally I tend to go for sweet potato)

-neutral oil for cooking (rice bran or canola work well)

-1 red onion, sliced as thin as you can

-1tsp lemon juice

-2-3 chicken breasts (these are optional)

-1 1/2  cups Israeli couscous (you can use normal couscous here)

-3 cups baby spinach

-1/2 cup flaked almonds

-150g haloumi, cubed (I use sweet chilli haloumi, it’s even better!)

-halved grapes to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

To make the dressing, toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes or until the smell fills you kitchen. Chop these finely or crush with a mortar and pestle (I tend to crush them). Chuck all of the dressing ingredients in your food processor or mince finely. Season to your likings and set aside. This dressing will keep for a week and is delicious on nearly all salads.

Peel and slice your pumpkin or sweet potato. Arrange them on a tray and toss with oil and seasoning before putting them in the oven for 15-10 minutes or until tender. Set aside and increase your oven temperature to 210 degrees Celsius.

Place your sliced onion in a non-metallic bowl with lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir and leave aside.

Heat 1tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Brush chicken with oil and season. Place the chicken the pan and brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken into a roasting dish and cook in the oven for 15minutes. Cover and rest for 15 minutes.

Cook your couscous according to the packet instructions. Once cooked chuck it in a bowl toss immediately with the spinach and 1/4 of dressing. Gently stir in the pumpkin.

Just before serving, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the haloumi until it is golden.

Drain the onion from the lemon juice. Add to the couscous.

To serve, place your couscous mixture on a large plate. Top with sliced chicken, haloumi and almonds. Drizzle over the rest of the dressing and enjoy!

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This is a picture of the salad I made, I like to serve it on a big plate so everyone can help themselves. If you recreate the dish please send me photos, I would love to see your food pics!

Thank you so much for reading. Lots of love,

Fresh Findings xxx

Welcome to my blog…

Hi, welcome to fresh findings,

I don’t know why you stumbled across my little place in the internet, but thank you. I am a teenage girl who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Throughout my life I have had what can only be described as an undying love for food.

I have been thinking about creating a blog for a long time now, but today on the very rainy day of May 21st I started this little place, Fresh Findings.

At this moment I don’t have an exact plan for this place, all I know is that I want to share with you all the best food I possibly can. My aim is to share one recipe a week as well as reviews of restaurants and cafes in my local area and of course the delicious foods I try during my travels. However, I may also end up sharing fresh findings of the non-food type such as fashion and lifestyle. So, please if you have any requests contact me.

So, if you are a bit of a foodie, this is the blog to curl up with a cup of tea and read for you dose of foodie delights!

Lots of love,

Fresh Findings xxx