In Australia and New Zealand, it is traditional to have a meal between breakfast and lunch called morning tea. It is very common to stop work at 10:30 or 11 to have a cup of tea and a snack, usually a cake or a biscuit of some kind.

There are a lot of biscuits that are unique to New Zealand and Australia:

    • Afghan biscuits, which you may think would come from Afghanistan but they don’t. They are a chocolate- and cornflake-based confection with chocolate icing and half a walnut on top
    • Belgium biscuits, which don’t come from Belgium but are two cinnamon-flavoured biscuits with jam sandwiched between them and pink icing
    • Shrewsbury biscuits, can you guess where they are from?  That’s right, nowhere near Shrewsbury.  They are different from the British biscuits of the same name, instead they are two biscuits with jam sandwiched between them and a hole in the top one so you can see the jam.
    • Anzac biscuits, which are based on oats, coconut, and golden syrup
    • Ginger kisses, two soft ginger-flavoured biscuits with a cream filling

    As for cakes and slices, we have:

    • Lamingtons (I freely admit these are Australian in origin, but widely available in New Zealand tearooms) – a square of sponge, dipped in raspberry jelly or chocolate icing and then coconut
    • Apple slice, two squares of shortbread with a stewed apple filling
    • Ginger crunch, with a ginger-flavoured biscuit-y base and thick ginger icing topping
    • Custard squares, two slices of mille-feuille pastry with a thick layer of custard in between, and coconut icing
    • Tan squares, a biscuit base topped with caramel and then a layer of crumbled base on top
    • Chocolate caramel slice, a biscuit base topped with caramel with a layer of chocolate on top

    Really, the list goes on and on, so if I’ve forgotten anything please someone jog my memory. Yesterday I went round to Vixie and John’s place with my Edmond’s cookbook (the one cookbook no New Zealander has been without for the past 100 years), to make yoyos.

    Yoyos possibly have the coolest name of all New Zealand/Australian biscuits. They are formed of two thick buttery biscuits with a butter/custard filling in the middle. When I left yesterday I managed to smuggle a couple out with me, and have them for morning tea this morning:



    175 g softened butter
    1/4 cup icing sugar
    vanilla essence
    1 1/2 cups plain flour
    1/4 cup custard powder

    50g softened butter
    1/2 cup icing sugar
    2 tablespoons custard powder

    Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together, then roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Place these on a baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

    While they are baking, mix all the filling ingredients together. Once the cooked biscuits have cooled, fill with the butter filling.

    Soooo rich but so good. Enjoy!

    4 thoughts on “Yoyos

    1. We make afghans here too…
      I use a recipe that my granny has always used.
      We put glace cherries on the top of ours though – v pretty 🙂

      • That’s interesting. Here not many people seem to know what they are, unless they are friends with a New Zealander. At my old work I replaced a NZer, and everyone said “oh, she used to bring in these amazing biscuits called Afghans”. I took the hint.

    2. Hi there, those look delicious! I’d love to try making them, but I’m not quite sure what custard powder is and what we Americans could use as a substitute. Could you point me in the right direction? Thanks so much! :o)

      • Apparently you can’t get it in the States! It’s basically made with cornflour (which I think you call cornstarch), with flavour and yellow colour added. I think if you used the same amount of cornflour with some vanilla extract that’s probably the best substitution. Or maybe some vanilla flavoured instant pudding would work.

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