Food,  Turkey

Elmalı Kurabiye: Turkish Apple Cookies [Recipe]

I spent Christmas 2018 in Turkey. We went for the history but we were lucky to also get some delicious food, including the star of this post – Elmalı Kurabiye!

One of the food items I loved the most was an apple cookie on the breakfast buffet (yes, cookies for breakfast!) at our Istanbul hotel, Sirkeci Mansion Hotel. Their breakfast buffet was generally very good, with plenty of traditional pastries and cheeses to choose from (as well as food to more ‘western tastes’, like sausages and eggs).

But that apple cookie was amazing! Imagine a crumbly shortbread biscuit, folded in half and filled with tangy, sweet apple.

Now, I ate some pretty delicious Turkish dishes while I was there, including pide, lahmacun, and kebabs. But I’m just not brave enough to attempt any of those in my own kitchen for fear of ruining them for myself. Sweet baked goods on the other hand, definitely.

When I got home from my trip, I was still thinking about the cookies, so I sent off a cheeky little email to the hotel asking for the name of the cookies and maybe, possibly, the recipe. The next day, I received this:

The speed of reply and helpfulness of the email is actually a pretty good reflection of my stay there, so if you’re looking for somewhere to stay when you’re in Istanbul, I can definitely recommend it. Super central location, lovely rooms and, as mentioned above, a pretty good breakfast buffet!

Back to the baking…

Here are the ingredients you’ll need

For the apple filling

  • 4 apples
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the biscuit dough

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup oil (probably not olive oil, go for something with little flavour)
  • 200 gm room temperature butter
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


Prepare the apple mixture:

  1. Peel and grate the apples (I did mine in a food processor).
  2. Put the grated apples in a hot pan and cook for a few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add the sugar and stir into the apple.
  4. Keep stirring until the apples take on a caramelised colour.
  5. Once the apples are ready (not mush, but no liquid), take the pan off the heat and mix in the cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
  6. Leave to cool.

Prepare the dough:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix the bi-carb soda and lemon together and put to the side.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together, including the bi-carb/lemon mixture. It’s best to use your hands.
  4. The dough will start to come together nicely.
  5. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Clear your bench space and sprinkle some flour over it, ready to roll out the dough. I did mine in two halves to make things easy, but there is no ‘correct’ way.
  7. Pull your dough out, and roll it out to about half a centimetre thickness.
  8. Using a cookie cutter (or a glass) cut out circles.
  9. Take one circle of dough and place about a teaspoon of apple filling on one half of it, then fold it and place it on a baking paper-lined tray.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 until you have no more dough or apple mixture left.
  11. Pop your cookies in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Note: all ovens are different, so start checking on them at the 20-minute mark.
  12. When they are cool enough, sprinkle them with icing sugar and enjoy.

Because the Elmalı Kurabiye recipe came to me translated and a few things weren’t clear, I did find a video (in Turkish) to watch the method. I found it really useful, so take a look here.

If you’re off to Turkey…StayIn WiFi discount

Because Turkey is outside the EU, my mobile data would have been super expensive and I would have had to rely on wifi connections in hotels and restaurants (which I hate doing). Thankfully, I was lucky to test out StayIn WiFi’s unlimited package. They delivered it to my hotel and I dragged the little dongle around with me everywhere and found it really useful (they even supply a charger in case your dongle runs out of power in the middle of nowhere). When I was done, I popped it in the bag they provided and left it with the hotel reception for pickup. Easy.

Wifi discount

If you want internet at your fingertips while you travel through Turkey, I can genuinely recommend using StayIn Wifi. Plus, when you book in, you can get a 5 euro discount using the code LWT2019.

Elmalı Kurabiye: Turkish apple cookies – Pin for later!

Want some travel tips for Turkey?

Keen to find out where you can go in Turkey? Take a look at our past posts on Turkey.

Karis is an Aussie living in Bristol. During the working week, she works in communications, and in her spare time she’s scouring the Internet for cool places to visit and great travel deals, as well as talking about food on her podcast, At the Sauce. She loves good food and history, so her travel itineraries usually reflect this. Places she loves include Vietnam, Japan, France and Spain. Places she can’t wait to get to include Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Poland and Georgia.


  • Şafak E.

    Hello Karis,

    I was looking a English recipe for Elmalı Kurabiye which people call it also Emily Kurabiye but i have learnt that it is Turkish cuisine. There is almost no results in English but I managed to find you with lots of try and i am glad for that. Such an amazing post! I enjoyed it very much and thank you for share. Greetings from Turkey! 🙂

    • Karis

      Hey Şafak! Your message really made me smile; I’m so glad you found the recipe and it has been useful. Thanks for reminding me that I must make some more very soon!

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