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Elmali kurabiye (Turkish apple cookies)

The first time I tried these elmali kurabiye, or apple cookies, my Turkish friend had made a huge platter and brought them over

The first time I tried these elmali kurabiye, or apple cookies, my Turkish friend had made a huge platter and brought them over. I cannot tell you how melt-in-your mouth these cookies are. The apple cinnamon filling is a thing of dreams. I fell in love immediately and knew I had to learn how to make them.

These are the perfect autumn or winter dessert, as they guide you through the transition from summer to autumn and warm you in winter. Sold in many Turkish bakeries, they come in many shapes and sizes. I am making my cookies on the thinner side with lots of filling because that is the ratio I like, but feel free to roll them as thick or thin as you like and to add as much filling as you’d enjoy.

When making the filling, you can choose your favourite type of apple. I like to use the Royal Gala or Braeburn varieties because they are sweet and crisp, but you may prefer Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples. You can adjust the amount of sugar used in the recipe depending on which apple you use. As for the dough, it is very much like shortbread, but softer and working with the dough tells you how soft and cotton-like the cookies are.

Have them with a cup of tea and you’re sure to impress with these delicate treasures!

Filling

3 apples, peeled, cored and grated

2-3 tbsp sugar (to taste)

1 tbsp cinnamon

50g walnuts, coarsely ground

Dough

3 cups flour

3 tbsp yogurt

150g butter, room temperature

1 egg

½ cup oil

½ cup icing sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Begin by making the filling. Place the apples and sugar in a pan on a medium heat. The apples will release their juices. Cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. This will take some time and requires patience. Once the liquid is almost gone, add the cinnamon and mix, and when completely evaporated, take off the heat and mix in the walnuts. Set aside to cool.
  2. To make the dough, whisk the icing sugar and egg together with a fork until incorporated and slightly fluffy. Add the yogurt, oil and a third of the flour. Then add the baking powder, another third of the flour, and the butter, followed by the rest of the flour. Knead lightly with your hands until a soft dough is formed. If the dough is too dry and won’t come together, add a bit more butter, and if it is too wet, add a bit of flour. Cover and set aside to rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough into quarters and roll it out to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch. Use a cookie cutter or cup to cut out circles. Place about a teaspoon of the filling on one side of the dough and then fold over. Place on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Make sure to leave some space between the cookies, as they will expand a little while baking. Reuse the scraps of dough left over from the cutting until you have no more dough left. Bake at 180 C or 160 C in a fan-assisted oven for about 20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.
  4. Let the cookies cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and enjoy with a cup of tea!
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