I’m super excited to share this recipe for Turkish orange cookies (portakallı kurabiye) with you! Not just because I adapted it from a family recipe, but because I really really love them so much. Out of all the recipes on my blog, these orange cookies are certainly in my top 3. There’s nothing quite like Turkish cookies (kurabiye), and these orange-flavored ones are de-li-cious! They’re a bit crumbly with crispy edges but the inside is oh so very soft, it melts in your mouth!
It’s a cross between a small cake and a cookie, and they are seriously addictive. This recipe makes 12 big orange cookies and it certainly feels like a treat when you’ve got one in your hands. It’s sparkly, it smells amazing and it’s just sweet enough to accompany a cup of çay (Turkish tea). I say there’s no better way to start off citrus season than with dessert!
It’s been a while since I was this enthusiastic about testing a recipe. I kept marveling at these orange cookies, batch after batch. I simply didn’t get tired of baking them, and I did eat my fair share (in the name of recipe testing of course). It’s a pretty easy and quick one-bowl kind of recipe and the kurabiye dough can be ready in half an hour stats. Zesting and juicing the oranges is what takes the longest time.
These cookies are flavored with orange zest and freshly pressed orange juice to bring as much citrus aroma as possible. Rolling them in sugar before baking makes the outside of the orange cookies extra crispy and they look even more irresistible! The look and texture of these cookies remind me a bit of ladyfingers, except they’re much easier to make since you don’t have to make a sponge!
Baking cookies for 20 min at 190°C (375°F) might seem unusual, but don’t worry they won’t burn! These orange cookies are bigger than your usual chocolate chip cookies, so they need longer in the oven. Some people leave them for longer than 20 min because they want darker and crispier cookies. I think it dries out the inside too much, but to each their own.
KURABIYE; TRADITIONAL TURKISH COOKIES
You can easily make kurabiye at home but you’ll also spot them in bakeries (pastane) all over Turkey. There was this great bakery next to my flat in Izmir selling dozens and dozens of different cookies. They all looked so appetizing and unlike anything I had seen in France. Well, we don’t really have cookies in French bakeries, except for some sad looking chocolate chip cookies made from industrial frozen dough. So stepping into this bakery and seeing all these cookies I knew nothing about; with their different shapes, flavors and textures, I was like a kid in the Chocolate Factory! People would come and pick a bunch of kurabiye to fill a box to offer them to whoever invited them, usually for tea.
I soon find out that homemade kurabiye were way better than the ones from the bakeries that weren’t always very fresh. My in-laws would sometimes spend their whole day baking different types of cookies, sweet and savory ones, while chatting and drinking copious amounts of tea. They’re adorable, right? I wish my husband loved to bake as well! Anyway, I would then, without fail, receive a small container full of delicious goodness and these orange cookies were always a big favorite of mine.
FREEZE & VARIATIONS
➝ Can I freeze these orange cookies? Yes, I usually freeze half of the cookies so I don’t eat it all in one afternoon. To freeze them, place the balls of dough (rolled in sugar and scored on top) on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and place the tray in the freezer for 2 hours. When the balls are frozen solid you can place them in a plastic container (or a freezer bag to save space). Then keep in the freezer for up to a month. You can bake the orange cookies straight out of the freezer in a preheated oven but you’ll have to add 3 to 5 more minutes of bake time.
➝ How to spice things up? I love adding 2 tbsp of poppy seeds to the dough when I make these orange cookies. Otherwise, if I feel like having something really different, I go back to my in-law’s original recipe for kurabiye. Which they and I adapted in turn to make these orange cookies. Originally it was a recipe for cinnamon or ginger cookies and to make those; replace the orange juice with an equal amount of yogurt or milk and replace the orange zest with 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon or ginger. Then follow the rest of the recipe to shape and bake them.
Are you looking for other Turkish dessert recipes? Here are some of my favorites:Print
Turkish orange cookies (portakallı kurabiye) are a cross between a small cake and a cookie and they are de-li-cious! A kurabiye is slightly crumbly with crispy edges but its inside is oh so very soft, it will melt in your mouth.
- 450g flour (3 ¼cups)
- 11g baking powder (1 tbsp)
- 125g butter, softened at room temperature (4.5 oz)
- 160g caster sugar (¾ cup + 1 tbsp) , plus extra for decoration
- 50g Turkish or Greek yogurt (3 tbsp) , or use milk
- 2 big oranges, zested
- 100ml orange juice (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp), freshly pressed after having zested the oranges
- Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
- Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 min.
- Add the milk, orange zest and juice and beat again for 1 min. Don’t worry if it looks grainy, the dough will come together with the flour.
- Add the flour mixture in three equal parts and beat until combined (use a spatula or a wooden spoon if needed near the end). The dough should be stiff, malleable and only slightly sticky.
- Roll the orange cookie dough into 12 balls, about 73g (2.5oz) of dough each. These are big crumbly cookies we’re baking! Refrigerate the balls for 1h before moving on with the recipe if you want to prevent the orange cookies from spreading at all while baking.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Pour 3 tbsp of caster sugar on a small plate.
- Roll the dough balls in sugar. Place the balls 4cm (1 ½ in) apart on the lined baking sheets. Score the top of the dough balls with a cross pattern using scissors.
- Bake the orange cookies for 20 min, until lightly golden brown. They will still be a little bit soft so allow them to cool for 10 min on the baking sheets. Then place the cookies on wire racks to cool completely.
These orange cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days but they will get softer over time.
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 280
- Fat: 8.8g
Keywords: turkish cookies, orange cookies, soft cookies