JOIN! 12 Weeks for $1

Turkish Crescent Cookies with Spiced Walnut Filling

Makes eighteen 3½-inch cookies

1½ hours 1 hour active, plus cooling

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

During a recent trip to Istanbul, we tasted ay çöreği, generously sized moon-shaped pastry-like cookies with an aromatic nut and spice filling. Rustic yet refined, the crescents were a perfect not-too-sweet treat with a cup of tea or coffee. The otherwise basic dough includes a little yeast. The leavener does not provide airiness as it would in a yeasted bread, but it does make the crumb a bit lighter and more tender. To make the filling, Turkish bakeries are said to use cake scraps, mixing them with nuts, dried fruits and sometimes cocoa. We use fluffy, coarse panko breadcrumbs, plus walnuts, raisins, spices, sugar and lemon zest to brighten the flavors. The baked crescents keep well; after cooling, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Makes eighteen

3½-inch cookies


Don’t use regular fine, dry breadcrumbs in the filling. Their dusty, powdery texture will make the mixture too thick and pasty. Panko is the best type of breadcrumbs to use here.

1½ hours

1 hour active, plus cooling

For the dough:

  • ½
    cup whole milk


Pardon the interruption

You need to be a Milk Street Digital Member to see the full recipe


and get access to all of our recipes and articles online, as well as in print.

How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your subscription. We will use it for customer service as well as other communications from Milk Street. We will not share, or rent your email address.

Chris W.
December 16, 2023
Dough was dryer this time
Made these in the past, this year, the dough did not come together, was like coarse sand and it made making these freaking miserable. I managed to do it and they are good, though why would the dough be sightly dry if I used the correct amount of ingredients that had not expired???
Alev E.
March 11, 2023
Just as I remember them!
And easy to make
Alev E.
January 15, 2023
Thank you for this recipe
I made the chocolate version and I used some chocolate cookie crumbs in addition to the panko. It was really good!
Diana L.
March 22, 2023
The recipe is good but.. baking time I think is not right
I wonder why it states to bake for 30 min. I took out my second batch after 20. The first batch was SO BROWN. I wonder if it should be 20-25 and not 30-35 min. I did not use conv oven setting. It is just regular bake. I also left the dough and cookies to rise for a little bit before baking it. I only had to use 2 and half cups of flour. I could not put all the spices mentioned (only put cinnamon) as my family members won't eat it with spices. I also did half the sugar and added a little bit of honey. Thank you for the recipe.