My love for all things ube goes far and wide, and most recently expanded to Ube Cookies.
If you’re new here or to Instagram, let me tell you about ube. Ube (pronounced OO-BEH) is purple yam. It’s vivid in color, mild in taste, almost nutty. It’s one of the most popular dessert ingredients in the Philippines, probably the most recognizable (and craveable) ice cream flavor, and I am obsessed with it.
I am particularly fond of ube halaya, a luscious ube jam that my great aunt Lola Conch would make at home. I would wait impatiently for hours as she prepped and cooked then simmered, stirred, and stirred some more. As soon as the jam was ready, still hot from the oven, and oozing with bright yellow mantequilla (butter), I happily lapped it up, savoring each thick, sweet spoonful.
I’ve never had halaya as good as the one from home, but I still never turn down other home-made versions and store-bought jars. When Matt and I were in the Philippines a couple of months ago, I brought back a couple of containers of ube halaya to stock in my freezer. I break it out for special occassions, intense cravings, and now: cookie-making.
When I was talking to my super talented photographer friend Chris McIntosh about collaborating on some food pics (check out this Fettucine with Mushrooms and Pancetta), I immediately knew I wanted to make these ube cookies.
They are a play on crinkle cookies, but after baking I blanketed them with powdered sugar so you don’t see the cracks on top like typical crinkles. I used a half cup of my precious ube halaya from the Philippines, but it’s easy to find jars of ube jam in Asian grocery stores. I also added ube extract (which you can buy on Amazon) to boost the flavor even more.
I love a good chewy chocolate chunk cookie, but man, these ube cookies transport me right back to my childhood. And that’s just something that can’t be beat. My non-Filipino taste testers also agree that these cookies are addiciting and obsession worthy. Let me know if you give them a try!
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup ube halaya or ube jam
2 teaspoons ube extract
2-3 drops violet food color (optional)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- Cream together butter and sugar using a stand mixer or a hand mixer.
- Add egg. Mix until well blended and fluffy.
- Add ube jam, ube extract, and violet food color (if using) and continue mixing until well combined and smooth.
- Switch to paddle attachment, and add flour and baking powder. Mix until just combined.
- Using a standard cookie scoop (or a generous 1 tablespoon of dough), portion out the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours to overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F.
- While oven is preheating, roll each cookie ball in confectioners sugar. Arrange in cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Let cool in pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a baking rack. Sprinkle more confectioner's sugar on top before serving.
All photos by Chris McIntosh. Check out his site and Instagram!