These soft and chewy ube cookies are made with ube halaya and ube extract for delicious purple yam flavour. They're studded with melty white chocolate chunks throughout for a unique twist on classic chocolate chip cookies!
These ube cookies are everything I love about cookies. They're soft and chewy in the middle with a slightly cakey crumb and satisfying bite. They have melty chunks of white chocolate throughout and a mellow nutty and vanilla-like flavour.
Ever since buying a jar of ube halaya and ube extract, I haven't been able to stop making ube desserts. It's such an easy and convenient way of adding this special flavour to different treats. It works especially well in baked goods. Whether you're a fan of ube or just want to try something different, these cookies should be on your to-do list.
What is ube?
Ube (pronounced "ooh-bay") is a purple yam or purple sweet potato originating from the Philippines. Ube tastes like a sweet mixture of coconut and vanilla flavours. It's a popular ingredient used in Filipino desserts that are instantly recognizable from their deep purple colour.
What is ube halaya?
Ube halaya is a spread or jam made from mashed and processed ube. It can be eaten on its own or used in baking and dessert recipes. Most ube recipes use ube halaya instead of boiling and mashing fresh ube at home which can be cumbersome to do.
The flavour of ube by itself in baked goods can sometimes be lost with the rest of the ingredients and the colour is not nearly as purple as ube desserts usually are. Therefore, it's usually used in combination with ube extract or ube flavouring which gives a much more concentrated flavour and purple colour than ube halaya by itself.
You can usually buy ube halaya and ube extract in Asian or Filipino specialty grocery stores or online.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This recipe is so easy to make! No need to chill the cookie dough.
- These ube cookies are full of delicious ube flavour.
- The cookies are perfectly soft and chewy as cookies should be!
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder - In combination with baking soda, this helps the cookies rise and puff up nicely when baked.
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter - This needs to be softened to room temperature so that it can be creamed with sugar easily.
- Granulated sugar - Sugar is not just used for sweetness! It also helps your cookies become fluffy rather than dense by trapping air when creamed with butter.
- Egg - This should be at room temperature before using otherwise the butter may solidify on contact with cold ingredients or the mixture can curdle.
- Ube halaya - Ube halaya is ube (purple yam) puree combined with sugar and other ingredients to make a spread or jam. You can typically find it at Asian or Filipino specialty grocery stores.
- Ube extract - Ube extract is artificial flavouring and colouring that gives ube treats its recognizable smell, flavour, and taste. It's much stronger than ube halaya and is essential when making ube desserts. It can usually be found in the same stores that carry ube halaya.
- Vanilla extract
- White chocolate - Roughly chop the chocolate into smaller pieces. Save a handful for pressing on top of the cookies when they're almost finished baking for picture-perfect cookies (optional).
How to make ube cookies
Prep - Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients - In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar - In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat softened butter until very creamy. Add the sugar and cream together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined.
Mix in the ube ingredients - Add the ube halaya, ube extract, and vanilla extract. Mix again until the batter is thoroughly purple.
Fold together dough - Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and fold together with a spatula until almost combined. Add the chopped white chocolate and finish folding until just combined.
Scoop out cookie dough - Use a 4-tablespoon ice cream scooper to scoop out cookie batter. Release the cookie dough balls on your lined baking sheet, leaving about 2" in between each ball.
Bake - Bake for 10-12 minutes. About 2 minutes before they're finished baking, press a few extra pieces of white chocolate on top of each cookie (optional).
Cool cookies - Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, swirl each cookie in a round cutter or bowl that's slightly bigger than the cookies for perfect circles (optional). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling or enjoy warm!
These ube cookies can be stored in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cookies are still good to eat for up to 5 days but they will be drier the longer they are stored.
To keep cookies soft, you can try placing a slice of fresh white bread in the container. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and stay softer.
Freeze baked cookies in an airtight container, freezer bag, or wrapped well in plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature or reheat until warm before serving.
Freeze unbaked cookie dough by scooping them out into dough balls and freezing the entire tray of them in one layer for about 1 hour or until they're firm. Transfer the cookie dough to an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight or at room temperature before baking.
To bake straight from frozen, lower the oven temperature by 25-50°F and bake for a few minutes longer.
Tips & tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients. The butter and egg must be at room temperature in order to cream them together properly. If you forget to take them out of the fridge ahead of time, very gently warm the butter in the microwave or by holding the bowl over the stovetop but be careful not to completely melt it. Eggs can be submerged in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
- Cream the butter and sugar very well. Creaming the butter and sugar well aerates the dough so that your cookies are fluffy, puffy, and soft. You should be creaming the butter until it's very smooth and pale in colour and then cream it with sugar for about 3 minutes.
- Use both ube halaya and ube extract/flavouring. Ube halaya by itself has a very mild purple yam flavour and colour that will be lost when mixed with the other ingredients and baked. Ube extract or flavouring is where most of the ube flavour and colour comes from so it's key to use it as well.
- Don't overmix after adding the flour mixture. After adding the flour, you should only mix the dough until it's just combined. Use a spatula and fold the dough to prevent overmixing. Overmixing will cause the cookies to be dense.
- Press extra chocolate chunks on top of the cookies in the last few minutes of baking. This step is optional if you want the tops of your cookies to show the white chocolate chunks.
- Use a circular cutter or bowl to swirl cookies after baking for perfect circles. This step is also optional. You can also just use a fork or spatula to push any uneven edges inwards. Be sure to do this immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven while they're still soft.
Frequently asked questions
Ube is naturally sweet like typical yams and sweet potatoes. It has a fragrant and nutty taste and aroma similar to coconut and vanilla.
Yes, you can definitely use chocolate chips. Chips won't melt as much as chopped up chocolate because of the coating on them so your cookies will visually look slightly different but the taste will be the same.
Yes, you can scoop out the cookie dough balls ahead of time and store them in the fridge for 1-2 days before baking them.
Scoop out all your cookie dough balls onto a lined cutting board or plate. Line them up right next to each other to save space. Arrange as many as can fit on your baking sheet and keep the rest of the dough balls in the fridge or on the counter while the cookies bake. After you transfer the baked cookies off the baking sheet and the sheet has cooled, bake your second batch of dough.
More cookie recipes to try
- Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Hojicha Cookies
- Matcha Mochi Cookies
- Biscoff Stuffed Cookies
- Matcha White Chocolate Cookies
- 160 g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 115 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 75 g ube halaya
- ½ teaspoon ube extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g white chocolate, roughly chopped + extra for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat softened butter until very creamy. Add the sugar and cream together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined.
- Add the ube halaya, ube extract, and vanilla extract. Mix again until the batter is thoroughly purple.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and fold together with a spatula until almost combined. Add the chopped white chocolate and finish folding until just combined.
- Use a 4-tablespoon ice cream scooper to scoop out cookie batter. Release the cookie dough balls on your lined baking sheet, leaving about 2" in between each ball.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. About 2 minutes before they're finished baking, press a few extra pieces of white chocolate on top of each cookie (optional).
- Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, swirl each cookie in a round cutter or bowl that's slightly bigger than the cookies for perfect circles (optional). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling or enjoy warm!