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These Ube Cookies are just like your favorite, classic sugar cookies but with a Filipino Twist! They’re soft, chewy, and made a vibrant purple color using ube powder. Whip them up using just 11 ingredients for a dessert to remember!
Table of Contents
- Ube vs. Taro. What’s the Difference?
- Ingredients You’ll Need
- Equipment Needed
- How to Make Ube Sugar Cookies
- How to Make Ube Crinkle Cookies
- Serving Suggestions
- Popular Filipino Recipes
- storage instructions
- how to freeze cookie dough
- Recipe FAQs
- More Filipino-Inspired Recipes You May Enjoy:
- The Best Ube Sugar Cookies Recipe (Vegan) Recipe
Ube vs. Taro. What’s the Difference?
Ube has been all the rage lately, but what is it exactly? Is it taro? Purple food coloring?
Ube (pronounced oo-beh) is a purple yam that originates from the Philippines and has been a long-standing staple in Filipino cuisine and desserts like Creamy Ube Pie (Vegan), Ube Pichi Pichi (Filipino Sticky Cassava Snack), and Fluffy Ube Pandesal (Filipino Purple Yam Bread Rolls).
It is technically a root vegetable and has a distinct flavor that’s commonly compared to vanilla or other sweet yams and sweet potatoes. It’s also earthy, and nutty, yet mild enough to be used in a variety of recipes.
Taro, on the other hand, is a completely different root vegetable, originating in the tropical regions of the world. It grows in a variety of colors, including purple, which is why it is commonly confused with ube.
Taro is also widely used in deserts, acting as a sweet filling for various cakes, pastries, and ice creams, but more notably in Hawaiian, Polynesian, and West African cuisine.
Ube can be found in various different forms, including fresh, frozen, dried, and powdered, and even in jam (ube halaya). Today we’re using the dried and powdered form as I felt that it would be the most accessible to you.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegan butter: Our favorite vegan butter to use in our Vegan Desserts are Earth Balance or Country Crock Plant Butter. Any vegan butter will work, but we’d recommend using vegan buttery sticks over butter spreads for the best consistency.
- Coconut milk: “Gata,” or coconut milk, is a staple in Filipino cuisine as coconut trees are abundant in the Philippines. Since the flavors of ube and coconut milk complement each other so well, we used full-fat coconut milk instead of water in our flax egg mixture. If you’re interested in more of our Filipino recipes that heavily incorporate coconut milk, try this Filipino Coconut Milk Adobo, Champorado (Tsampurado), or this Vegan Arroz Valenciana.
- Flaxseed meal: The vegan egg in this chewy sugar cookie recipe. If you’re out of flaxseed meal, try ground chia seeds.
- Sugar: We typically like to coat these sugar cookies in granulated sugar for added texture and aesthetic appeal. If you prefer to make an ube crinkle cookie recipe, swap the sugar for coating with powdered sugar, or confectioners’ sugar.
- Ube: For this cookie recipe, purple yam powder, or powdered ube, will work best and gives these sugar cookies their bright purple color. We typically order ours online from either this Online Filipino Grocery Store or Amazon. You may also be able to find it at your local Asian grocery stores.
- Flour: To date, we have only tested these chewy cookies using all-purpose flour. We have not tested a gluten-free alternative, but if you’d like to experiment, the go-to gluten-free flour blend that we use in several of our Vegan and Gluten-Free recipes is Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. If you decide to give it a try, let us know how it works in the comments!
- Leavening agents: Baking soda and baking powder help lighten up the cookie dough and make these purple cookies perfectly soft and fluffy! Please note, however, that both baking soda and baking powder are required for best results. The ingredients cannot be used interchangeably or replaced by one another.
- Cream of tartar: A little goes a long way, but the acidic flavor in the cream of tartar adds tanginess and prevents the sugar in the dough from crystallizing.
- Mixing bowls
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
- Plastic wrap or reusable wrap
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie-scoop
- Baking sheet
- Cooling rack
How to Make Ube Sugar Cookies
- Soften the vegan butter. About 30 minutes to 1 hour before starting this cookie recipe, set the vegan butter on the kitchen counter to soften. After 30 minutes, press your finger into the butter. If it makes an indent yet the stick as a whole keeps its shape, it’s ready!
- Make the flax egg. In a small mixing bowl, add the coconut milk and flaxseed meal. Mix until combined, then set aside to thicken, about 10 minutes.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Cream together for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add ube, flax egg, and vanilla. In the same bowl with the creamed butter and sugar, add the powdered ube, coconut flax egg, ube extract, and vanilla extract. Beat again until uniform.
- Add in the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt, and mix by hand using a spatula. Once a rough dough forms, switch to using clean hands to continue mixing the cookie dough together until the cookie dough is smooth.
- Chill for at least 1 hour. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or reusable wrap and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- Scoop the cookie dough into smooth dough balls. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized cookie dough scoop, scoop the ube cookies into dough balls. Roll the ball between your hands until smooth.
- Coat in sugar. Immediately place the smooth cookie dough balls in a bowl of sugar and toss until covered on all sides.
- Bake. Spread the sugar-coated vegan cookie dough balls on a baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until cracks begin to form on top of the cookies.
- Cool to room temperature. Once baked, remove the ube cookies from the oven, then immediately bang the cookie sheet on the kitchen counter 3-5 times. Allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack until cooled completely. Enjoy!
How to Make Ube Crinkle Cookies
Purple yam crinkle cookies are another popular spin on our sugar cookies recipe. To make, follow the recipe through step 7. Then, instead of coating the rolled cookie dough in granulated sugar, coat each cookie in powdered sugar, or confectioners’ sugar.
Once the cookies spread in the oven, this will create the look of a classic crinkle cookie!
These chewy ube cookies are delicious on their own but are the perfect pair for a glass of Homemade Almond Milk or Homemade Cold Brew (who says you can’t eat cookies for breakfast?!). You can even turn them into Ube Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches!
Enjoy them for dessert, or an afternoon snack, or pack them in your kids’ lunch boxes for a sweet treat!
Or, if you want to serve these for dessert following the ultimate vegan Filipino meal, here are a few of our favorite Filipino recipes to make any night of the week:
Appetizers and Sides
Fresh ube cookies will keep for up to 7 days when stored at room temperature in an airtight container. If you live in a warm or humid climate, keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator to prevent the cookies from spoiling faster.
how to freeze cookie dough
Raw cookie dough can be frozen after being scooped into individual cookie dough balls (with or without the sugar coating). To freeze, spread the ube cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and flash freeze until frozen, 1-2 hours.
Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container such as a silicone Stasher bag or a freezer-safe airtight container. Freeze raw cookie dough for up to 3 months. Bake directly from frozen. 1-2 additional minutes may be required, but when the cookies develop cracking on the top they are ready!
How to Freeze Baked Ube Cookies
Allow the baked ube cookies to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once completely cool, transfer the cookies back to the baking sheet, leaving enough space between each cookie so they are not touching.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and flash-freeze the cookies until frozen, 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
I have found ube powder at my local Asian supermarkets, but I usually buy it online from this Online Filipino Grocery Store or Amazon. The ube powder is not something you’ll easily find in regular, mainstream grocery stores.
There is unfortunately no current ingredient substitution that we could recommend.
Ube and sweet potato are similar in texture, but Ube’s flavor is more subtle than the regular sweet potatoes you’d find in the United States. I’d describe the flavor of ube as sweet, nutty, earthy, and vanilla-like.
Nope! Once the ube powder is beaten into the cookie dough, the moisture from the vegan butter and coconut milk will hydrate it and keep your cookies soft and chewy.
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