Ube Crinkle Cookies
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I have to confess why there are only a few Ube Crinkle Cookies in this photograph. They were so soft, moist and luscious, we gobbled down nearly the whole dozen while waiting to set up the lighting for the photos.
What is ube and why is it in these cookies?
Ube is purple yam, a tuber that grows above ground and is only in season from November to January. Although I grew up with ube in the Philippines, and I’ve had it and loved it all my life, I’m amazed that something which was so ordinary to me then, is now this attractive purple tuber which has become a popular ingredient in recent years, especially on social media in the States. I admit ube is photogenic. But beyond that, what is it?
To the unfamiliar, after it is peeled, then boiled, ube can transform into one of the most delectable desserts called ube haleya (jam). My recipe for haleya consists of boiled ube, coconut milk, condensed milk, sugar, butter, and a little ube flavoring all mixed and boiled together. I have a recipe for Ube Haleya on this blog, and I have an easy recipe version in the Instant Pot in my cookbook — Instant Filipino Recipes. The fresh ube is not easy to access here in America. I use frozen boiled ube which I purchase from Asian groceries to make the jam.
You can choose any of the following delightful ways to enjoy haleya: Eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar; place a layer of it in a tart for some slices of heaven; add it as a topping to a tall glass of Halo-Halo (mixed fruits dessert); or add it as an ingredient to these Ube Crinkle Cookies from a recipe inspired by bestselling author Mia P. Manansala.
I chatted with Mia a while back when I interviewed her for a feature on her debut novel Arsenic and Adobo. The first novel of her series of cozy mysteries had recipes at the back of her book, like these Ube Crinkle Cookies. Since I had a jar of homemade ube haleya in the refrigerator, I could not resist baking Mia’s recipe.
How to make the Ube Crinkle Cookies
If you don’t have time to make the haleya right now, use a store-bought one. Baking the cookie was simple and easy. I mixed the ingredients together. with the haleya. For easier handling, I chilled the cookie dough in the freezer overnight.
The next day, I thawed the dough slightly. Just when it is at the stage where you can plunge the cookie scooper into the pliable dough, that’s when you can start shaping the cookies into round balls, about 2-inches in diameter.
Roll each cookie ball in powdered sugar, and set them in a baking tray. It only takes minutes to bake. Before long, the sweet, lightly floral scent of ube seeps out from the oven. Take the cookies out and cool them on a rack. Sprinkle more powdered sugar if you desire. Grab one of Mia Manansala’s novels, make some tea, and have an Ube Crinkle Cookie. It is sheer bliss. And yes, take photos before they’re gone.
Ube Crinkle Cookies
- 2 Large Baking Sheets
- parchment paper, to line baking sheets
- Electric mixer
- large and medium-sized bowls
- cookie scoop
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 ½ cups ube haleya (purple yam jam); room temperature homemade or store-bought
- 1 Tablespoon McCormick Ube Flavoring
- 2 cups powdered sugar, to roll cookies in
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
- Using the electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar.Add eggs one at a time. Blend well.
- Add the ube haleya (jam) and ube flavoring. Incorporate the ingredients well.When the batter is smooth and the purple color has evened out, gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix well till there are no more lumps.
- Transfer cookie dough to a freezer-friendly covered container. Freeze dough overnight. *Note: It is important to chill the dough so it can be easy to handle and shape into balls. Do not skip this part.
To bake the Ube Crinkle Cookies:
- The next day, take out the chilled dough from the freezer.Thaw till the dough is pliable. Make sure dough is not warm or it will disintegrate in your fingers. *Note: Thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Do not thaw in the microwave.
- Place the powdered sugar in a medium-sized bowl.Using a small to medium-sized cookie scoop, shape the ube dough into round balls, around 3-inches in diameter for each one. Roll each ube ball around in the bowl of powdered sugar till each ball is completely covered.Place each ball on the cookie sheet. Set the balls at least 1 ½ inches apart – give them room to bulk and spread.
- Bake the cookies at 350 F for 10 minutes. The center of the cookie will be soft, like fudge. The cookies get stiff as they cool down.Using a spatula, transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool for around 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.To store: Keep Ube Crinkle Cookies in a covered container in the refrigerator. They keep for around 3 days, if there are any left.
- Ube haleya (jam): You can make your own ube haleya or use store-bought if preferred. I have shared an ube haleya recipe in a previous post. Click here.For Instant Pot fans, I also have an easy Ube Haleya recipe in my cookbook – Instant Filipino Recipes, which is available worldwide on Amazon in paperback or Kindle format. Click here for the Amazon link.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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Read my review of Arsenic and Adobo, a cozy mystery with recipes by Mia P. Manansala, which published on Positively Filipino magazine. Click here.