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Coconut Ube Bear Cookies

Cute, not too sweet, soft coconut ube bear cookies decorated with melted chocolate.

**Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links.

Ube bear cookies on a wire rack

About these coconut ube bear cookies

I made these last week for an event I attended in NYC with two other Subtle Asian Baking members! We went to a mixer hosted by the Very Asian Foundation, and met so many AAPI journalists and creators. It was SO much fun. I made a few friends and even met one of my FAAAAVORITEE food bloggers ever, The Korean Vegan. I can’t wait for the professional pictures to be uploaded!

My parents really loved these cookies, so I wanted to make them again for my family.. and also for my blog! I’m a bit bummed because I couldn’t find any shredded coconut in nearby stores, so I couldn’t include it in these photos/videos. But, the recipe notes include how much shredded coconut to mix in if you’d like to add it in your dough!

Also, shoutout to @bearsandbutter on IG for the heart blush inspo! I think the hearts make these bears EXTRA cute. :’)

If you’re interested in other kawaii cookie recipes I have, check out these recipes!: Red Velvet Bear Cookies, Strawberry Kirby Sugar Cookies, StrawBEARy Sugar Cookies, Bunny Sugar CookiesTeddy Bear Chocolate Chip CookiesKeroppi Matcha Sugar CookiesFrog Matcha Sugar CookiesSoft, Less Sweet Ube Sugar Cookie Bears (Dairy-Free!)Pig-Shaped Snickerdoodles (Vegan)Cat-Shaped Black Cocoa Cookies (Vegan), and Chick-Shaped Lemon Cookies.

Holding an ube bear cookie

FAQ

What is ube?

If you’re not familiar with ube (pronunciation: oo-beh), it is a purple yam native to the Philippines. Ube is sometimes confused with another vegetable called taro, which has an earthier flavor and is used in both savory + sweet dishes.

On the other hand, ube is sweeter and often described as having vanilla and nutty notes. It’s commonly used in desserts, such as ice cream, cake, or jam. You could just use ube extract in this recipe, but I used ube extract and rehydrated ube halaya. You can find these ingredients in some Asian markets, especially Filipino ones, but if all else fails, you can buy ube extract/halaya or powdered ube online!

Can you make these vegan?

Yes, you can! 

Instead of regular butter, you can swap in high quality vegan butter made for baking. Make sure to use a good brand—some brands are very high in water content and melt at lower temperatures, yielding very flat cookies. I recommend brands like Miyokos and Country Crock.

You can also omit the egg. First, follow the recipe up until you add the flour, baking powder/soda, and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients in. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a tablespoon of alternative milk at a time (2-4 tbsp total), until the dough comes together. The finished dough should be thick, but scoopable.

Lastly, you can replace the chocolate for a vegan brand, like Pascha chocolate. OR, you can try out my easy icing recipe, which is found in my teddy bear cookie recipe.

Can you make these gluten-free?

Absolutely! I recommend using 1:1 gluten-free flour.

Can you add shredded coconut?

Absolutely!! I actually wanted to add shredded coconut to these, but I couldn’t find any in my local grocery stores. I recommend adding 1/2 c of unsweetened shredded coconut.

Close up of a coconut ube bear cookie

Tips for baking and decorating

Properly measure the flour

I always like to measure my ingredients with a kitchen scale for consistent, accurate results. But if you’re measuring with cups, make sure you follow this tip: gently spoon in the flour into the cup until it’s full, then scrape the excess off using the back of a knife or offset spatula.

If you scoop the cup directly into the flour bag or container, the flour may get compacted, and you will be adding in more flour than necessary. On the other hand, if your flour is clumpy, you could be adding in chunks of flour into the cup with gaps in between them, possibly adding less flour than required. These instances can cause tougher or even really flat cookies, since the proper ratio of dry:wet ingredients isn’t met.

So, for best results, use a scale. If you don’t have one, gently spoon and level the flour into your measuring cup!

Chill the dough

After making the dough, cover the top with plastic wrap. Then, leave it in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the dough hardens up a bit. This will make shaping easier and also yield chewier cookies.

Shaping the dough

For each bear, you’ll want to use a small cookie scoop, or gather about 1 ½ tbsp of dough. Shape it into a ball and place it onto your lined baking tray. Repeat for about 15 more cookies, making sure you have some left over for the ears.

For the ears, take about 1 tsp of dough, and split it into two equally sized pieces. Roll into balls and place on the tops of the bears’ heads.

Decorating with melted chocolate

You can use a piping bag, cookie scribe, or toothpick to add on the details. I used a piping bag.

First, use the melted white chocolate to add the snouts and ears. Reserve the leftover white chocolate for the blush.

Then, use dark or milk chocolate to add the eyes and nose.

When dying white chocolate pink or red for the blush, you’ll want to use oil-based food coloring or the chocolate will seize up and become lumpy. However, if you don’t have oil-based food coloring, you can try mixing in a tsp of neutral oil (canola, vegetable) at a time! The chocolate should come back together. Maaagic.

Storing the ube cookies

Store these bear shaped cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week! 

I really hope you enjoy this recipe. If you make these ube cookies, I’d love to see them. You can tag me at #bitesbybianca / @bitesbybianca on Instagram. Enjoy! 

If you’re interested in other kawaii cookie recipes I have, check out these recipes!: Red Velvet Bear Cookies, Strawberry Kirby Sugar Cookies, StrawBEARy Sugar Cookies, Bunny Sugar CookiesTeddy Bear Chocolate Chip CookiesKeroppi Matcha Sugar CookiesFrog Matcha Sugar CookiesSoft, Less Sweet Ube Sugar Cookie Bears (Dairy-Free!)Pig-Shaped Snickerdoodles (Vegan)Cat-Shaped Black Cocoa Cookies (Vegan), and Chick-Shaped Lemon Cookies.

Ube bear cookies on a wire rack

Coconut Ube Bear Cookies

Bites by Bianca
Cute, not too sweet, soft coconut ube bear cookies decorated with melted chocolate.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 1 minute
Course Dessert
Servings 16 cookies

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (180g)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c unsweetened shredded coconut (48g)

Wet ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 stick butter/8 tbsp)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • ⅛-¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, see steps (25g-50g)
  • 1-2 tsp ube extract
  • ¼ tsp coconut extract
  • ¼ c ube halaya or mashed ube, see steps (60g)
  • 1 egg

Decoration for face:

  • 1 tbsp melted milk or dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp melted white chocolate
  • oil-based food coloring, see steps (pink/red)

Instructions
 

For the cookie dough:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking powder baking soda, and salt.
  • **If you are using sweetened ube halaya, use ⅛ c brown sugar. If using plain mashed ube, use ¼ c brown sugar.
    In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (can alternatively use hand mixer or whisk), mix the butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Scrape bottom of bowl.
  • Add ube + coconut extracts, halaya/mashed ube, egg, and mix until smooth. If you want a deeper purple color, add more ube extract.
  • Dump in all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
    Cover the dough and let it rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. This will let the flour hydrate and let the butter firm up again, yielding chewier cookies. The dough will also be easier to work with. 🙂
  • Preheat oven to 325°F/163°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Use small cookie dough scoop to gather dough (about 1 ½ tablespoon each). Shape into a ball and place onto lined baking tray. Repeat for about 15 more cookies, making sure you have some left over for the ears. Place cookies about 3 inches apart.
    For the ears, take about 1 tsp of dough, and split it into two equally sized pieces. Roll into balls and place on the tops of the bears’ heads.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until edges are set and centers are slightly puffy. If you underbake them a little, they will be chewier! 🙂
  • Let cool on pan for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire rack. Let cool completely.

For the bear faces:

  • You can a piping bag, toothpick, or cookie scribe to add on the details. I used a piping bag.
  • Use melted white chocolate to draw on the snouts and ears. Dye the leftover chocolate pink or red for the blush.
    If you don't have oil-based food coloring, then the chocolate will seize/become lumpy. To counter this, stir in a tsp of neutral oil (canola, vegetable) at a time, until it becomes smooth again.
  • Use melted milk or dark chocolate for the eyes and noses.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  • To make it vegan, swap in a high quality vegan butter and vegan chocolate (suggestions listed in this blog post). Omit the egg. Follow the recipe accordingly up until you add in the dries. If the dough seems crumbly, add in a tbsp of alternative milk (2-4 tbsp total) at a time until the dough comes together. It should be thick, but scoopable. In addition, you can use a vegan chocolate brand like Pascha Chocolate. OR, you can try out my easy icing recipe, which is found in my teddy bear cookie recipe.
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Did you try this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I struggled a bit making this cause the stores didn’t have any ube halaya and my sister spilt my ube extract, but it was worth the it cause these are so good! 😍

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