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Chunky Ube Cookies with White Chocolate + Coconut (Small Batch)

These chunky ube cookies have a crispy outside, a gooey center, and are SO yummy. They’re not too sweet and perfectly balanced with white chocolate chips and coconut!

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Chunky ube cookies with white chocolate and shredded coconut.

About these chunky ube cookies

The inspiration behind these cookies

In high school, my friends and I loved going to NYC to get freshly baked cookies from Levain Bakery. If you haven’t heard of them, they sell crazy these huge, chunky gourmet cookies that are crisp on the outside, but gooey in the middle. It’s quite the experience eating them for the first time, lol.

One day I was craving these cookies, but at the time I lived far from any Levain location… and I was not willing to pay $10/cookie for shipping. So, I decided to make my own copycat Levain Bakery cookies, but with a Filipino twist.

I did some research on copycat Levain recipes (by Broma, Modern Honey, A Bountiful Kitchen, and The Domestic Rebel) and made MANY, many batches of chunky ube cookies. After going through multiple jars of ube halaya and flour, I’m proud to say that this recipe holds true to the OG Levain standard: chunky, crispy, gooey, super flavorful, but with a Filipino twist.

I’ll let these testimonials speak for themselves…

Behind the scenes of developing this recipe

After a few attempts of making these cookies, I’m happy to say that they hold true to Levain-style cookie standards: thick, cakey, and packed full of flavor.

Testing ingredient ratios

In the beginning of my recipe trials, my cookies weren’t holding their shape and were spreading out way too thin, even after freezing the dough. This was probably because of the added liquid ingredients—ube and ube flavoring.

So, I played around with ingredient ratios by testing different amounts of cornstarch, baking powder, and using brown vs white sugar. I referred to this blog post and a few Reddit posts about the science of baking cookies, which were extremely helpful.

But after, the cookies were still spreading out way more than I wanted. I realized another issue was my suuuuper old oven, which runs pretty low. So, I bought an oven thermometer to figure out what temperature I was actually baking at.

Investing in an oven thermometer

Even though my oven was set to 400°F, my oven thermometer said 300°F! So I cranked my oven to 460°F, which was really 400°F according to my thermometer, and my cookies ended up holding their shape!

Higher baking temperatures cause the cookies to set faster. Lower temperatures + longer cooking times = thin cookies, while high temperatures + shorter cooking times = thick cookies. So if your oven temperature seems off to you, I suggest investing in an oven thermometer!

So after 5 batches of “failed” purple cookies (don’t worry, my neighbors were happy to eat all of them), I finally came up with this delicious recipe. This “small batch” recipe makes 5 huge 5-6 oz ube cookies. Feel free to double this recipe to make more, or shape the dough into smaller sized cookies. You’ll just have to keep on eye on them to make sure they don’t burn in the oven!

If you haven’t heard of or had ube before, it is a purple yam native to the Philippines. Ube flavor is commonly compared to a subtle vanilla mixed with pistachio, and is super common in Filipino desserts.

In terms of these chunky ube cookies, they aren’t too sweet and are full of ube flavor. A number of ube cookie recipes online only use extract, but this recipe uses both ube halaya (aka ube jam) and ube extract. And because ube extract has both red and blue dyes in it, it yields this beautiful purple color you see in the photos.

Since ube is commonly paired with coconut in the Philippines, I thought it would be great to add some unsweetened shredded coconut, and add some more sweetness with white chocolate chips. This combination is one of my favorites and I’m sure it’ll become one of your favorites, too.

In this post, you’ll learn about the equipment + ingredients I used, more detailed steps on how I made these purple cookies, variations, tips, and some FAQs. Don’t worry, I gotchu with alllllll the deets.

So, keep scrolling if you’d like to make these Filipino cookies!

Equipment

Ingredients

  • Cake flour: Adding cake flour yields a fluffier cookie.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch: This helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much when being baked.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Table salt
  • Butter: You will need to use cold butter for this recipe. I love using Vital Farms butter!
  • Brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Rehydrated ube or ube halaya
  • Ube extract: This brand of ube extract, aka ube flavor, has both red and blue dyes, which yield vibrant purple cookies.
  • White chocolate chips: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the cookie.
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut: You can use shredded, desiccated, or flaked coconut. It adds a great flavor to the cookie and fun texture.

How to make ube cookies

  1. Mise en place: aka “put in place”. This French saying simply means measure out all of the ingredients and prep your equipment beforehand. This helps you stay more organized and move more seamlessly in the kitchen.
  2. Cream butter and sugar: In your large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add in egg, ube, and ube flavor: Mix in these ingredients until fully combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients: Add in all of the dry ingredients and mix until most of the dry spots are gone.
  5. Dump in mix-ins: Pour in the white chocolate chips and shredded coconut. Mix until thoroughly combined and no dry spots of flour remain.
  6. Shape and freeze ube cookie dough: Split the dough into 5 tall mounds, then transfer to a lined baking sheet or plate. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
  7. Bake ube cookies: Bake cookies at 400°F/204°C about 3 inches apart for 10-13 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned and edges are set.
  8. Let cookies cool: This step is important! The cookies will be really gooey and will continue cooking on the baking sheet. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 15-20 minutes. If you want a warm cookie, you can heat them back up in the oven at 350°F for 3-5 minutes or microwave for 10 seconds.
  9. Store: For freshly baked ube cookies, you can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them in an airtight container for 1 month, then let the purple cookies thaw for 30 minutes at room temperature. You can also reheat them in the oven at 350°F for 2-4 minutes until they are fully warmed up.
  • Change up the mix-ins: If you want to omit the coconut or white chocolate chips, you must add a different mix-in with the same volume as a replacement (ex: replace 1 cup chocolate chips for 1 cup nuts). Otherwise, the cookies will spread a bit! I suggest using different chocolate chips, roughly chopped macadamia nuts, etc. 
  • Swap out the ube flavor: Simply omit the ube extract and halaya, and add in an extra ½ tsp of cornstarch. You can use vanilla extract, add matcha powder, or warming spices. But you can also follow my chunky matcha cookie recipe. 🙂

Tips for making the best purple yam cookies

  • Use a kitchen scale: I LOVE using a kitchen scale because it always yields consistent, accurate results when measuring ingredients. However, if you’re measuring your dry ingredients 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.
  • Freeze the dough: This stops the cookies from spreading too much in the oven.
  • Invest in an oven thermometer: If you find that your cookies are still spreading a lot after using a kitchen scale and freezing the dough, try verifying your oven temperature! Years ago, my housemate and I found out that our oven in Boston used to run ~75-100°F lower by using a thermometer… which helped us ask our landlord to get a new oven, LOL.
  • Let the cookies set: The cookies will be super gooey after baking. They will continue cooking on the cookie sheet and fully set after 15-20 minutes. But if you’d like warm cookies, you can heat them back in the oven at 350°F for 3-5 minutes or pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

FAQs

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 flavoring 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!

Do I have to freeze the dough?

Yes, this step really helps limit the amount the ube cookies spread in the oven! And if you really want to get that tall, chunky Levain-style cookie, you have to chill the dough.

Why are my ube cookies spreading?

See the section above, where I share tips!
TLDR: try using a kitchen scale, freeze the dough, and verify your oven temperature with an oven thermometer.

Do I need cake flour?

No, you can sub in regular all-purpose flour. They will be slightly less cakey, but will still taste delicious.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Yes. Just sub in 1:1 gluten-free flour.

Purple cookies bursting with ube flavor, white chocolate, and coconut.

How to store these Filipino cookies

You can freeze the dough mounds in an airtight container for up to 3 months, then bake as usual. Just add 1-2 more minutes to the bake time.

For freshly baked ube cookies, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze them in an airtight container for 1 month, then let the purple cookies thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes. You can also reheat them in the oven at 350°F for 2-4 minutes until they are fully warmed up.

More Filipino-inspired recipes

I have more purple yam recipes on my blog, like ube chia pudding, ube muddy buddies, and ube macarons!

I really hope you enjoy this ube cookies recipe. I’ve been wanting to make gourmet ube cookies for a while, and I’m ecstatic about these results. If you make these cookies, I’d love to see them. You can tag me at #bitesbybianca / @bitesbybianca on Instagram. Enjoy! 🙂

Check out my chunky white chocolate matcha cookie recipe! 🙂

📖 Recipe

Chunky ube cookie split in half.

Chunky White Chocolate Coconut Ube Cookies (Small Batch Recipe)

Bites by Bianca
These gourmet cookies are chunky, gooey, and absolutely delicious. They were inspired by Levain Bakery's cookies and my favorite Filipino dessert flavor combos: ube and coconut. If you don't have ube extract, but want to add the halaya, make sure you add purple food coloring to the wet ingredients!
4.58 from 54 votes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freeze time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 5 cookies
Calories 658 kcal

Equipment

  • medium bowl
  • large bowl or bowl of stand mixer
  • electric whisk or paddle attachment of stand mixer
  • rubber spatula
  • cookie sheet
  • parchment paper or silicone mat

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • ½ cup cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp table salt

Wet ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter cold and cut into tablespoons
  • ¼ or ½ cup brown sugar packed; see notes
  • 1 egg
  • ½ c rehydrated ube or ube halaya see notes
  • 1 ½ tsp ube extract see notes

Mix-ins:

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, desiccated coconut, or coconut flakes

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: ½ cup cake flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ tsp cornstarch, ¾ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp salt.
  • *If you are using ube halaya, only use ¼ cup brown sugar because of how sweet ube halaya is. If using mashed or rehydrated ube, use ½ cup brown sugar.
    In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix the ½ cup cold butter and ¼ or ½ cup brown sugar on medium speed until completely smooth, about 2-4 minutes.
  • Using your rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl in the stand mixer. Add 1 egg, ½ cup rehydrated ube, and 1 ½ tsp ube extract to the bowl. Mix until combined, about 10-20 seconds.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. Add all of the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and pulse a few times until it is mostly incorporated.
  • Add 1 cup white chocolate chips and ½ cup shredded coconut. Pulse a few more times until thoroughly combined.
  • Divide the dough into 5 pieces, about 5-6oz each. Roughly shape the dough into tall mounds using your hands—do not compact them, roll them into balls, flatten the dough, or use an ice cream scoop, or they won't bake as high.
  • Place ube cookie mounds on a lined baking sheet or plate, and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Freezing ensures that they do not spread out while baking.
    Note: You can store the frozen dough in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can bake them right from the freezer, but you will have to increase the baking time by 2-3 minutes.

Bake ube cookies:

  • Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F/204°C.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Place each dough mound about 3 inches apart on one baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-13 minutes. They are done when the tops are a little brown and edges are set.
  • Remove baked cookies from oven. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes—they will continue cooking on the sheet! They are very soft/delicate right after baking and need to set.
  • Enjoy! For warm cookies, you can reheat them by baking them at 350° for 2-4 minutes or popping them in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Notes

  • See blog post for cookie flavor variations, tips, and FAQs. 
  • If you are using ube halaya, only use ¼ cup brown sugar because of how sweet ube halaya is. If using mashed or rehydrated ube, use ½ cup brown sugar.
  • I used this recipe to rehydrate ube powder. I store the leftovers in the freezer. You can also use freshly mashed ube.
  • If you are omitting the ube extract, use purple food coloring in place of that step, or the cookies will be very pale.
  • You can freeze the unbaked shaped dough in an airtight container for up to 3 months. You can bake straight from the freezer, just adjust the baking time by 2-3 more minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 658kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 8gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 26gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 487mgPotassium: 225mgFiber: 3gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 626IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 135mgIron: 2mg
Keyword chunky cookies, chunky ube cookies, coconut, cookie, cookies, gourmet cookie, gourmet ube cookies, ube, ube coconut, white chocolate, white chocolate coconut, white chocolate coconut ube, white chocolate coconut ube cookie, white chocolate ube
Did you try this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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28 Comments

  1. Hi Bianca! We are trying to make these cookies in bulk for my Dad’s birthday. I was wondering if we make the cookie smaller than 5 to 6 ounces do we have to reduce the temperature of the oven or just the cooking time?

  2. Hi Bianca! I followed this recipe with temperature and time exact. The inside seems almost raw. Is this normal? Oven was at temp. The outside even browned but inside was raw.

    1. Hi Jas! Thanks so much for commenting and trying out the recipe! Were they still raw after letting them cool on the pan for 20-30 minutes?

      Do you happen to have an oven thermometer? It sounds like your oven may run hot, which is why they browned quickly. I would try dropping the temp 25 degrees lower and baking longer!

      1. Hi Bianca! After about 30 mins, they settled. Turns out I was just impatient. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  3. Hi Bianca, how did you get 5-6oz cookies? I followed the recipe exactly and 5 cookies were less than 5oz 🙁

    1. Hi Eileen! Thanks for the comment 🙂

      If you weigh everything using a kitchen scale, the recipe should yield a little over 748g of cookie dough, which equals ~26 oz. So you should get about 5 5-6oz cookies! However, if you measure using cups, the weight may be a little off.

      The amount of oz per cookie is not that crucial, it’s just a suggestion to equally measure out 5 equally sized cookies. I have had some people message me saying they baked the recipe with 3-4oz cookies and they still came out great, just not huge! 🙂

      I hope this helps, please let me know if you have further questions. <3

  4. Hi Bianca! These cookies look delicious and I’m planning to make some for the cookie contest in our hospital unit. I don’t have a stand mixer though. Is it ok if I use a hand mixer? Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    These Ube Cookies are Divine! I just replaced the shredded coconut to sliced almonds, perfect!! Use a couverture chocolate to get a gooey and melt in your mouth chocolate. No fail-easy to follow recipe! Really Super yum!!! Btw, it’s really chunky and huge like what I’ve always wanted. Thanks Ms Bianca!

      1. Hi Bianca. Thanks for the recipe. Love the gooeyness and flavour. Is it normal to have the bottom to be green in colour after baking? If not, any tips on how to prevent it from happening?

        1. Hi, Lani! Thank you so much for the feedback, and trying the recipe 🙂
          I’m interested to know what brand of ube extract you used, and if it had any food coloring in it. My ube extract has blue and red dyes in it, which acts as purple food coloring for my bakes.

          In my research when writing to you, I read that baking soda can actually turn purple yam green-ish ! However, the purple food coloring should over balance that. Let me know what you used, I’m happy to further troubleshoot!

  6. 5 stars
    These were divine. Thank you for the recipe! I didn’t have rehydrated ube. I used ube jam spread instead (not sure if this is the same as halaya?).
    I only had dessicated coconut and used this instead. Worked out fine.
    I forgot to cut down on sugar since I used the jam spread. It turned out slightly sweeter than my liking.
    Overall still an amazing recipe and definitely will be using it again. Thanks Bianca!

      1. Hi Jude 🙂 I use dried unsweetened coconut. I have also used dessicated coconut and coconut flakes (but chopped it to smaller pieces). You can omit the coconut if you want and can add a bit more white chocolate chips.

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