I’m a big fan of huge, chunky gourmet cookies, just like the ones they sell at Levain Bakery in NYC. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Levain Bakery in Boston, and although they sell their cookies online (almost $10/cookie including shipping!!!), it’s still not the same as eating cookies fresh out of their oven. So I did some research on copycat Levain recipes (by Broma, Modern Honey, A Bountiful Kitchen, and The Domestic Rebel) and decided I’d try to make some with one of my fave Filipino dessert flavor combos: ube and coconut.
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. It may be difficult to find fresh ube in grocery stores in the USA, but some Asian markets (especially Filipino ones) may have ube extract or ube powder. You can also buy ube extract and ube powder online!
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. 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 extract. After tweaking the recipe by adding more flour, the cookies were still spreading out more than I wanted. I realized another issue was my oven, which runs pretty low. Even though it was set at 400°F, my oven thermometer said ~320°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! This is because higher temperatures cause the cookies to set faster. Lower temperatures + longer cooking times = thin cookies, while high temperatures + shorter cooking times = thick cookies. Thank you, oven thermometer!
There were other things I implemented into my adapted recipe of the other adapted recipes (lol): cornstarch, more baking powder, and only using brown sugar (instead of brown sugar + granulated sugar) to reduce spreading as much as possible. I referred to this blog post and a few Reddit posts about the science of baking cookies, which were extremely helpful.
So after 4-5 batches of “failed” cookies (don’t worry, my neighbors were happy to eat all of them), I finally came up with this 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!
I really hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ve been wanting to make a gourmet ube cookie 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 Levain-style white chocolate matcha cookie recipe!
Levain-Style White Chocolate Coconut Ube Cookies (Small Batch Recipe)
- ½ cup cake flour (65g, $0.23)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120g, $0.29)
- 1 tsp cornstarch ($0.01)
- ¾ tsp baking powder ($0.05)
- ½ tsp baking soda ($0.01)
- ¼ tsp salt ($0.01)
- ½ cup butter, cold and cut into tablespoons (1 stick butter/8 tbsp, $1.25)
- ½ cup brown sugar (100g, $0.55)
- 1 egg ($0.17)
- 1 tbsp rehydrated ube ($0.68)
- 1 ½ tsp ube extract ($1.94)
- 1 ¾ cup white chocolate chips (297.5g, $3.05)
- ½ cup shredded coconut (50g, $0.66)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: cake flour, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix the cold butter and brown sugar on medium speed until completely smooth, about 2-4 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl in the stand mixer. Add egg, rehydrated ube, and 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 all of the white chocolate and shredded coconut. Pulse a few more times.
- 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. Place them 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 conainer 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.
- 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 (you will only be able to fit about 4-5 cookies on one sheet!). Bake for 10-13 minutes. They are done when the tops are a little brown.
- Remove baked cookies from oven. Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet for about 20-30 minutes and do not touch them (they will continue cooking on the sheet)! They are very soft/delicate right after baking and need to set.
- If you want to omit the white chocolate chips, you must add a different mix-in with the same volume as a replacement, or the cookies will spread a bit! I suggest using different chocolate chips, roughly chopped walnuts, etc.
- If you want to omit the shredded coconut, make the total amount of white chocolate chips 2 cups.
- I use this recipe to rehydrate ube powder. I store the leftovers in the freezer. You can also use mashed ube.
- If you are using fresh ube, I suggest boiling it and mashing it. Use 1 tbsp of the mashed ube in place of the rehydrated ube.
- If you are using ube halaya, I suggest using 1 tbsp of the halaya in place of the rehydrated ube. Since ube halaya is sweet, remove 1 tbsp of the brown sugar.
- 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.