Not too sweet, soft, buttery ube heart thumbprint cookies filled with a white chocolate coconut ganache. The dough is quick and simple to make, requiring no chilling. The ganache is also made right in the microwave, making this recipe great for beginners.
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About these ube thumbprint cookies
On February 4th, 2023, I taught an online baking class through Subtle Asian Baking’s Facebook Group! I hopped on a Zoom call with a bunch of other people, and we all baked these UBAE cookies together. It was SO much fun.
And now that AAPIHM is here, I thought I’d share the full recipe with everyone. 🙂
And, if you’d like to see what some of the students whipped up, check out the amazing pictures below!
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.
Can you make these gluten-free?
Absolutely! I recommend using 1:1 gluten-free flour.
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!
Creating the heart indents
Using your thumb, pinky, or thin end of a rubber spatula, press heart indents into the cookie dough balls. The deeper the cavity, the more strawberry ganache you’ll be able to fit in later on!
*Tip: If the dough cracks on the sides, you can use your fingers to smooth it out. If the dough is too sticky, lightly wet your finger or rubber spatula before creating each indent.
Storing the ube cookies
Store these ube cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week!
For other fun cookie recipes, check out the cookies tab on my blog!
Ube Heart Thumbprint Cookies
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (180g)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick butter/8 tbsp)
- ⅛-¼ cup granulated sugar, see steps (25-50g)
- 1 egg, room temp
- 1 tsp ube extract
- ¼ c mashed ube or ube halaya (60g)
For the coconut ganache:
- 4 tbsp white chocolate chips, melted (40g)
- 1 ½ tbsp canned coconut milk (21g)
- ¼ tsp coconut extract
- ¼ tsp ube extract
For rolling (optional):
- 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (12g)
For the cookie dough:
- **If using ube halaya, only use 1/8 c granulated sugar to offset the sweetness. If using mashed ube, use 1/4 c granulated sugar.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (can alternatively use hand mixer, whisk, or fork!), mix the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Scrape bottom of bowl.
- Mix in the egg and ube extract until smooth.
- Add in the ube halaya or mashed ube, stir until combined.
- Dump in all of the flour and salt, mixing until no dry spots remain.
- Use small cookie dough scoop to gather dough (about 1 ½ tablespoon each). Shape it into a very smooth ball, then place onto lined baking tray. Optional: Roll into unsweetened shredded coconut.Place balls about 3-4 inches apart. They will not spread much while baking.
- Using your thumb, pinky, or thin end of a rubber spatula, press heart indents into the cookie dough balls. The deeper the cavity, the more coconut ganache you'll be able to fit in later on! *Tip: If the dough cracks on the sides, you can use your fingers to smooth it out.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes. Cookies should have slightly firm edges and retain their color. They should not be browned.
- Let cool on pan for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to fully cool.
For the coconut ganache:
- Add the white chocolate and canned coconut milk into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Once smooth, stir in the ube and coconut extracts.
- If the ganache seems too liquidy, add in a few pieces of white chocolate chips and melt. If it's too thick, add a splash of coconut milk.
- Use a small spoon to fill each cavity with ganache. The ganache should start to set within a couple of minutes.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.