Confession: I don’t think I really liked ube until my uncle brought me a tub back from the Philippines. Ube donuts and various other ube-laden pastries were either too sweet for me or the texture was too grainy. So upon receiving a jar my first inclination was to immediately send it to my sister-in-law in Kentucky, a confirmed ube fiend. Then I started doing some research on Good Shepherd Convent’s ube jam and was convinced to open it up for a taste. I’m so glad I did.
Good Shepherd Convent is a located in Baguio, Philippines. Nuns churn out ube jam and other sweet treats like peanut brittle and strawberry jam using the profits to send the poor children in the surrounding area to college. According to some online reviews, the jam is so popular, sometime only one jar is sold per person. How’s that for an endorsement?
The famous jam consists of ube, milk, butter, sugar and sodium benzoate as a preservative. Eaten as-is on a spoon reveals a silky texture that’s thankfully not too sweet or grainy. I can easily imagine myself eating through an entire tub by the spoonful but wanted to incorporate it into something else, namely thumbprint cookies.
Here’s the genius of thumbprint cookies. Whatever’s filled in the center, like fruit preserves, still shines through without diluting the flavor. In the case of these cookies, there’s still the rich unadulterated dollop of ube jam but it’s surrounded by a buttery crust with a slight tinge of salt for contrast. Even if you don’t have this awesome ube jam in possession you can use almost any filling including Nutella!
Thumbprint Cookies featuring Ube Jam
Makes approximately 24 cookies
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar plus 1/8 cup more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup ube or other filling of your choice
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, shift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar together in a large bowl. Mix in egg and vanilla extract until creamy.
Slowly add flour mixture half a cup at a time into butter until fully incorporated.
Roll batter into 1-inch balls. Rolls balls in remaining sugar.
Create an indent in each dough ball by lightly pressing the back of a 1/2 teaspoon.
Fill each cookie with ube and bake for 14-15 minutes until lightly brown.