I love doing cookies during the fall and winter, mostly because it reminds me of my dear friend Amanda. When we were still in charge of a food publication together during college, she had the cutest and most brilliant idea to do a cookie swap for our holiday event. Seeing a variety of cookies, it was a lot of fun and it just put me in such a festive mood. I wanted to do two different kinds of cookies, using a similar base recipe, just to showcase a variety of colors and flavors that would be perfect for the fall and the winter!
For the two, we have ube (Filipino purple yam) with kaya (Singaporean coconut jam) as well as pepita with dulce de leche-pumpkin pie flan. The inspiration for the flavors was a combination of wanting to challenge myself on making something that fused traditional Asian flavors with the holidays, i.e. yams and coconut, and something that was traditional already, but with a fun twist, so combining pumpkin spice and seeds into a cookie and combining dulce de leche into pumpkin pie filling so that it won’t taste like wet cinnamon cardboard, as pumpkin pies tend to be.
For the cookie dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour (for the ube rendition, use 3/4 cups flour)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 egg (only egg white for the ube rendition)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
nutmeg, clove, cinnamon to taste (for the pepita version only)
1/4 cup pepita seeds (for pepita version only)
1/4 cup ube powder (ube version only)
1 teaspoon pitaya powder (ube version only)
1 teaspoon Murasaki sweet potato powder (ube version only)
Cream butter and sugar for 10 minutes. Add in the egg and continue mixing for another 2. Fold in all of the other ingredients. Scoop into balls and place on a lined baking tray, 2 inches apart. Chill down the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies you scooped (if you somehow managed to scoop only six large balls, like I did, bake for 17 minutes). Cool completely before removing.
For the coconut kaya:
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
Temper the egg yolk, sugar, flour, and salt with tepid coconut milk. Whisk over medium high heat until thickened and then pour through a strainer to remove lumps. Chill down before using to guarantee optimal spreadability
(yes, I know that’s not a word, but as the racist kids I went to high school would assume about me, English no good).
For the dulce de leche-pumpkin pie flan:
4 oz dulce de leche
6 oz pumpkin puree
a pinch of cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Combine ingredients and puree. Pass through a sieve three times to remove any fibrous pieces of pumpkin. Pour onto a lined sheet tray and bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. Chill down completely before pureeing and sieving again to use for the cookie filling.
Pipe the filling between two cookies. It’s not that hard.