As someone with a deep passion for Filipino desserts, I’ve made a habit of baking with as much ube—a bright purple tuber native to the Philippines—as possible. It’s been a breeze: Ube appears in many delicious Filipino dishes, including halo-halo, cake rolls, and champorado, aka rice porridge. Best part, aside from ube’s beautiful lilac hue and subtly sweet flavor? It’s packed with anti-inflammatory properties.
Whether you’re a longtime ube-lover yourself or you’re feeling inspired to start baking with purple-colored produce for the first time, behold: the most perfect (and easy) ube brownie recipe that somehow manages to pack a whole bunch of antioxidants into a delicious dessert.
Why these ube brownies are more nutritious than your run-of-the-mill boxed brownie mix
Unlike most potatoes (and boxed brownie mixes), ube is rich in a potent antioxidant called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are the flavonoid found in plant compounds that are responsible for giving certain fruits and vegetables—like blueberries, plums, red cabbage, and ube—their deep red, blue, and purple pigments.
Anthocyanins have been also linked to a bevy of longevity-boosting benefits for health. “Research has demonstrated that anthocyanins can provide antioxidant effects that may improve cellular function, offer anti-cancer and neuroprotective properties, help with reducing inflammation, and support both immune and heart health,” Mary Purdy, MS, RD, nutrition, and sustainability advisor at Big Bold Health, previously shared with Well+Good.
The key components for making ube brownies
According to Jolina, recipe developer behind The Unlikely Baker, ube brownies are the perfect fusion of chewy, fudgy brownies and the delicious flavor of purple yams. To make them, Jolina calls for a few simple ingredients found in most standard brownie recipes, like butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. But things get way more exciting (and purple!) when ube comes into play.
In this recipe, you can find ube in two forms: extract and jam. Both of which you can buy premade. However, Jolina adamantly recommends making her ube halaya (jam) recipe from scratch, which features delicious ingredients like condensed milk, ube, and evaporated milk. “Forget those ready-made, generic ube jams at the store. Make your own ube halaya jam, and you won’t look back,” she says on her blog. The DIY recipe results in a sweet spread that’s decadent and creamy that can be used as the foundation for making several other recipes like muffins or cookies. Swoon.
And, of course, a brownie recipe wouldn’t be complete without a few (tons) of white chocolate chips. Basically, it’s safe to say when ube and brownie come together, the result is out-of-this-world good. For more ube recipes, The Unlikely Baker has you covered.
Ube brownie recipe
Yields 24 servings
1 cup unsalted butter melted and allowed to cool slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
17 oz ube jam (about 2 cups) at room temperature
2 Tbsp ube extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, then line it with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine melted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar until smooth and incorporated.
- Add the egg, ube jam, and 2 tablespoons of ube extract and stir until combined.
- Sift 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt into your ube mixture and gently stir until no significant streaks of flour remain (do not overmix). The batter will be thick.
- Gently fold in 1 cup of white chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
- Transfer into a prepared pan and spread around evenly with a spatula.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
- Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, remove from pan to cool completely, then cut into bars.
An herbalist shares the benefits of blueberries, another anthocyanin-rich food: