If you follow me on instagram then you’ve no doubt seen me post about the Warm Belly Bakery in Chicago’s West Loop. This bakery is owned by a friend of ours, Joe, who has been doing some amazing thing with cookies. Now I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, what all can you do with cookies that hasn’t already been done? Well, how about taking ‘Ube’, a purple Yam that is extremely popular in Filipino desserts, and creating a cookie based on it.
Sure, Filipinos have been making desserts out of Ube for centuries, but you’re more likely to find Ube Cake, Ube Cupcakes, or even Ube pancakes before you’ll find an Ube cookie. And that’s precisely why Joe at Warm Belly Bakery decided to give it a shot… and boy did he succeed.
Warm Belly Bakery
First, lets talk a little about the bakery itself before we dive into the Ube cookie it’s quickly becoming famous for. Warm Belly Bakery opened in 2015 in the West Loop of Chicago and has been dominating the cookie scene in the city ever since, but these aren’t your average cookies. At first glance they don’t even look like cookies, to be honest. They look like small little balls of cooked dough, as opposed to a traditional cookie that is more flat and circular. And in addition to being more dense than a traditional cookie, they are usually topped with things you won’t find on normal cookies, things like fruity pebbles and Ube frosting.
In addition to some of those ‘out there’ flavors of cookies, you will also find more basic recipes like chocolate chip with nuts, which is still my favorite, but even those are leaps and bounds above your traditional cookie, I don’t care where it’s from.
In addition to of 70 different types of different cookies, which rotate on a daily basis, they also offer pastries, coffee and ice cream as well. The coffee is a special “Warm Belly Blend” provided by Dark Matter Coffee, as well as Ice Cream by Bobtail in Lakeview.
Warm Belly Bakery is a great place to swing by on your way to work for a breakfast cookie and a coffee, in addition to being a place to bring the kids on the weekends for one of their many kid-friendly events. We’ve brought our kids to see Santa in their event space next door, as well as to see Poppy from the movie Trolls.
All-in-all, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the bakery. The food is amazing, the staff is friendly, and Joe is always floating around to help you make a decision on which cookie to try next.
And, on top of that, one of the benefits to being friends with Joe is that you get to try new flavors that he’s testing. There’s some great things on the horizon for Warm Belly Bakery. It’s definitely worth the hype.
Now for what we really wanted to talk about, those delicious, purply drops of heaven, the Ube Cookies. As I mentioned above, Ube is a type of yam that has a very bright purple color that a lot of Filipinos use in various desserts, and seeing as how Joe is Filipino, it only made sense for him to build a cookie recipe based on Ube.
Now, while I am married to a Filipino woman, and have been around Filipino food for over 12 years now, the Ube cake that would appear at parties never really appealed to me, and I tended to stay away from him despite my wife’s encouragement. I don’t know, I just heard the word ‘yam’ and thought it was weird that they were making a cake out of a sweet potato and not fries… Something about that just didn’t sit well with me. And I had been tricked before by Filipino food, so I wasn’t willing to take another risk… boy was I wrong.
While I still haven’t had the Ube cake, I have had the Ube cookies that Joe has created, and I can honestly say that they are delicious. The Ube is built into every piece of the cookie, from the cookie itself, to the frosting on top. If you’re not sure about Ube, give one of these cookies a try and see if it changes your mind.
The cookies also stand out because the Ube itself is a deep purple color, which displays itself prominently in the cookie… not to mention in the display inside the bakery. We’ve hung out at the bakery a few times and it’s amazing how many people are just drawn to the color of the cookie, and refuse to choose any other cookie before they know what’s going on with the purple one. I mean, the last time we were there, I think it was like 3PM on a Saturday and Joe had already sold out of all of the Ube cookies they made for that day, as well as the ones they were saving for the next day. They had to run an emergency baking session just to keep up with the demand, it’s crazy!
The Ube cookies are blowing up online, everyone from Thrillist to the Food Network have been talking up these cookies like they are the greatest thing since sliced bread.
We can’t say enough nice things about Joe and Warm Belly Bakery, so if you have a chance, do yourself a favor and stop on by and pick up a cookie or 12… It’s impossible not to want to try them all, so don’t limit yourself to just one. And be sure to check out their Facebook page to see which new recipe they are going to feature next… I’m still dying to try one of the s’mores cookies, or the peanut butter chocolate chip…[image at top courtesy of Bdet412]