aking for a crowd is nothing new for Geleen Abenoja. Whereas rising up in Renton, Washington, she started making desserts at age 7 for dinner events along with her prolonged household, for visitor lists that might prime 50. “We’d get collectively at the least on a biweekly foundation to have dinner collectively, rejoice birthdays, particular events—and my aunts and my mother would put me in control of making sweets,” she says. 

Christmas was an excellent larger deal, with many extra relations and a three-day-long celebration that cycled by consuming, opening presents, recovering from consuming and opening presents, and consuming once more. On the dessert desk, you’d discover Abenoja’s favourite dessert known as sans rival, a standard Filipino cake fabricated from layered cashew meringue and buttercream—plus bibingka especial (rice cake topped with cheese, salted duck egg, and coconut) and turon (bananas wrapped in egg roll wrappers and fried). 

When Abenoja moved to Portland in 2012, there have been few bakeries promoting the Filipino treats she grew up with. After the restaurant the place she was working as a pastry chef shut down in the course of the pandemic, Abenoja took the leap along with her personal Filipino baked-goods pop-up, Store Halo Halo. Additionally the identify of a well-liked Filipino ice cream dessert with a wide range of jellies and different additions, halo halo means “combine combine” and refers back to the mash-up of conventional and fusion desserts Abenoja sells. Store Halo Halo has the whole lot from ube-flavored cheese-stuffed pandesal, a tackle a well-liked Filipino bread, to ardour fruit tres leches cake. This winter, Store Halo Halo will open its personal brick-and-mortar area within the Woodstock neighborhood, the place it’ll function a bakery, café, and plant store at the side of Daphne’s Botanicals, owned by fellow Filipina entrepreneur Daphne Peters.  

Store Halo Halo’s prime sellers embody ube crinkle cookies, a vibrant and cheery tackle the basic Christmastime chocolate mint crinkle. The purple-hued yam is throughout Instagram today due to its wealthy colour and delicate, marshmallow-like taste, but it surely’s lengthy performed a key position in Filipino delicacies. It’s typically boiled and mashed and made right into a jam known as ube halaya, which you can also make at residence or purchase in shops. The jam will be eaten by itself, unfold on toast, or utilized in desserts like these cookies. “Ube itself is native to the Philippines, which isn’t one thing that’s generally identified,” says Abenoja. 

And whereas now you can get ube pancake combine and ube unfold at your neighborhood Dealer Joe’s, the ingredient hasn’t at all times been straightforward to seek out at grocery shops. “Once I was rising up, if I introduced purple meals to high school for lunch, I might get made enjoyable of for it,” says Abenoja. “However I’m blissful that extra Filipino tradition and Filipino meals is making its manner into mainstream delicacies.” 

Ube Crinkle Cookies 

Makes about 15 cookies

  • 1 12 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 14 tsp salt 
  • 12 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 14 cup brown sugar 
  • 14 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 12 cup ube halaya (purple yam jam, which might normally be discovered within the canned fruit or Filipino meals aisle of your native Asian grocery retailer—strive Fubonn, SF Grocery store,
    or Hong Phat) 
  • 1 tsp ube extract 
  • Powdered sugar for coating


  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Put aside.
  2. In a big bowl, add butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Utilizing an electrical mixer, beat till gentle and fluffy. Add egg, ube halaya, and ube extract. Combine till properly mixed. 
  3. Add dry substances and blend till simply included. Chill the bowl of dough in freezer about 10 minutes. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 levels. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and put aside. 
  5. Take away dough from freezer, scoop a heaping tablespoon of it, and roll right into a ball. Roll every ball in powdered sugar till properly coated. Place dough on baking sheets and bake 15–18 minutes. Get pleasure from! 

Notes: To make this recipe vegan, substitute butter and egg with the equal of your most well-liked vegan different; Abenoja makes use of Earth Steadiness Vegan Butter and Ener-g egg replacer.