Sometimes recipe inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.
In this case it was my guitar teacher:
I’ve been taking lessons from Chris for almost a year now, and while we chat mostly about music, the conversation occasionally turns to other subjects. Chris knows I’m a food blogger and one day suggested that I make sylvanas – a Filipino cookie that his mom discovered during her trips to the Philipines as a nurse-recruiter.
I think he then said, “You HAVE to make these”.
So I did a little research, and this is what I learned: Sylvanas (also spelled “silvanas”) are a cookie comprised of buttercream sandwiched between two cashew meringues. And then covered in more buttercream. And then rolled in cookie or cake crumbs.
So basically all of my favorite things.
I also learned that sylvanas are the “cookie” version of Sans Rival – a Filipino cake consisting of the same ingredients.
And since I had everything I needed on-hand I got to work!
While not at all difficult (I’ve included my foolproof technique for whipping up perfect meringue), covering the sandwiches with the buttercream prior to rolling in the crumbs was a bit messy. That said, these can be made well in advance and frozen, and served straight from the freezer – so a perfect do-ahead dessert.
THAT said, these are not for the “sweet-averse”. Buttercream, meringue and cookie crumbs. No flaky sea salt. No lemon juice. Just straight up sugar. Which is how I like to roll.
Have you ever made/eaten sylvanas?
adapted from a variety of sources
3/4 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 cup Nilla wafers (or any cake or cookie you have on hand – graham crackers, pound cake, sweet biscuits, Biscoff cookies, etc. – gluten-free cookies make this recipe a perfect GF treat!)
3 egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons milk (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees; line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the cashews in a food processor and process till finely ground; transfer to a bowl. Place the Nilla wafers in the processor and process till finely ground; transfer to another bowl.
In a mixing bowl beat the egg whites on low speed using the whisk attachment, till frothy and completely covered in tiny bubbles (you shouldn’t see a “hole” in the center). Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium, gradually adding the granulated sugar. When soft peaks form when the whisk is raised, increase speed to high – beat until meringue is stiff and glossy. Gently fold in the cashews. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (or large ziploc bag with a hole snipped in the corner). Working in a spiral motion, pipe discs 1 1/2″ – 2″ in diameter onto your prepared baking sheets. Use a spoon or dampened finger to smooth out any peaks. Bake 15 – 25 minutes or till golden brown. Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool completely.
While cookies are baking and cooling, make the buttercream: Clean the mixer bowl and, using the flat blade attachment, beat the butter and confectioner’s sugar on medium-high speed till fluffy. Add the milk if buttercream seems too thick to pipe. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (or large ziploc bag with a hole snipped in the corner).
Match up the cookies in pairs of similar size. Working with half the cookies, pipe about a teaspoon of buttercream on the tops of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies, turning them over so that the flat sides are facing out; press gently to form a sandwich. Working with one sandwich at a time, pipe more buttercream around the edge. Use a knife or small angled spatula to smooth out the buttercream, using any excess to cover the top and bottom with a thin layer – roll in the cookie crumbs to encase completely. Repeat with remaining cookies; freeze for at least an hour before serving.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver