Sometimes recipe inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.

In this case it was my guitar teacher:

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

(print this recipe)

This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver

Find more cookies and wheat-free treats on Pinterest!

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  1. Cynthia on December 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Can these be cooked made ahead? If so, how far ahead and How?

    • sherisilver on December 19, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      These can be made ahead and frozen for at least a month!

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