Sylvanas are cookie-sized versions of one of Filipinos most beloved cakes, Sans Rival. It’s actually one of my personal favourites, and a huge hit whenever I bring some for potlucks. After you’ve tried some, you’ll understand why.
The cake version Sans Rival has layers of cashew dacquoise, filled with buttercream (French buttercream is preferred). Using egg whites for the dacquoise and the egg yolks for the buttercream, nothing goes to waste. The smooth buttercream goes perfectly with the cashew dacquoise. And as you can imagine, this is an extremely rich dessert.
The cookie version of Sans Rival has the same components as the cake, buttercream and dacquoise. The cookie dacquoise are covered and filled with buttercream, then rolled in ground roasted cashew. Other versions use cake crumbs instead, often the commercially prepared ones.
I prefer to coat the cookies in ground nuts, as it reinforces the nutty flavours of the dacquoise. While cashews are a good choice to use for this recipe, you might want to try other nuts such as almonds or other popular versions use pistachios. As a practice, whenever I incorporate nuts in cooking or baking, I usually roast them first to give it a more intense depth of flavour.
A couple of things to point out: to pipe a uniform sized cookie dacquoise, consider creating a guide. You can trace 1.5″- 2″ circles on paper (so you can re-use it) and place it underneath the parchment paper, remove before baking. Or directly draw circles on one side of the parchment paper and turn it over when ready to pipe. The tricky part in preparing I’d say is covering each cookie with buttercream without being messy. I would usually cover the sides and top first, then placing the cookies inside the fridge to chill making the buttercream stiff. I find that makes it easier to handle and cover the bottom part of the cookie.
2 cups of unsalted butter (while the butter is cold, cut it into smaller cubes/squares and let it sit at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup ground cashew
For the Dacquoise
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and a piping bag with a plain tip.
Make the meringue in a grease free bowl, beat egg whites and add a pinch of cream of tartar. Once it forms into soft peaks, gradually add the sugar, then add vanilla. Continue to beat until stiff peaks are formed.
Fold the chopped cashew carefully without deflating the meringue. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag with a plain tip. If you don't have a piping bag with a plain tip, you can use a ziplock bag instead, just cut one corner tip.
Pipe 1.5 - 2 inches diameter, or follow the prepared guide.
Bake for 325F for about 20 - 30 minutes or until it has turn golden brown.
Once done, let it cool before applying the buttercream.
For the Buttercream
Prepare a small pot, a stand mixer (easier to use) with a wire whisk attachment and a candy thermometer.
In a small pot, combine sugar and water, stir to dissolve. Turn the stove to medium heat to bring the syrup to a boil.
While waiting for the syrup to reach a temperature of 240F, place the egg yolks in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the wire whisk attachment to beat the eggs at medium speed. Continue to beat until it thickens and becomes light in colour.
Once the sugar syrup has reached the temperature of 240F, take it off the stove .
Incorporate the syrup to the beaten egg yolks. Add the sugar in a slow and steady stream while continuously whipping the egg yolks.
Once all the sugar has been incorporated, continue to whip on medium high until the mixture has cooled. Check the bottom of the bowl, if it still feels warm, then continue to whip it. After it has sufficiently cooled down, then proceed to add butter.
With the mixer still at medium high, start adding butter, about 1 - 2 squares/cubes at a time, incorporating well after every addition. Continue to do so until all butter has been incorporated.
Remove the wire whisk attachment from your stand mixer and replace with the paddle attachment, then add vanilla. Continue to beat until the buttercream is smooth and velvety.
Putting it all together
With the flat side out, to get that smooth even top and bottom. Spread buttercream on one side of the cookie dacquoise and sandwich it with another.
Apply buttercream on the sides and top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to set the buttercream for easier handling before proceeding to apply buttercream on the bottom.
After covering the cookies with buttercream, roll into ground cashew.
Refrigerate cookies, best when they are chilled.
Assembly time took about 1 hour which I included in the prep time.