Polvoron is the preferred spelling by Filipinos these days because it’s fancy Spanish… A few decades ago, there was a preference for nativizing spellings according to native Tagalog pronunciation and orthography, and that was when everyone naturally called it PULBURON… it’s sort of like lechon/letson/litson.
Don’t mistake the Hispanic polvoron for the Filipino pulburon though. The Latino polvoron is a shortbread cookie, often flat and round — yummy in itself but very different from what we call pulburon in the Philippines.
Pulburon is sort of like toasted flour and milk powder molded into an oval shape. So when you bite into one without being careful (1) you’ll make a powdery mess and (2) you put yourself at risk of choking on the powder. It is addictive — that’s for sure — and it evokes deep nostalgia in Filipinos. It’s one of those fun things you ate when you were a kid.
Brand names: Goldilocks, Red Ribbon, Crumblies, House of Polvoron (HOP), Chocovron / Choco Vron, Aling Conching, Sasmuan Delicacies
More recent flavors: Pinipig, Peanut
Also note that there are bakeshops in the Philippines who do make the classic Spanish/Latino/Hispanic polvoron cookies. One of them is Titay’s in Cebu.
Goldilocks is a Philippine bakeshop chain that manufactures and packages different flavors of pulburon. The Filipino word comes from the Spanish polvoron. Goldilocks calls it “shortbread cookies.” Goldilocks Canada has referred to polvoron as “Manila shortbread,” describing it as a “sweet mixture of toasted flour, milk, butter and sugar, that is then molded.”
House of Polvoron (HOP) is one of the most prominent brands of pulburon in the Philippines. The company describes pulburon on the product packaging as “powdered-milk candies” and has the tagline: “What POLVORON should BE.”