Kakaové – Čokoládové Plásty (Oblátky)
Pauline made these coffee and chocolate flavored wafer cookies only on special occasions. It was a big production, and she made huge quantities of them, storing them in tins, I guess to give them away to friends as gifts for Christmas. We called them “Plásty,” and literally the name translates to “Cocoa Chocolate Plastic Waffles”. Rest assured, there is no plastic in them.
We would either make thin, crispy waffles or buy wafers in large sheets from Loblaw’s, the popular grocery store chain in Canada in the ‘60s. Plásty tasted just like Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, which I loved as well. When Pauline and I baked at her house, we would walk (she never learned to drive) the three blocks from her house to the Loblaw’s in Leamington, Ontario to buy the ingredients, and a Coffee Crisp, and then we would walk back home with our arms full of grocery bags.
I clearly remember the Big Plásty Production Episode, which occurred when I was about four years old. It was Christmas time, and Grandma Pauline was going to make Plásty, and I was there as usual to help. I was in charge of the mixing and spreading the cream on the wafers, and I was known to stick my finger in the bowl at that time and take big licks of the filling; I was crazy about that coffee/chocolate creamy icing.
After the cookies were made and placed in the tins, Grandma and Grandpa carried the 20 or so tins up to their bedroom, and stored them at the foot of the bed. Why, I have no idea (probably to hide them from me). But I followed them, hanging back by about 15 feet or so, and when they went back downstairs, I snuck into the bedroom and worked hard to pry open one tin after another.
I ate every cookie in at least 2 or 3 of the tins. I was so full I could barely move, and I just lay there on the floor, groggy from the massive cookie binge. At some point, Grandpa came back upstairs and found me there on the floor overdosed on Plásty, and hauled me down to the kitchen to meet my fate. I was terrified of the punishment I was about to receive, but instead Grandma took one look at me in my sorrowful, queasy state, and laughed.
Since that day, I have not been able to bring myself to eat a Coffee Crisp chocolate bar, or wafers of any kind, and especially not Plásty. In fact, the smell of that coffee/chocolate filling makes me nauseous. So, I have to tell you that I did not test this recipe, because, well, you can figure it out. But I know that it is a favorite in many Slovak houses, and I am sure you will enjoy them too. Just eat them in moderation.
I was able to find only one similar recipe on the Internet in Slovak, by a woman in Vojvodina, which is where Pauline is from. I wonder if this is a cookie particular to Slovaks in that region?
- 5 cups milk
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 packages vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 2 pieces of chocolate (4 oz)
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee (Grandma always used Nescafé *)
- A pinch of salt
- juice from two lemons
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter
- 5 large wafers
- Mix the sugar and cocoa in a bowl
- Heat the milk on low, and when warm, pour a 1/2 cup of the warm milk into the sugar and cocoa, and mix
- Pour the cocoa mix into the milk on the stove and blend together, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon
- Add the chocolate, broken into small pieces, and then the coffee, vanilla and salt
- Stir over low heat until smooth, and then squeeze in the lemon juice
- Add in the butter and stir until melted and the cream mixture is shiny, smooth and thickens
- Cool the cream
- Take the first wafer, and spread ¼ of the creamy mixture on it.
- Top with another wafer, and spread another ¼ of the cream on top of it.
- Repeat with the 3rd and 4th layers – wafers and cream, two more times.
- Top with the 5th wafer.
- Wrap the large 5 story wafer cookies with plastic wrap
- Place a plate on top of the wafers to press them down and place in the fridge for at least an hour or two
- Remove the large wafer cookie from the fridge, unwrap, and slice it into diamond shapes, as pictured above
*I remember Pauline loved Nescafé. During WWII, they would send care packages back home to family in Vojvodina, and would always include a jar or two of Nescafé, as coffee was so expensive and hard to get during the war. Her family usually didn’t use the coffee, but sold it and made a tidy profit.