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Kakaové – Čokoládové Plásty (Oblátky)

May 4, 2010

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.

One of the first Loblaw's stores in Canada, 1921

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.

Pauline's house on Queen St, Leamington. Joel is talking to Diane, 1961.

The Queen St house, with Joel talking to Diane, Pauline's daughter, 1961.

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.

Pauline, Diane, her daughter and Jerry Shuster, early 1960's in front of the Queen St house.

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.

The summer before the Great Plasty Episode, Queen St, Leamington, 1967. Me in front, at the left, beside my brother Tyler. Paddy Shuster, Lily Shuster*, Joy Shuster (my mom), Milan Shuster*, Ruth Shuster*. The marked names are all Pauline's kids.

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?


Ingredients:

  • 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

Steps:

  1. Mix the sugar and cocoa in a bowl
  2. Heat the milk on low, and when warm, pour a 1/2 cup of the warm milk into the sugar and cocoa, and mix
  3. Pour the cocoa mix into the milk on the stove and blend together, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon
  4. Add the chocolate, broken into small pieces, and then the coffee, vanilla and salt
  5. Stir over low heat until smooth, and then squeeze in the lemon juice
  6. Add in the butter and stir until melted and the cream mixture is shiny, smooth and thickens
  7. Cool the cream
  8. Take the first wafer, and spread ¼ of the creamy mixture on it.
  9. Top with another wafer, and spread another ¼ of the cream on top of it.
  10. Repeat with the 3rd and 4th layers – wafers and cream, two more times.
  11. Top with the 5th wafer.
  12. Wrap the large 5 story wafer cookies with plastic wrap
  13. Place a plate on top of the wafers to press them down and place in the fridge for at least an hour or two
  14. 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.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Stan permalink
    May 5, 2010 4:17 pm

    Your Plasty overdose story is hilarious. It reminds me of when I was about 6 years old and went to a Sunday school party. I ate a bowl of yellow “candies” turned out be globes of butter.. I had never seen butter before as UK was still on strict rationing after the war. Ughhh can still taste that and was I ever sick… Needless to say I do not eat butter to this day.

    • May 5, 2010 5:03 pm

      Well, I wish it had been butter instead of Plasty that I overdosed on. Because I run into butter a lot more frequently than Plasty, and if I had avoided butter all these years, I would not have gained as much weight!

      I can’t believe you ate all that butter at one sitting! On the other hand, I probably ate that much too, in the cookies.

  2. Stan permalink
    May 5, 2010 5:23 pm

    I had completely buried it in my subconscious until I read this story. Thank you for the free therapy. It will help me with my own diet. However I fear if you write more chocolate based recipes I am finished.

    • May 5, 2010 5:38 pm

      Well, I am sorry to tell you that Pauline’s Cookbook is filled with more chocolate based recipes, so get out those jogging shoes.

  3. Mary Milec permalink
    May 5, 2010 10:01 pm

    I have a friend Mary Korcok from Kingsville who makes something that looks exactly like these cookies. She was from Glozan which is the same area in Yugoslavia. Don’t think I spelled that correctly.

  4. May 6, 2010 10:12 am

    I enjoy looking at old pictures like that. Found your recipe blog surfing around. Enjoyed the read. Thanks!

  5. Zelka Cani permalink
    July 30, 2010 8:07 am

    Hi there. The chocolate wafers are a very popular cake with Slovaks as it is easy to prepare. The sheets are very thin wafers, where as waffles are usually thick and not used for this cake recipe. I have had a look at the link you provided for the other chocolate wafers. It is almost the same recipe, they are usually all similar, have chocolate, or coffee or lemon filling.
    PS: To Mary Milec, your friend is Mary Korcok in Kingsville, the Korcok family are related to my husband who is of the Cani (Canji) family from Petrovec in Vojvodina. Gosh, we are finding family all over the place, Thank you Tonya for sharing all this with us as we manage to find relatives all over the world. Ah, how food brings us together. Mary Milec, did you have family in Pivnica? Was her surname Sec? If so, she is related to us. Regards, Zelka.

    • July 30, 2010 8:55 am

      Mary Milec and I are also related. Her husband is my second cousin. I also just found the “Sic” family from Pivnice, who happen to live close by in Canada now. Would that be the same as “Sec”?

  6. Zelka Cani permalink
    July 30, 2010 10:55 am

    Hi Tonya, Well the story keeps unravelling. My mother-in-laws maiden name was Sic, there is a family in Canada but not related even though they do know each other. The Sec family are different. The Sec family have a son-in-law whose surname is Milec and he moved with his family to Canada in the 1960’s or 1970’s and he was a pastor there. He would be roughly around 70 years of age and they do have children. My main source of this info is my mum and she is asleep at the moment, it is almost 1am here. I met Mrs. Sec when I was in Vojvodina in 1977, she is related to my mother, and then in 1997 and she soon then passed away. She was famous for making floor rugs on a weaving loom and we have some that are made by her and we are keeping them for sentimental reasons, not even using them. So I do not know if any of this information may trigger a memory somewhere. Do you still have family in Pivnica? Of which root of Suster family are you? You mentioned your family had a bakery, was that while they were still in Croatia or when they came to Pivnica? Zelka.

    • July 30, 2010 3:44 pm

      I will ask my dad about a Milec pastor here. Milec is not a common name, and that is my grandmother’s maiden name. I think I know of every Milec in Canada, and they are all related. Have you read the stories I posted back in January-April about the Milecs? I will add a page to the blog to make it easier to find them, and put them in chronological order for you. I hope to write a book about it all. Any of your relatives in WWI?

  7. Zelka Cani permalink
    July 30, 2010 11:05 am

    Mary Milec mentioned the town Glozan but was not sure how it was spelt. Glozan is the Serbian name for the town and Hlozany is its Slovak name. All the towns in Vojvodina had the Serbian version and the Slovak version of the town’s name. Pivnica is Slovak and Pivnice is the Serbian name for it. Also Bacsky Petrovec is Slovak and Backi Petrovac is in Serbian, just slight selling differences. Today, as you enter these towns they have a sign which has the name of the town in either Slovak, Serbian latin alphabet and Serbian cyrillic alphabet spelling and some will have it written in all the 3 variations depending on the town. Some towns you visit, it is like time has stopped. In some towns nothing has changed in the past 50 years, it is truly an amazing place. Zelka.

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