This is Vegan's Resident Mom (read: my mom) is really good at veganizing non-vegan things. Really, really good. You may recall that for Christmas this year, she veganized my favourite childhood meal Zgance and Red Sauce.
While I was born in Canada, both my parents immigrated from villages Croatia, where I can only assume there was no such thing as veganism. I grew up somewhere between old country traditions and the standard issue 1980s/1990s Canadian way of life and my elementary school lunchbox typically illustrated this fact via foodstuffs. I took the standard North American favourite PB & J sandwich pretty much everyday, but my dessert treat was often a single serving pack of Napolitanke, which never failed to perk the interests of the non-immigrant classmates peering into my lunchbox with a "What's that?".
It only took snapping a single piece off and sharing it with these buddies of mine before they were hooked. Napolitanke became a hot trading commodity on the old recess playground.
While the factory-made Napolitanke were so good, they were nothing compared to the homemade ones my mom would make for special occasions. They were my favourite of the Croatian treats not only because they tasted good, but because I was never recruited to help in the making of them. This is unlike the other famous Croatian treat, the "Peach Cookie" which I never developed a taste for because making them was this arduous task that involved rolling the cookie in food colouring and guaranteeing that my fingers would be a fluorescent red for the duration of Christmas/Easter break.
I don't remember much about the standard Napolitanke recipe although I do vaguely recall some paranoia surrounding a raw egg component arising once people became more well-versed in the fine art of food poisoning in the mid-1990s.
You don't have to worry about that here because my mom has veganized her much-loved Napolitanke! And although I am biased to vegan foods I have to say that the vegan version far surpasses the omni version - the filling is richer and more decadent while the square itself far less heavy (thanks to the lack of raw eggs, I'm assuming).
Napolitanke (Chocolate Wafer Cookies)
1 package wafer sheets (at least 5 of the long ones or 7 of the square ones pieces per pkg.)*
200 ml (approximately 7 oz) rice milk
2 cups sugar
4 oz vegan chocolate (chocolate chips work fine)
2 1/2 cups ground walnuts
22 arrowroot cookies, finely ground**
1 1/2 cups vegan margarine
*This is an example of a package of wafer sheets. Because they are an import item they can be tricky to find and I would suggest visiting a European grocer (in Kitchener-Waterloo they are available at Italo Foods). Just be sure to read the ingredients of the particular brand you find to make sure they are vegan. This is the only hassle involved in making these squares and I promise it will be worth it!
** Many brand name/supermarket brands are "accidentally vegan", just read the label!
1) In a saucepan, bring milk and sugar to a gentle simmer (just below a boil) and mix until sugar begins to melt.
2) Add the chocolate to the milk mixture and mix until smooth.
3) Add margarine by the tablespoon and mix until melted.
4) Add the cookies and walnuts and mix until well incorporated. Take off the heat and let cool until thickened and at room temperature. If you are in a hurry, place in the refrigerator until cool.
5) Prepare a large baking sheet by placing a piece of foil over the surface (enough to cover the entire giant "wafer sandwich" when finished). Place one wafer sheet on top of the foil and then spread the filling over the wafer. Repeat with additional layers until all the filling is used up. Do not put filling on top of the final wafer sheet.
6) Wrap the giant "wafer sandwich" tightly in the foil. Place a heavy book over top and place in the refrigerator. Allow 8 hours to cool (preferably overnight).
7) After it has sufficiently cooled, slice it into small squares or rectangles. The amount of servings this recipe makes depends on how you want to cut the slices. Cutting them the way you see pictured above can get you upwards of 40 squares, depending on the size of your wafer sheet (which is a frightening number but they freeze wonderfully so nothing will go to waste!)
8) Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Being that this recipe is courtesy of my mom, I unfortunately don't have step-by-step pictures to guide you through the process. The recipe is pretty self explanatory, but if you do run into any trouble while you're making it just tweet me via @ThisIsVeganBlog (my blackberry is perma-attached to my hand so I can provide assistance in real time, should you need it).