Well, as I promised yesterday - today is all about Pizzelles!
First, a little background on the cookie:
A pizzelle is a traditional Italian cookie made from flour, eggs, sugar, oil, and flavoring (vanilla, anise, or lemon/orange zest).
Pizzelles can be crispy or soft depending on your taste and how they are made.
Pizzelles were originally made in the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy (where my father is from) to mark an annual celebration.
Over time it became tradition to use pizzelles to celebrate any holiday or festive occasion, but they are an everyday staple in my home.
Early pizzelles were often marked with the family's crest or some hint of the originating village.
The name "pizzelle" comes from the Italian word for "round" and "flat" (pizze). (also the meaning of the word pizza)
Many other cultures have developed a pizzelle-like cookie as part of their culture.
The pizzelle is known to be one of the oldest cookies there is.
Traditionally, the batter was put into a pizzelle iron, which resembles a waffle iron. The pizzelle iron was held by hand over an open fire or a hot burner on the stove top. (this is how I learned to make them, but it is more time consuming)
Today electric pizzelle irons are available and a stove is not needed.
The pizzelle maker normally stamps a snowflake/floral pattern on one side and a waffle pattern on the other side of this thin golden cookie, which is crisp once cooled.
Pizzelles, when hot, can be formed into cylinders, cones and baskets that can hold a variety of delicious fillings.
(Note: you will need a pizzelle iron to make these)
This is the pizzelle iron that I use:
It can be found on Amazon
(I used a stock photo - my iron is not so shiny and new)
Makes 2-3 dozen depending on the size of the pizzelle maker
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons anise extract
2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 teaspoon orange extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Optional: 3 tablespoons of anise seeds
1.) Grease pizzelle iron and turn it on. (it must be very hot)
2.) In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add sugar, mix until pale yellow.
3.) Add the oil, anise, vanilla and orange extracts.
4.) Add the baking powder, then add then the flour gradually - mix well.
5.) The batter should be soft and slightly sticky. (it can also be refrigerated for later use)
6.) Drop batter by spoonfuls onto pizzelle maker. (about 1-2 tablespoons depending on size of iron)
7.) Close and clamp the top of pizzelle iron, then cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. (steam will stop - this is a learning curve)
8.) Transfer pizzelles onto paper towels to cool.
9.) Repeat with remaining batter.
10.) Sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving or eat as is.
Optional: Remove pizzelle from iron and mold it around a pointed dowel to form a gelato cone, or take 2 pizzelles and spread softened gelato on one and sandwich them together. Then dip 1 end into chocolate sauce and enjoy.
The joy of these cookies is not only the taste, it is the fact that they are so versatile!