Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies made with flour, sugar, eggs, butter or oil and flavoring. The basic recipe calls for vanilla extract and anise seeds, but it can be easily adapted to use any citrus zest or oil, amaretto, rum, almond extract, or even cocoa powder. I usually make mine with vanilla extract since they are usually consumed by kids who may not like anise seeds.
Pizzelle are made in a pizzelle iron which looks similar to a waffle iron, but with flatter grooves. The resulting cookie is flat with a snowflake like pattern stamped on one side and waffle pattern on the other side. The cookie can be hard and crispy or softer and chewy, depending on the ingredients. The recipe below is for hard and crispy since that’s what my family likes.
If you’ve only tasted the store-bought packaged pizzelle, you’re really missing out. Homemade pizzelle are so much tastier! Sure, you have to invest about $45 or more on a pizzelle iron, but it’s worth the investment. Making pizzelle is super easy and worth the bit of effort. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like pizzelle! Pizzelle can also be shaped to make waffle cones for ice cream, cups for fruits and custards or cannoli shells. I’ve read they can be used to make ice cream sandwiches as well, but I haven’t tried that yet.
Soso chose pizzelle to bring to school as her birthday treat so I made a double batch, one with vanilla and one with cocoa. Of course Peanut couldn’t wait to sample.
I was a little concerned about packaging since they are large and fragile. Luckily, I was able to fit both batches, about 60 pizzelle into the large baking pan. I told Soso to carry them carefully to school and fortunately, only a few broke. She was happy to report that the pizzelle was universally popular and some of her classmates even thanked her profusely for the tasty treat!
Here’s a photo of the just done pizzelle still in the iron at 30 seconds. You can see the slightly golden color. If you like more toasted taste, just increase the time by 5 seconds or more. Experiment! I’ve done up to 45 seconds and resulting cookie is browner and there’s a more of a “burnt” taste, but not in a bad way.
Yields: 30 cookies Time: 45 mins
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted and cooled butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
amaretto and rum
cocoa powder (add 3 tbs cocoa powder and 3 tbs sugar and leave out anise)
Preheat the pizzelle iron per manufacturer’s instructions. Lightly coat the iron grids with vegetable oil or spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Beat in oil and vanilla until blended. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold in until just blended. The dough should be a little stiff.
Place a tablespoon of the dough just behind the center of the pattern, close the lid and cook for 30 seconds. Open the lid and remove the pizzelle to a cooling surface. Store cooled pizzelle in an airtight container.
- Use two spoons, one to scoop out the dough and one to scrape it onto the pizzelle iron.
- If making chocolate pizzelle, use a little less flour for thinner cookies. Otherwise, the pizzelle comes out a little thicker.
- Dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for a couple of days. Just let it warm up a little before cooking.
- Pizzelle stored in an airtight container will keep for a couple of weeks. I have heard pizzelle can be put in the freezer, but I haven’t tried it.