petrossian_fondue.jpg

petrossian_cake.jpg

Italian Pizzelle Cookies

by Susan Russo
Print Email

pizzelle1.jpgMy grandmother, Nan, loved to receive shirt boxes at Christmas every year. Not shirts, just the boxes. After Christmas, my mom and I would bring them over her house, where she would stack them in a closet, then insist we sit down at the kitchen table and have something to eat.

Wondering what she did with all those boxes? She used them store her pizzelle cookies. She needed a lot of boxes because she made a lot of pizzelles – for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. It's not just my grandmother, all Italians enjoy them for celebrations.

Pizzelles are round Italian waffle-like cookies made from flour, sugar, eggs, and butter and are typically flavored with anise or vanilla. The name pizzelle comes from the Italian pizze, meaning "flat" or "round."

Believed to be the oldest cookie in Italy, pizzelle have an unusual past. According to legend, in 700 BCE, snakes had infested Abruzzo, in south central Italy, and after they were banished, the townspeople celebrated by eating pizzelle. To this day, they are eaten to celebrate the Festival of the Snakes, now known as the Feast Day of San Domenico.

Pizzelles were originally baked over open fire using irons that were embossed with a family or village crest. Today they are made using a pizzelle iron, which is similar to a waffle iron, but has an attractive floral pattern rather than a grid.

pizzellemaker.jpgI can still picture my grandmother standing at her kitchen counter making pizzelle. She would pour the thick batter onto the iron, close the long-handled cover, and wait for the sizzling sound of the batter baking. When she lifted the cover, there would be two perfect flower-embossed pizzelle. It would takes hours to make them, and the aroma of anise would perfume her tiny apartment.

Nan is 99 years old and in a nursing home now. Thanks to her son-in-law, my dad, her tradition is alive and well. He recently made a batch and FedExed them to us. Just smelling the anise brought me right back to Nan's little kitchen. She would be thrilled to know that her pizzelle are on my blog for so many people to appreciate; they were her pride and glory.

Note: Most pizzelle recipes call for anise extract, but Dad uses actual anise seed, which is more flavorful. Remember, you need a Pizzelle Baker to make these cookies.


Pizzelle
This recipe makes a thicker, firmer pizzelle--my family's favorite.

6 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise seeds
4 tablespoons baking powder
7 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat pizzelle iron. Coat with cooking spray and wipe off excess with a paper towel. You do not have to re-apply.

Beat eggs and sugar. Add cooled melted butter, vanilla extract, and anise seeds. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl and add to the egg mixture. Batter will have a dough-like consistency. With your hands, roll into one-inch round balls and place in the center of the pizzelle iron grids. Close the cover of the iron and bake for about 45 seconds, or until golden brown. Remove from iron and place on a cookie rack to cool.

Dust with confectioner's before serving, if desired.

Pizzelle will last for a couple of weeks if stored in an air-tight container and kept in a cool area.


If you prefer a thinner pizzelle, then follow these instructions:

6 eggs
1½ cups sugar
1/2 pound (1 cup) butter, melted
1 teaspoon anise seeds or extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3½ cups all-purpose flour

Follow baking instructions from above.

Other flavor options include:

1. Omit vanilla and anise extract and add 2 tsp rum and 2 tsp grated orange peel.
2. Omit vanilla and anise extract and add 1 Tbsp almond extract and 1 cup finely chopped almonds.

 

Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of two upcoming books that will be published in the fall of 2010.    

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

Miss Macaron
New York
by Alexis Siemons

bisous1.jpgI've never been the type to have a candy drawer or crave chocolate. Growing up, I would rather have a savory snack than give myself a sugar rush. There was one sweet spoonful that sent me...

Read more...
An Evening at Trois Mec
Los Angeles
by Lisa Dinsmore

ludoBefore Trois Mec opened, being able to claim you attended one of Chef Ludo Lefebvre's infamous LudoBites pop-ups was sort of a badge of honor amongst Angelenos. An elusive and super cool...

Read more...
The Providores and Tapas Room
London - British Isles
by Anna Harari

yog.jpg Can we talk about how strange a yoga class in London is?  Stretch out your kidneys, she kept saying.  Elongate your kidneys.  Her British accent easing me from one pose to another…but…kidneys? ...

Read more...
Noah's Arzak
Europe
by Bruce Cormicle

arzakoutside.jpgDateline 2011:  San Sebastian, Spain – 3 Star Michelin "Arzak"
(Number 8 in the Top Fifty Restaurant's of the World poll)

God may have texted Noah to board the Ark with his family, seven pairs...

Read more...