These cookies are a special treat for me. Every year at Christmas my two Aunts would make them. They were also featured at every family wedding I have gone to, although in the recent future, I see them less and less because the old tradition of the older generation baking the cookies for the couple happens less and less as most people have jobs these days and can’t afford all that time in the kitchen! It is sad that these traditions are being lost. So I have decided it is high time I get to making these traditional recipes with my mom, that make celebrations so special and memorable.
Anyway, back to the cookie. They are a delicious wafer cookie that is cooked on a special pizzelle iron and can be flavored in all sorts of ways. Traditionally in my family, they would be anise flavored. This year, we did anise, orange and vanilla all together and then we also added a bit of cinnamon to the last half of the batter. They are good! This is the fun of them – add your own flavor combinations or put some finely chopped nuts in! You can also shape them when they first come off the iron – you can make mini waffle cones or waffle bowls. Yum!
The thing that always struck me about these cookies are how beautiful they are, how crunchy they are (I LOVE crunchy cookies) and how quintessentially Italian they are. Now last Christmas, I was talking to Roberto about them when we were discussing holiday food traditions. I hadn’t had pizzelle in a few years, and he had never even heard of them. I couldn’t believe it! This cookie had graced the table of my family’s Christmas celebrations for generations and I had seen it as a part of other Italian Christmases. But he had never heard of them! Imagine! Again, this tells us a lot about regional Italian cooking. Being from Rome, his normal holiday cookie would be amaretti or a different kind of wafer cookie with flavored cream in the layers. I just love the food culture of Italy! So regionally specific! So of course I had to get him in on the pizzelle making too!
3 ½ cups all purpose flour ( I use unbleached)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 TBS pure anise extract
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
juice of one orange
*note: you can also use lemon, anisette, or whatever you like here
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
4 tsp baking powder
Beat eggs in a mixer adding sugar gradually, until smooth. Add cooled butter and flavorings (extracts, juices, etc). Sift flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Blend into the egg mixture until smooth. Dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by a TEASPOON.
Bake Pizelles in Pizelle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Makes @ 60 cookies.
Stay tuned next for a delicious and wonderful Sicilian cookie, and my family’s favorite,Cuccidata.