Practically Perfect Pizzelles

Ooh...so pretty!

Ooh…so pretty!

A while back, Jerry took a bite out of an Italian pizelle (which I soon learned was an anise flavored cookie that looks like a super-thin waffle) and said, “If you’d like to learn to bake these, that would be great.” When I still hadn’t gotten the hint months later, he said it again.

Jerry doesn’t ask for much. Actually, he doesn’t ask for anything. So, I figured it was about time to roll up my sleeves and make some pizelles!

Never having eaten the things, let alone baked them, some research was in order. I found a great blog with lots of helpful hints, but the tips were for thicker cookies. I wanted to go thin.

Another website’s recipe seemed promising, but resulted in cookies that tasted too much like vanilla and not at all like anise. Fantastic, but not quite what I wanted.

So, with thanks to both the above-mentioned sources, I came up with my own variation. The cookies turned out great, if I do say so myself.  My method was not passed down by grandmothers through the generations.  I don’t have Italian grandmothers.  I’m sure my cookies will never be considered authentic, but they sure are tasty!

And pretty.  Did I mention they were pretty?

And pretty. Did I mention they were pretty?

“Italian” Pizzelles

3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tablespoon anise extract
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream together eggs and sugar. Add cooled butter, vanilla, and anise.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix all ingredients together until well combined.

Ready for some fun?

Ready for some fun?

Congrats. You have batter. That was the easy part. Now, it’s all about finding a technique that works for you. Here are some tips that helped me.

1.  I found the batter a little easier to handle when it was cold.  So, I put it in the fridge for a few minutes before trying to scoop it out.

2.  The pizzelle iron instructions suggested using a heaping tablespoon of dough, but I preferred a true tablespoon.  As the cookies tend to wiggle from one side to the other in the iron, I liked to have the mold underfilled, not overfilled.  (I took the overfilled rejects into work, where one of my co-workers pointed out that a cookie that’s “too large” is never a bad thing.)

3.  Once I measured a tablespoon of batter, I used another spoon to scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet, and used my fingertips to form it into a somewhat round shape.  This helped later, when I was trying to get the batter perfectly positioned on the mold.

4.  When the cookie sheet was filled with little balls of dough, I put the unscooped batter back in the fridge to stay cold.

5.  I placed the ball of dough ever-so-slightly behind the center of my pizzelle iron.  It tends to smoosh forward when you close the top.  Colder batter smooshes further, so as the batter warms up, you have to adjust your placement.

6.  Once the hinge was closed, I counted to 25.  Yes, I could have set a timer, but my fingers were sticky with dough!

Piles and piles of pretty pizzelles.

Piles and piles of pretty pizzelles.

In the end, I had about a bazillion pizzelles.  (Yes, that’s an accurate count.)  Like I said, it took me three batches to get it right.  It probably won’t take you three batches to find your groove.  Just be prepared for the first batch to be less-than-perfect.

I took the rejects to work, where they were gobbled up by co-workers who pronounced them “super tasty.”  People don’t seem to mind eating an overfilled pizzelle, or an off-center pizzelle, or even a pizzelle with holes in it.

What kind of pizzelle do people avoid eating?

Burnt pizzelle...

Burnt pizzelle…

Like most cookies, pizzelles don’t taste good when they’re charred.

In an airtight container, pizzelles should last for a while.  The Food Blogga says “a couple of weeks.”  Yes, I have a bazillion of these things to eat through, but I’ll have lots of help.  I really doubt they’ll hang around long enough to go bad.

Whew!  That's a lot of practically perfect pizzelles!

Whew! That’s a lot of practically perfect pizzelles!

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One Comment to “Practically Perfect Pizzelles”

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