Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies which are made from eggs, butter or vegetable oils, sugar and flour. It also includes flavoring like anise, vanilla and lemon zest. Pizzelle can be baked hard and crispy or soft and chewy which depends on the ingredients used and the preparation methods. While still hot you can form your cookies into cylinders, cones or even mini-baskets giving you a wide variety of delicious fillings.
Pizzelle is the plural while the singular form is pizzella. This is the Italian word for a flat and round object which is also the meaning for pizza. They were originally made in a region within central Italy called Arbuzzo. Over the time it has become like a tradition to use pizzelle for celebrating holidays and nearly any festive occasions.
Traditionally, pizzelle irons-which highly resembles waffle maker, were hand held over the fire or a hot burner placed on the stove. Nowadays chefs use electric pizzelle makers which do not need any stove. These pizzelle makers stamps snowflakes or floral impressions on one side of the cookies and waffle pattern on the side.
How to make a pizzella
The recipe for pizzelle calls for a batter-like dough and it is baked on a pizzella iron. Addition of powdered sugar gives them their elegant toughness. In its Italian preparation, vanilla is usually replaced by anise. Sometimes chocolate is also used. In normal conditions it should take you around 50 minutes to prepare your pizzelle.
1 cup white sugar
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of melted butter
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1. Take a large sized bowl, beat the mixture of eggs and sugar until it’s thick. Add butter and vanilla and stir. Sift together baking powder and the flour, you should then blend into the batter until the mixture is fairly smooth.
2. Now you should heat your pizzelle iron and brush it with some oil. Drop a tablespoon into each circle on the pizzelle iron. Sometimes it is advisable that you experiment with the exact amount of batter and the required baking time depending on your iron. Generally the baking time is between twenty and forty seconds or you should bake until no more steam is coming from the iron. Remove the cookies from the iron carefully using either a spatula or a fork and make sure that they cooled completely before you store them in an air tight container. When they are exposed to air the pizzelle absorbs moisture and becomes limp. This situation is corrected by heating in an oven for a short time until they regain their original crispiness.
3. If you are making chocolate pizzella, then you may need to add ¼ cup of cocoa sifted with baking powder and flour, ¼ teaspoon extra baking powder and ¼ cup of extra sugar. For chocolate mixture, the pizzelle iron requires more oiling and brushing. This is to prevent the cookies from sticking on the iron.
A wooden shaping cone is used. You should gently wrap it around the cone while it is still hot and soft. It quickly hardens onto that shape. While still hot you can place the pizzelle in ramekins or muffin to form cup shapes.