Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pizzelle or Italian Waffle Cookies

Pizzelle, also known as Italian Waffle cookies, can trace their origin back to ancient Roman times. They are simply made with sugar, eggs, flour, butter or oil; personally I believe using butter gives the cookies a better flavor and texture.  Flavorings are generally vanilla, anise, lemon, caramel or chocolate. As with Black and White Cookies, a pizzella (singular)can have a combination of half vanilla, half chocolate. You can always be daring and add mint extract to the chocolate batter or finely crushed hazelnut meal to the flour. Think of this as using a basic cookie dough, or in this case, batter, recipe and adding your imagination.

Depending on the variations in ingredient amounts and cooking times on the pizzelle press, the cookies can be either hard and crisp or soft and chewy. They are seen often at Italian weddings, rolled into a cone and filled with cannoli cream (ricotta cheese mixed with sugar). As a sandwich cookie, a filling of cannoli cream or hazelnut spread can be smeared between two cookies. However, the hard and crisp variety is too delicate to withstand a layer of firm ice cream for a sandwich; but is delicious as a crushed topping instead.  Although, a thicker made pizzella is exactly what is used to make those waffle cones you get at the local ice cream shoppe.

The press itself costs approximately $50 and can create 2-4 pizzelle, depending on the size in diameter being "baked". There is also a variety of designs that can be pressed upon the batter; the most popular being a snowflake or star.  If you're not inclined to buy a press and make your own pizzelle; they are usually available in the bakery section of major supermarkets; or at online stores.

A serving of six (4 inch) cookies is about 140 calories, containing 6 grams of fat and 19 grams of carbohydrates. Pair this with fresh fruit and it makes an excellent meal in itself.  If this doesn't entice you,  then I don't know what will.  Enjoy!

Basic Vanilla Pizzelle


3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder


In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until fluffy and a yellow color. Make sure the butter has cooled to room temperature before adding into the egg mixture; this will keep the eggs from curdling. Add the vanilla extract; do not over mix.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the wet ingredients until well incorporated.

Follow the instructions on the pizzelle press for batter measurements and proper cooking time. When done, remove to a wire rack for cooling.

Makes 2-3 dozen depending on size made.

Mary Cokenour

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