Heather is happiest when taking a beautiful photo, creating something in her kitchen, or elbows-deep in a DIY project.
What Are Pizzelles?
Pizzelles are traditional Italian cookies that are made using an iron or press (similar to a waffle maker). You may have heard this cookie pronounced "PIT-sell" or "PIT-selly." These cookies are traditionally flavored with Anise and sprinkled with powdered sugar. In my family, we made and ate dozens and dozens of pizzelles during the Christmas season. I've been making them since I was a little girl. Now as an adult, I have my own iron and continue this tradition.
I got a hankering for pizzelles the other day—and since Christmas is still two months away, I decided to experiment with pumpkin and Halloween sprinkles. They came out so pretty and yummy! I think I may have inadvertently begun a new fall baking tradition.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
~ 50 cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Do I Need a Whole Can of Pumpkin?
There are eight ounces in one cup. Libby's 100% Pure Canned Pumpkin usually comes in 15-ounce and 29-ounce cans. This would leave you a little less than half of the can for other recipes with pumpkin. If you want to make a double batch of pizzelles, you can easily use just one 15-ounce can of pumpkin. Technically your mix will be one ounce shy of pumpkin, but I have made them this way and they came out fine. Just be sure to properly double all of your other ingredients. If you notice your can of pumpkin is 30 ounces, recheck the label to make sure it isn't Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix.
- Preheat the pizzelle press.
- Beat butter and sugars until fluffy.
- Add eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Combine well.
- Sift the remaining dry ingredients together. Add gradually to the pizzelle mix.
- Drop mixture onto centers of cookie molds. Close the iron and cook for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Remove finished cookies and lay them flat to cool.
Italian Pizzelle Iron
This is my pizzelle iron (photo above). I purchased it from a local kitchen gadget store about five years ago. You can see the price tag still on the box; I paid $39.99. It cooks two cookies at a time and also comes with a small, thick, wooden dowel for rolling warm pizzelles into cannolis. Pizzelle Irons are specialty appliances—but well worth the price. If taken care of, they can also last for a while. My mom has had and used her pizzelle iron for 30+ years and counting.
Tips for Making Pizzelles
- This pumpkin pizzelle batter is a little thicker than traditional pizzelle batters that I've worked with in the past. If you notice this too, don't be alarmed. They come out just fine.
- I remember my mom's pizzelle iron was finicky unless you knew how to sweet talk it. You had to lightly paint the plates with a little oil every now and then or the cookies would stick. Thankfully, this newer model has non-stick plates. I use a tiny bit of oil on the first set of pizzelles to get it started and then I'm good to go. If you notice your pizzelles are sticking or difficult to remove, try brushing a little oil onto your iron, especially in the design grooves.
- If this is your first time making pizzelles, it may take you a few cookies to get used to how much batter to use. After a while, you can easily tell how much batter is too much or too little. A little practice each time will yield perfect pizzelles.
- Always be sure to drop the batter in the center of the cookie design. This will ensure pretty and round cookies while preventing messes and dripping.
Italian Waffle Cookies
The pizzelle iron looks a bit like a waffle iron. It's designed in such a way that every cookie will be two-sided and both sides of the same cookie are different designs. The cookie on the left looks very floral while the one on the right looks similar but more like a snowflake. Pizzelles are traditionally made and served for Easter, Christmas, and also weddings. When sprinkled with powdered sugar, pizzelles look even more like snowflakes—making them one of my favorite Christmas cookies.
Making Cannolis With Pizzelle Maker
As the pizzelles cool, they will crisp up a bit and become strong enough to stack. You can also form your warm pizzelle cookies into cannolis, cones, or bowls.
For these Halloween-inspired pizzelles, I added some black and orange Wilton sprinkles for color. Add sprinkles directly to the batter and mix well to evenly distribute. Some of the sprinkles melt as the cookie bakes, creating colorful swirls and streaks.
There is a very special place in my heart for traditional pizzelles and a new spot for their pumpkin cousins. This recipe had my kitchen and house smelling heavenly—better than my fall-themed air freshener for sure! Are pizzelles a tradition in your family? Are there any special ways you make them for other celebrations? Share your experiences with me in a comment below.
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Questions & Answers
Question: Are pumpkin pizzelle cookies nice and crisp?