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Traditional Italian Pizzelle Cookies

My Italian husband and mother-in-law taught me everything I know about cooking good Italian food.

Anise pizzelles before trimming

Anise pizzelles before trimming

Pizzelles Keep for Months!

How do I know pizzelles keep for ages? One Christmas I made them and then put them away well in advance of the holiday. Well, Christmas Eve rolled around, and I couldn't find my pizzelles to put them on the platter!

I found them six months later when I was putting out lunch for my father-in-law's wake. Hesitantly, I tried a small bite—and discovered they were as crisp as they were the day I had wrapped them for storage in the big tupperware container.

From this experience I learned that pizzelles are a great choice for early Christmas baking. Even if the holiday (or whatever big occasion you're prepping for) is months away, these cookies will store for months.

My Pizzelle Iron

My husband bought my pizzelle iron from our local Italian shop. It makes four pizzelles at a time, and the size of the cookies it makes is perfect for a cookie tray. Some pizzelle irons make giant cookies that wouldn't fit well on a cookie platter.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon anise oil (or 2 teaspoons anise extract)
  • 3 cups flour
  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt together.
  2. Add flour in small amounts, alternating with oil. Add anise or other food flavoring. Note: The flavorings should be oils rather than extracts. Oils gives the cookie more flavor. Stir until the mixture is smooth in consistency.
  3. Heat the electric pizzelle iron until hot enough to cook without sticking. Drop a half teaspoon onto each side of the griddle and close firmly.
  4. Cookies are done when steam disappears from all sides of the iron. The cookies will be soft when taken from the iron and should be laid onto a cookie rack to cool and harden. You may stack your pizzelles in piles for cooling.
  5. Wrap each stack of cookies in aluminum foil. Store in an airtight container until serving. My mother-in-law had a large square tupperware container she used for these cookies.

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Chocolate pizzelles

Chocolate pizzelles

Tips and Alternatives

  • Flavor options: My mother-in-law used many different flavors when making pizzelles, but the original was anise. The other flavors that went over well were vanilla, orange, and lemon. I have also made spearmint and cherry.
  • Chocolate: To make chocolate pizzelles, substitute Hershey's unsweetened cocoa for an equal amount of flour. I normally use about 1/4 cup.
  • Dessert cups: You can also use these cookies to make dessert cups. Shape the warm pizzelles into cups and then fill them with cream cheese and fruit.
  • Yield: This recipe makes approximately 6 dozen of the larger cookies or 10 dozen of the smaller cookies.

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