Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies that are thin, delicate, and flavored with either anise, lemon, vanilla, or almond. The cookie batter is cooked in a pizzelle iron that is like a small waffle iron. The irons can be placed directly on the stovetop or electric versions are also available. They typically have a snowflake or flower pattern on both sides and produce thin golden brown wafers that turn crisp once cooled.
The first pizzelle cookies were made in the region of Abruzzo in Central Italy back in the 8th century. Some irons were embossed with family initials or other patterns to make them individual to each family. Today, pizzelle cookies are still popular at Christmas and Easter and are sometimes given as wedding or shower gifts. Pizzelle are standout cookies at bake sales or cookie swaps because they are so different and beautiful, especially when piled up in a bag with a bow.
- 1 3/4 all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon anise extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the pizzelle maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until thick and light, about 4 minutes.
Mix in the anise seeds and anise extract.
Beat in the melted butter.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended, about 1 minute.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter in the center of each pizzelle mold. Close the cover and bake until lightly golden. This will take about 90 seconds depending on your maker and preference for browning.
When the pizzelle are ready, slide off the mold with a spatula.
If a classic flat pizzelle cookie is desired, cool on a wire rack.
When they are freshly made, pizzelle are pliable and can be molded into various forms. Shape warm pizzelle over a small custard dish to create edible bowls. Once cool, coat the inside of the pizzelle bowl with melted chocolate and use to serve ice cream, custard, or fruit. Roll warm pizzelle cookies over a wooden spoon to create a “taco shell” shape. Serve with scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, custard, fruit, sprinkles, or other candy toppings to make sweet dessert taco treats.
If you wish to shape your pizzelle, remove the cooked pizzelle from the maker and shape it immediately while still warm. The other pizzelle will remain warm and pliable on the maker until you are ready to remove it for shaping. While shaping pizzelles, use an oven mitt. They are quite hot.
- When the pizzelle are cool and crisp, store in an airtight container. Pizzelle can also be frozen when cooled and plastic-wrapped in groups of six and placed in airtight containers for up to three months.
Although anise-flavored pizzelle cookies are traditional, this basic recipe can be prepared in several variations. Instead of the anise extract and anise seeds, try these mix-ins.
- Plain pizzelle: 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Almond pizzelle: 1 tablespoon almond extract or 2 tablespoons Amaretto
- Citrus pizzelle: 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange or lemon zest
- Chocolate pizzelle: 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the flour mixture, and an additional 3 tablespoons sugar