I recently posted a video of myself making this recipe. Check it out HERE.
A reader named Esther wrote in to the Official Site and asked me to post some traditional Italian recipes. Now, I’m definitely not the most domestic person in the world, but I’ve picked up a few things here and there and I thought that since my Italian grandmother’s name was also “Esther”, that I would begin by posting her recipe for pizzelles.
I was in a pizzelle-making frenzy in March and started experimenting on her recipe with various flavors that were all a bit hit. It left me, however, with hundreds (and I mean that literally – hundreds!) of pizzelles to give away. Fortunately no one complained when I showed up for dinner / a party / a business meeting with a tray of cookies.
First thing you need is a pizzelle iron. I’m a big fan of the CucinaPro 220-05P Pizzelle Baker, which I purchased on Amazon. They make a lot of pizzelle irons now that have non-stick plates but in reviews I read that these make the pizzelles softer than they’re meant to be, whereas the steel plates give them that authentic, break-your-teeth crispiness that Grandma’s always had. I read on a message board somewhere (I don’t know if its true so dont’ quote me) that Cucina Pro bought the smaller, family-owned pizzelle iron company that most bakers in the 50′s and 60′s would be familiar with, slapped a new label on it and whallah! The CucinaPro 220-05P Pizzelle Baker. Regardless, *I* like it, though I remember Grandma’s being a bit thinner. But that may just be my imagination.
As I mentioned in my “About Me” section, though my grandmother grew up in a household where they spoke Italian, cooked Italian, were all Italian, she was a petite woman who waged a war on carbs, greatly limiting the amount of Italian food she would then cook for us younger generations. In that same how-can-you-be-Italian theme she hated anise, which seems to be a staple in a lot of Italian baking. The original pizzelle recipe, in her own handwriting, includes anise, but she then scratched it out and instead added orange rind and juice to create a “citrus” version. She also had a note on the back about “chocolate” pizzelles. I’m including the original recipe (and images of my grandmother’s recipe cards!) first and then, below it, will add some of the variations I’ve tried.
On the front of the recipe card, she added the note that its the Pizzelle Recipe “with iron”, which makes me wonder if there was ever a way to make them without??
“Pre-heat iron 15 mins.
1/2 dozen eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter (melted)
1/2 teaspoon anise” (doesn’t specify seeds or flavoring… I used flavoring)
“1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon (flavoring)
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups flour
(optional: orange rind & honey)” –> see below
“Mix dough and chill. Roll in balls & drop on iron.”
Doesn’t get much simpler than that
And on the back:
To this recipe add:
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder”
I also omitted the anise from the chocolate ones.
Grandma’s Citrus: Omit the vanilla & anise and an unspecified amount of honey and orange rind. For me, the more the better. The flavors somehow “mute” once you press the dough. I also added the juice of the orange.
Fudge: 1 cup cocoa powder (or more, based on taste), 1/4-1/2 cup instant coffee and 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar, omit anise.
Peanut Butter: Replace the butter with creamy peanut butter, omit anise.
Ginger: Omit anise, add 1/2 tsp more lemon extract and ginger powder (or fresh grated ginger) to taste
Almond: Omit anise and lemon, add 2 tsp almond extract and 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar. Adding slivered or bits of shaved almond would also probably be good.
I also eventually want to try maple (maple extract & brown sugar), rum (rum extract and…?), Nutella (chocolate / hazelnut) and perhaps a “cappuccino” type, with instant coffee and vanilla extract.
Feel free to play around with it – its fun and really hard to screw up!
This is exactly what I was looking for. I just got my pizzelle iron and am looking forward to making these on Christmas eve with the grandkids…something I remember having years ago from their great grandmother. Thank you so much for sharing.