Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Pizzelles

 I was recently asked by Dominique of Gusto and Grace to participate in an Online Cookie Swap for the Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!  Today I'll be covering the traditional Italian Pizzelle, but be sure to check in with these other great bloggers for their recipes and great content too! 

When I think back to Christmas Past and baking, I am immediately transported back to my Grandma Joyce's kitchen in the tiny little town of Garmantown in western Pennsylvania.  This region of the country is known for their specialty cookies.  Not just your run of the mill chocolate chip, but fancy and special cookies always abounded and especially so at Christmas time.  My grandmother's table would be filled with nut horns, lady fingers, Italian wedding cookies and at least three variations of Pizzelles!  Western Pennsylvania is, after all, the Great Keepers of the Cookie Table Tradition.  You can read all about that awesomeness here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/dining/16cookies.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Now back to the Pizzelles!  Pizzelles are pretty and fancy, but SO easy to make.  And in keeping with the theme of my blog, they are a perfect simple cookie for your little ones to help with.  I should also mention that it doesn't hurt that they're only about 30 calories each making them the guilt free Christmas cookie option! 

In order to make Pizzelles, you will need a Pizzelle Press.  BUT once you see how simple, fancy and tasty these cookies are, you'll want to buy one of your own!  This is the Pizzelle Press I have:  

Cuisinart WM-PZ2 Pizzelle Press 

Cuisinart WM-PZ2 Pizzelle Press 

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Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 Cup white sugar
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:  

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick
  2. Stir in melted butter and vanilla 
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then combine with batter until smooth
  4. Preheat your Pizzelle Press and brush with oil if not using a press with nonstick plates.  If you're using the Cuisinart Pizzelle Press listed above, I usually keep my setting around 3.5-4.  With the size of the wells, you need an exact single Tablespoon for each cookie.  You may have to experiment with heat settings and amount of batter depending on which kind of press you are using.  If your press does not have an indicator light to tell you when each cookie is finished, wait for the iron to stop steaming (approximately 20-45 seconds) before removing.
  5. After you remove the Pizzelle, place on a flat surface to cool completely.  Avoid stacking until cool to prevent them from curling.  

Variations:  

  1. For Chocolate Pizzelles:  Add 1/2 Cup cocoa sifted together with the flour and baking powder, 1/4 Cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder.  
  2. For traditional Anise flavored Pizzelles, replace vanilla extract in original recipe with Anise extract instead 
  3. Pizzelles make great "ends" for ice cream sandwiches or roll them while warm for Cannoli shells!
My baking buddy, Holiday Jane, carefully watching for the Pizzelle Press indicator light to turn green! 

My baking buddy, Holiday Jane, carefully watching for the Pizzelle Press indicator light to turn green! 

Pizzelles are a perfect cookie for everyone! 

Pizzelles are a perfect cookie for everyone!