How to Make a Pizzelle
Traditionally, the pizzelle cookie dough or batter was put into a pizzelle iron, which resembles a waffle iron. The pizzelle iron was held by hand over an open fire or a hot burner on the stovetop. Today electric pizzelle makers are available and no stove is required. Typically, the pizzelle maker stamps a snowflake or floral pattern on one side and a waffle pattern on the other side of this thin golden-brown cookie, which has a crisp texture once it is cooled. Pizzelles, when still hot, can be formed into cylinders, cones and mini-baskets that can hold a wide variety of delicious fillings.
HOW TO MAKE A PIZZELLE (with an electric pizzelle baker)
Preheat baker according to manufacturers directions.
Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter on each grid pattern.
You may want to use 2 spoons to place the batter on the grid, using the second spoon to push the batter off of the other spoon. You will find that by placing the batter slightly behind the center of the pattern, your pizzelles will come out closer to a round shape. This is because, as you close the baker, the batter squeezes forward slightly. Close the baker and clamp the handles together.
Baking will take 30-40 seconds, depending on how brown you like them and the consistency of the batter. Remove the pizzelles from the grid with a fork or spatula. Place on a paper towel to cool. If you wish to shape your pizzelles, do so by removing one from the grid and immediately shaping it while still warm.
The other pizzelle will remain warm and pliable until you are ready to remove it for shaping.
Store pizzelles in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.
When exposed to air the pizzelles will absorb moisture and become limp.
If this happens, put them in a hot oven for a short time and they will regain their crispness.
HOW TO SHAPE A PIZZELLE
To make cones for ice cream or other fillings:
Use a wooden shaping cone; while the pizzelle is still hot and soft, gently wrap it around the cone. It will quickly harden to that shape. Hot pizzelles can be placed in muffin tin or ramekins to shape into cups. Gently press the pizzelle against the bottom on the muffin cavity, pleating the top edge of the cookie. Allow to cool, remove, and then fill with gelato, ice cream, fruit, etc.
To make ice cream sandwiches:
Do not use the latch to hook the griddle plates together during the baking process. The finished cookies will be slightly puffier. Use pints of ice cream that come in cylindical containers. With a serrated knife, cut the ice cream into thick slices. Place an ice cream slice on a pizzelle and top with a second cookie. Serve immediately or wrap sandwiches individually and freeze for up to 1 month.
To make cannoli shells:
Hot pizzelles can also be wrapped around metal cannoli forms and allowed to harden into shape. Fill with any traditional cannoli filling.
A pizzelle is a traditional Italian waffle cookie made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter or vegetable oil, and flavoring (often vanilla, anise, or lemon zest.). Pizzelles can be hard and crisp or soft and chewy depending on the ingredients and method of preparation. The name "pizzelle" comes from the Italian word for "round" and "flat" (pizze); this is also the meaning of the word pizza. Many other cultures have developed a pizzelle-type cookie as part of their culture. It is known to be one of the oldest cookies.
Pizzelles were originally made in the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy to mark an annual celebration. Over time it became tradition to use pizzelles to celebrate any holiday or festive occasion, but they are especially common in Italian homes at Christmas and Easter. Early pizzelles often were embossed with the family crest or some hint of the village of origin.
Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray presents sixty-five recipes for the delicious, festive cookies that brighten every Italian home, at the holidays and all year-round.