This past weekend, I did my first bit of holiday baking. I decided to mix up a batch of pizzelle cookies. I haven't made these cookies in several years and after listening to my sister talk about her baking extravaganza, I decided I would break out the old pizzelle iron once again.
Years ago, I would take the first weekend in December and bake up a storm. My sister and I would drive to my mother's house, ingredients in tow and spend the weekend baking. Sun up to sun down and more, we would make about a dozen different kind of cookies, along with nut roll (kolachy) and some candies/fudge. For some reason, we stopped getting together. I can't remember why, probably because one year we couldn't work the dates out and went out on our own in the baking frenzy. I eventually cut back on the amount of cookies made and at one time, just made one kind, but a lot of them to give away to friends and neighbors. It wasn't until I decided to host a cookie party a few years ago that I my family was able to enjoy a variety of cookies on their Christmas Cookie tray once again.
My sister however, has remained true and has mastered the holiday baking marathon. She takes two days and pounds out about a dozen varieties of cookies. (I usually count on her to bring dessert at Christmas.) She inspired me to bake a little more. So, in honor of her, my mother who gave me my first pizzelle iron and my Grandma Rosso who gave us the recipe, I am happy to share our pizzelle recipe.
Now, a lot of people don't like pizzelles because they have only tasted ones that are heavy on the anise flavoring. Anise is a crucial ingredient, but it is not the only flavoring we use. We have a special blend so to speak, that makes for a milder flavored pizzelle. A couple of other secrets, we don't store our cookies in an air-tight container. They get better as they age....we store them in a paper bag covered with a cotton dish towel. Don't ask me why- it's just the way it's done. And because the recipe makes so many cookies, you undoubtedly will have leftovers after Christmas. They are best served in the morning with coffee, for dunking if you prefer.
Grandma Rosso's Pizzelle's
1 1b butter (melted and cooled)
1 dozen eggs (yes...that is correct)
3 1/2 cups sugar
Mix these first three ingredients well, then add-
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbl. lemon extract
2 tbl. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. anise extract
1/2 tsp salt
12 cups of flour ( I mix in 2 cups at a time)
Mix well with mixer in the largest mixing bowl you have...when done, roll into walnut sized balls and press in pizzelle iron. This recipe makes 12 dozen or so- and the bad news, you can only make two at a time. I usually press in iron for 30-45 seconds, until golden- but not brown. Cool completely before stacking and storing. (They will be soft but harden up as cooling.)
They look adorable package in cellophane bags and you'll be the hit of your neighborhood or office if you share these delights. I am a bit of a pizzelle snob, in that I won't eat store bought pizzelles, (I scoff!) or other people's pizzelles. I only like our family recipe. Which I might add, there was a bit of a family feud regarding the pizzelles. My grandfather's sisters (all 100% Italian) thought they made the best. Their cookie was a slightly crispier cookie. My grandmother's, (100% Hungarian married to a 100% Italian man) who developed her own flavoring (with the addition of the lemon extract) were a little thicker. although, I liked them both, I still prefer only our family pizzelles and am partial to ours.
**Special note- you must use a pizzelle iron. Available online or at any kitchen speciality store or any Italian speciality food store.