Sunday, October 26

How to Make Italian Pizzelle Cookies in 5 Easy Steps

pizzelle stacks

Pizzelles are Italian waffle-like cookies made from flour, sugar, eggs, and butter and typically flavored with anise or vanilla. The name pizzelle comes from the Italian pizze, meaning "flat" or "round."

Believed to be the oldest cookie in Italy, pizzelles have a unique history. According to legend, in 700 BCE, snakes had infested Abruzzo, in south central Italy, and after they were banished, the townspeople celebrated by eating pizzelle. To this day, pizzelles are eaten to celebrate the Festival of the Snakes, now known as the Feast Day of San Domenico.

Pizzelles were originally baked over open fire using irons that were embossed with a family or village crest. Today they are made using a pizzelle iron, which is similar to a waffle iron, but has an attractive floral pattern rather than a grid. Need a pizzelle iron? Click here for some resources or here for specific models. Don't forget to read the story about how I received my new pizzelle iron.

Makes 60 pizzelles.

This recipe makes a thicker, firmer pizzelle--my family's favorite.
Print recipe only here.

6 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (or 2) teaspoons anise seed**
1 tablespoon anise extract
4 tablespoons baking powder
7 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat pizzelle iron. Coat with cooking spray and wipe off excess with a paper towel. You do not have to re-apply.

Beat eggs and sugar. Add cooled melted butter, vanilla extract, anise seeds, and anise extract. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl and add to the egg mixture. Beat for a few minutes, or until the batter becomes thick. It will have a dough-like consistency. Knead with your hands for a couple of minutes until dough is smooth and has a sheen. With your hands, roll into one-inch round balls and place in the center of the pizzelle iron grids. Close the cover of the iron and bake for about 45 seconds, or until golden brown. Remove from iron and place on a cookie rack to cool.

Dust with confectioner's before serving, if desired.

Pizzelles will last for a couple of weeks if stored in an air-tight container and kept in a cool area.

**The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon anise seed. However, I like a stronger anise flavor, so my dad put 2 teaspoons of anise seed and 1 tablespoon of anise flavoring. With all the flour in the recipe, it's not overwhelming, but put as much or little as you'd like.

Here's a step-by-step guide showing you how to make pizzelles.

adding anise extract to the mix

1. Mixing the ingredients. Here Dad is adding anise extract to the cooled melted butter, vanilla extract, and anise seed mixture.

Dad's mixing the pizzelle dough

2. After mixing the batter with an electric beater, knead the dough by hand until smooth.

rolling the pizzelle dough into a ball

3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls.

Dad's placing the pizzelle dough on the iron

4. Place the dough balls on the center of each grid. Close the cover and bake for 45 seconds, or until golden brown. Note that every pizzelle iron is different and baking time can range from 35-70 seconds, so experiment with yours.

baked pizzelles on the iron

5. The finished pizzelles with be lightly golden brown. Remove from the grid immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack. Pizzelles will harden as they cool and will have a crisp, biscuit-like texture.

Dad's finished pizzelle

Pizzelle irons come in different beautiful designs though this simple flower pattern is most typical.

They will last for a couple of weeks if stored in an air-tight container and kept in a cool area.

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Karen said...

My first pizelle iron (which I still have) was a single iron with long handles. The handles had wood on the ends so they would stay cool. What a JOB it was to make pizelle's... ONE at a time and standing over the stove the whole time... but they were wonderful! I finally traded something in my kitchen (I forget what) with my sister for her electric 2-burner pizelle maker. I haven't made them in a few years... I'll have to have some this Christmas!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Your pizelles look beautiful Susan, but more importantly you got to share the experience of making them with your dad! I too still have the old single iron pizelle maker, I better get into the 21st century!!!!
What a kind gesture from Maryann, she's a real sweetie, she certainly did put it in the right hands. ;)

Manggy said...

I love the ornate pizzelles, Susan-- it's combining my love for cooking and design/ ornamentation :) Thank you for this step-by-step! I wonder when I'll be able to own a pizzelle maker of my own? :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh you make me want to make Pizzelle cookies now. Where ever will I put a Pizzelle Iron? Um . . . .

Anonymous said...

Loved your post about pizzelles last year!
So lovely to make them with your father.
I'm still looking for a Dutch version of a pizzelle iron but they are very hard to come by, at least the pretty ones. I don't think they make them anymore.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Thanks for sharing that recipe with us! Those Pizelle look fantastic and ever so pretty! A wonderful speciality!

cheers and have a nice week,


Culinary Wannabe said...

Love how light and delicate they look, and the history behind them is so interesting. If I didn't already have my kitchen spilling out into the other rooms of our apartment I would totally add this gadget to our collection.

Rita said...

Oh what a sweet story of generosity! I am thankful that there are still good, generous people in the world!
In Brazil we used to call this waffles, maybe because we don't really have the waffles as we know them here in the U.S.
Do you think it could be made in a savory version?

Deborah said...

I received a pizelle iron for Christmas last year, and I'm embarrassed to say that I've never used it. That's going to change, soon though!

The Italian Dish said...

Wow, your dad makes them perfectly! Mine never turn out that beautiful.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

karen-My grandmother had one of those single irons with the long handles. I wish I still had it. I think it's definitely time to take the iron out again!

marie-Oh, yeah, the future is all about the 2-grid irons. ;) She is a sweetheart.

mark- I never tire of their beauty or their delicious flavor.

tanna-I hear you. On top of the fridge or under the bed. ;)

linda-I'm not familiar with the Dutch variety. I hope you find one though.

rosa-It was my pleasure.

culinarywannabe-I know exactly what you mean.

rita-Well, they are a waffle-like cookie, so I can understand that. Savory? Do you mean adding herbs? I have never tried that actually, so I'm not sure. Let me know if you experiment and like it. Good luck!

deborah-Make them for Christmas this year!

italian dish-He's a pro after all these years. :)

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

how wonderful to make cookies with dad... gorgeous!

Elle said...

Those are perfectly bueatiful cookies! Nice to get to cook with your Dad, too. Lucky you!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. They came out perfect!

Nic said...

Aaaggghhh, why are you doing this to me?
So not fair!

Jeanne said...

What glorious cookies - and I love that the pizzelle makers have such pretty patterns! Very kind of your dad to be "celebrity chef" on your blog ;-)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

aran-It was a wonderful time indeed.

elle-I am. Thanks!

jude-You're welcome!

nic-Sorry. ;)

jeanne-Yeah, I didn't have to twist his arm. ;)

Anonymous said...

what beautiful pizelles! my aunt's husband's family has brought the tradition to us - i now have my own iron! the family recipe we use now makes them thinner and crispier, but i am excited to try your thicker version!
Also - I have used the colored sugars to give my pizelles a little bit of sparkle! I open the iron about 15 seconds into cooking, and sprinkle some sugar onto the cookies, and then close the iron again. The colored sugars melt and give a bright sparkly addition!
Thanks for the wonderful recipe and lovely family story!

Anonymous said...

Wow they look perfect!!!
I will use your dad's recipe, I have a Pizelle iron that has a Mickey Mouse design...I'm soooo excited to finaly use this gadget at this Christmas, it will be a nice addition to my cookie buffete.

Thank you for sharing

Susan from Food Blogga said...

clarissa-My nieces would adore adding sparkles to them! Thanks for the sweet idea and for your kind words.

anonymous-Mickey Mouse pizzelles? That is too funny. Happy baking!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe and the wonderful story. I have no oven at the moment and need some cookies for an event. Since I have an electric pizzelle maker (haven't used it for awhile) that's what I'm making. Even though I have hundreds of cookbooks, I like to look on the web. So glad I did and found your blog. Thanks for sharing. Fran

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Fran-I'm so glad you found my blog. Thanks for your kind words as well. It's always a pleasure to hear from new readers. Cheers!

Unknown said...

Bellissimo! Your pizzelle look great. I've been making these for years, and friends always marvel. Pizzelle look harder to make than they actually are, I believe. My mother's four-cookie iron (circa 1975) was one of very few non-negotiable items when it came to moving to Tokyo.

Susan, it was your great fri-taaa-ta entry sent to me by a friend--as a thinly veiled suggestion--that got me reading your blog. Love it!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

scooter-Welcome! I'm so glad you made the fritatta and liked it. They are wonderful, aren't they? I can believe that you would take the pizzelle iron with you wherever you moved. Once you get a good one, you should never let it go! :)

Anonymous said...

hi i loved the pizzelle recipe and your story with your dad. used other recipes but love the crispiness of these and i detect a slight taste of lemoney ( maybe just the anise ). thank you again, catherine

Pizzelle Maker said...


Thanks for sharing. I loved pizzelle so much. Will try it soon according to your guide.

Thank you

Lily M said...

Oh gosh! I loved these as a kid but completely forgot about them. Will have to try making. Thanks!

Sana said...

Thanks a lot for the recipe which was so easy to follow. I have an electric pizzelle maker which we bought in Philadelphia another life time ago. It had gathered dust on the utility room shelf until today...
Thanks to your post which had great pictures to demonstrate how to make the pizzelles it got me inspired to try them out. They turned out just great, and were so much easier to do than I had originally thought! I am planning on experimenting with different batters and flavours. Thanks once again. Sana

Susan from Food Blogga said...

sana-You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that you dusted off your pizzelle iron and made some cookies! The more pizzelle the better! Thanks for your kind note. I really do appreciate it.

Amy N said...

I'm so excited I got a pizelle maker for my birthday in Nov. I just made my first batch and they taste so yummy. But they don't look so pretty. I either had to much batter or not enough, any tips

Susan from Food Blogga said...

amy-Honestly, I'd follow this recipe next time. I've never had trouble with it. If yours didn't come out pretty, what was happening? Was it sticking? Was the batter too thin?