Sunday, December 18, 2011

Getting Creative With Pizzelles

Grandma Rose was the expert pizzelle maker in our family, and she and my mom got together every year to make them.  My mom, in turn, became a pizzelle fairy, distributing them to friends, teachers, physicians, mailmen and anyone else lucky enough to cross her path during the Christmas season.  So of course, when I got married, a pizzelle iron was among the gifts.  

Here’s what my pizzelle iron looks like today. 

Mind you, I know people who would be horrified by this, but Grandma Rose would have said that the golden-brown patina caused by decades of burnt grease is useful for "seasoning" the iron and enhances the flavor.

Pizzelle recipes are fun to tinker with.  The basic recipe is:

1 cup (two sticks) margarine
6 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
2 t. vanilla
4 t. baking powder
3.5 c. flour
1) Melt and cool one cup of margarine (be sure to use margarine – it doesn’t burn as quickly, which is important in the iron)

2) In a large bowl, combine the margarine with 1.5 cups of sugar and 2 t. vanilla. Add the eggs one at at time.
3) In a separate bowl, combine 4 t. baking powder and 3.5 c. flour., and with a hand mixer, add to the wet ingredients, about a cup at at time and beat until smooth. 

4) Put 2 t. on each side of a hot iron and bake for about 30 seconds until golden.  (All irons are different!  Your mileage may vary).

The fun usually starts by substituting other flavored extracts for the vanilla.  Anise is popular, but I’ve also used orange and lemon extracts. 

     You can also add an additional  1/2 c. of cocoa, 1/2 c. of sugar and 1/2 t. baking powder to the dry ingredients to make chocolate pizzelles, then put a scoop of peppermint ice cream in between.   Move over Klondike.

     Pizzelles right from the iron are still pliable and can be rolled into tubes (for cannolis) and cones.   For my wedding, we filled pizzelle cones with Jordan almonds and gave them out as favors.  At Italian weddings five almonds symbolize health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity.

     I tried something new this year with colored sprinkles.  These must be handled with caution, because if they’re applied too densely, they’ll melt into a big wad and muck up your iron.  I had better results sprinkling them onto pizzelles that were about 10 seconds from being fully baked, then reapplying the iron for the remaining 10 seconds or so.    The sprinkles stuck nicely to the cookie. 

    Chocolate chips can be melted in the microwave and spread on the back of a spoon, applied lightly to the relief pattern of a finished cookie, then, quickly before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with nonpareils. 

If you’re not feeling fancy, they’re wonderful just sprinkled with powdered sugar.   
Have you started your holiday baking yet?  What kind of cookies are you making?


the home tome said...

Love pizzelles - especially with anise! But these other ideas intrigue as well. I have been making my grandmother's Scottish shortbread and have been working on a piece about it - hoping one of my cousins can send me a photo of her to include :) Great post!

JGH said...

OMG - my dad just called to tell me that I left the eggs out of the recipe I posted yesterday!! It's corrected now, but I sincerely hope nobody else tried to make these.... Hiding my head in shame!!

Looking forward to your shortbread piece, home tome!

Suzanne said...

Wow, I've never heard of pizzelles. They're beautiful! Wish I could taste them.. :)

Robert Bornstein said...

Yummy, they look so great! I love your blog!

Robert Bornstein said...

Wow those look so delicious! Love your blog!