Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Traditional Italian Christmas Cookie: Pizzelles

I just want to say that I love pizzelles. There are many, many recipes for them, and I have tried a good many myself. But I keep coming back to one that I was introduced to decades ago: a traditional recipe, made with butter instead of oil (as many modern variations seem to do) and anise seed instead of anise extract or oil. The resulting pizzelle is tender and subtly flavored, perfect with tea, coffee, or a glass of dessert wine. 

Tender Traditional Italian Pizzelles

6 eggs, room temperature 
1 1/2 cups cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 tsp. anise seed
3 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat your pizzelle iron/maker and follow the mfrs. directions for preparing the grids.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar. Add the cooled butter,
vanilla, and anise seed. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the egg mixture, mixing until very thick and smooth. (Batter will be slightly glossy.)

The batter should be stiff enough to be dropped by a scant tablespoon into the center of a preheated pizzelle iron/maker. Close and clamp the lid; bake until steaming abates, about 30 to 45 seconds. Cookies should be very pale golden or barely browned at all.  Remove carefully to a wire rack; cool completely before storing. 

This cookie is somewhat fragile, so handle with care. Store in a tightly covered tin with waxed paper between layers. The flavor improves overnight. An excellent make-ahead cookie that keeps well for a week to ten days.

NOTE: The batter can be covered tightly and refrigerated to be used up to 24 hrs. later, if desired. 

Makes about six dozen.