Pizzelle are wafer like cookies that look like thin crisp waffles. They originated in the Italian region of Abruzzo, which is located in south-central Italy. Pizzelle were used as a treat during an annual celebration in the town of their origin. Over time, the cookie became part of Christmas and Easter traditions all over Italy. Pizzelle are made by putting batter in a special iron much like a waffle iron. The batter is pressed until cooked and removed to cool and harden. The press is embossed with a snowflake or a floral design. At one time, the embossment was a crest that had some hint of the village where they were made.
Growing up, pizzelle were always a part of our Christmas cookie repertoire. I remember as a kid, my grandmother making pizzelle using a one handle, cast iron pizzelle maker. She would hold the iron over a flame from her gas range and cook them one at a time. I don’t know how she got every single one so perfect. They were all cooked evenly and perfectly round. She knew exactly how high to hold the heavy iron over the flame and for how long.
My grandmother would make different flavors but, at Christmas they were always made with anise seeds. I have an old cast aluminum pizzelle maker that’s imported from Italy but, it’s electric!!! It can cook two at a time and only takes about a minute. Thank goodness this is so, because when I make them I have to make extra for family and friends. The old way would take me forever.
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