Pizzelle are thin, crisp, aromatic waffle-shaped cookies which are an Italian tradition. This is a classic, all-butter recipe that will surely make your Nonna proud!
I have a soft spot for these cookies. My grandmother made pizzelle for all of our family get-togethers and I loved seeing the plate, stacked with pretty-patterned cookies. I can imagine that many families have a long standing tradition making these thin, crisp cookies and I look forward to continuing that for mine.
Speaking of traditions, this recipe is my go-to for amazing pizzelle. It has taken me years to pin down the best recipe, and I really prefer the flavor and texture of an all-butter batter (vs. using vegetable oil that other recipes call for).
What are Pizzelle?
Pizzelle are sweet waffle cookies that originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy (Southern Italy). Other cultures have similar cookies (like my other favorite, Norwegian Krumkake), but Italian pizzelle are distinctly different as they are typically flavored with anise.
Now, I love anise, but honestly, I usually make these with vanilla extract instead. You can definitely use others like, lemon or almond, but vanilla is a good go-to!
Otherwise. these cookies are made from everything you’d find in a normal cookie dough; eggs, sugar, flour, and butter. The biggest difference is, instead of a dough that you’d drop on a cookie sheet and bake, you get a thick batter which is scooped onto a hot iron and pressed, just like a waffle.
Making these cookies is a lot of fun!
Everything You Need to Make Pizzelle Cookies
|Cuisinart Pizzelle Iron||This is the iron that I personally own. I've had it for YEARS! It is dependable, is still wonderfully non-stick and it is affordable.|
|Electric Pizzelle Iron||This iron is a bit more expensive, but has a gorgeous pattern!!|
|Wooden Cone||Here is a classic wooden cone mold if you plan on making cones.|
|Stainless Steel Cones||This is a pack of 12 stainless steel cones for a great value!|
|Cone Rack||You can even get a fancy cone rack/holder.|
|Stainless Steel Baking/Cooling Rack||Make sure you have a a sturdy, stainless steel rack to cool your cookies on.|
|Microplane||I use a Microplane to grind down the rough edges of the cookie. That way, they are perfectly circular and smooth.|
|Silicone Basting Brush||A silicone brush for brushing oil onto the iron.|
|Vivid Food Coloring||Coloring your batter is a great way to jazz up your cookies!|
How to Make Perfect Pizzelle
Making the batter for pizzelle cookies is easy. The secrets to perfect pizzelle lie within the rest of the baking process.
You want to make sure that your bake time is set correctly so that the cookies are light golden brown and you want to ensure that you are dropping the right amount of batter into the iron so that a full cookie forms.
Not enough of the batter results in an odd shape or broken edges. I personally have (and recommend!) the Cuisinart iron. I’ve found the perfect temp is on the #3 setting. It bakes them perfectly, just a hint of golden brown.
prepare your work station
Ensure your work station is set up before you start baking the cookies. I like to set up a wire rack next to the iron so that I can easily transfer the hot cookies to the rack for cooling. These things bake up fast, so you don’t want to be scrambling to get yourself situated (take it from me! 😉 ).
You also want to have a little bowl of vegetable or canola oil with a silicone basting brush next to your iron. Have a fork ready as well. This makes it easy to gently lift them out of the baker and onto a baking rack.
get your cookie looking perfect
Once the cookies are done baking, it is easy to achieve a perfectly round shape by cutting and grating off the rough edges with a Microplane. I found that this is the BEST technique and I get perfect cookies every time.
I’ll walk you through the steps.
This is how my pizzelle come out of the iron. There’s always that extra edge around the design. That’s what you want to achieve; always better to have extra to cut off than not enough to form the entire pattern.
I place the cookie on a cutting board and slowly/gently cut off the extra around the edge.
You’ll end up with the majority of it gone, but the edges are still rough and craggy. You won’t be able to get these off with a knife; the cookie will crack or break.
That’s why the best tool for the job is a Microplane. Slowly start to grind away the edges & smooth out the sides. I like to rock the cookie back and forth to ensure a perfect, circular shape.
Ta-da! This looks better (and it tastes better) than store-bought!
Oh, the things you can do with Pizzelle Cookies
The other thing I love about Pizzelle Cookies is they are super versatile. You can make ALL kinds of desserts! You can dip them in chocolate, sandwich between ganache or buttercream, form into ice cream bowls, cannoli shells…break them into pieces for cannoli dip…
Not to mention, all of the different flavors you can add to the batter! Anise, vanilla, almond, orange, lemon…
The ornate irons that form these cookies make them beautiful as is, but I’ve also jazzed it up by coloring the batter to form a beautiful rainbow. I love making these different colors. One time I made them for a baby shower and did a pink ombre look. It was so gorgeous!
- ½ c unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ c granulated sugar
- 3/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or anise, lemon, almond extracts can also be used!
- 1 ¾ c all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla (or other extract) until well combined.
- Stir in the flour and baking powder, mixing until smooth.
- Lastly, add the cooled, melted butter, incorporating and mixing until smooth; the batter will be thick and sticky, and get even more stiff as it it sits.
- At this point, you can color your batter if you want. Add desired amount of food color gel and mix in until fully incorporated. To make different colors, divide the batter into separate bowls and color each one accordingly.
- Heat your pizzelle iron. Once it's ready to go, you can give it a quick spritz of nonstick canola oil spray or you can use a silicone basting brush to oil it up.
- Using a cookie scoop, put about 2-3 tsp of batter (depending on the size of your iron, you may have to experiment!) onto each pizzelle pattern. Cook the pizzelle according to the instructions that came with your iron. Usually, they take about 2 minutes to turn a darker golden-brown. I take mine out at the first sign of golden brown which keeps them soft but still crisp enough.
- Once finished baking, use a fork to gently lift the pizzelle onto a baking rack to cool. If forming the cookie into a shape (i.e. cannoli shell), form the cookie immediately after baking and allow to cool on the mold.
- I personally have the Cuisinart iron, and I've found the perfect temp is on the #3 setting- it bakes them perfectly, just a hint of golden brown and crisp.
- To oil the iron, I use a silicone basting brush (which is safe to use up to 600 degrees) dipped in canola or vegetable oil.
- For chocolate pizzelle, in a small bowl mix 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 tbsp canola oil. Add to the batter last.
- Pizzelle are freezer friendly!