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Pizzelle are thin, crisp, waffle-shaped cookies which are an Italian cookie tradition. This is a classic, all-butter pizzelle recipe that will 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 is my go-to pizzelle recipe. It has taken me years to pin down the best recipe for these traditional, Italian cookies, 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 this pizzelle recipe 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 pizzelle iron and pressed, just like a waffle.
Making these cookies is a lot of fun!
The Secret to Perfect Pizzelles
Making the batter for pizzelle cookies is easy. The secret to perfect pizzelles 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.
The best Pizzelle maker
I personally have (and recommend!) the Cuisinart iron.
This pizzelle maker is the best because the design creates a perfectly round cookie. This is essential if you ever plan to do anything else with pizzelle such as sandwiching them together or making cannoli cones.
I've had this iron for several years now and for the price, (around $50) it's totally worth it. I make these cookies all the time and the non-stick surface has held up beautifully.
The Cuisinart Iron is well built, highly rated and it has quickly become one of my most cherished baking tools!
It is very easy to control the temperature on this pizzelle maker since it's electric. Stove top irons are beautiful but you can easily get consistent results with an electric one.
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 pizzelle iron and onto a baking rack.
get your pizzelle cookies looking perfect
This is my other secret to perfect pizzelles.
As I mentioned, the best feature for using a rounded pizzelle iron is being able to create cookies that are manicured into the perfect round shape!
Once the cookies are done baking, it is easy to achieve a perfect round cookie 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.
The first image on the upper left shows pizzelle come out of the iron.
I like to add a touch extra batter when making these so you get that extra edge around the design. Always better to have extra to cut off than not enough to form the entire pattern.
- Place the cookie on a cutting board and gently cut off the extra around the edge using a knife.
- You'll end up with the majority of it gone, but the edges are still rough and craggy (photo to the upper right). You won't be able to get these off with a knife; the cookie will 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...
Check Out These Other Traditional Italian CookiesPrint
- ½ c unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ c granulated sugar
- ¼ 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 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 teaspoon 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.
- If using an iron that has a perfectly circular shape (such as made by Cuisinart), you can trim any excess off of the cookie using a knife. Use a fine grater/zester to round out and file down the craggy edges for the PERFECT shape!
- 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 tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add to the batter last.
- Pizzelle are freezer friendly!
Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Cookies
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Pizzelle Recipe