Thin and Crisp Pizzelle
The thinnest, lightest, most crisp pizzelle recipe ever! They’re just as light as air, & this recipe is truly authentic, with plenty of sweet anise flavor.
One of my absolute favorite cookie recipes! I make these authentic Italian pizzelle every year for the holidays. They’re totally unique in their flavor and texture, but just like pecan sandies, soft cut-out sugar cookies, and spritz cookies, they’re delicate as can be and so delicious with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa!
*This pizzelle recipe originally published on December 12, 2016. I thought it was about time it was updated. So, I’ve added a video and answers to some frequently asked questions. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this pizzelle recipe as much as my family and I do!*
Back when I originally published this recipe (and still to this day), these pizzelle held a really special place in my heart, and I kinda waxed poetic about them. Now here I am, 3 years later, wanting to bring the post a little more up to date.
I know that when it comes to food blogs, a lot of people get pretty annoyed about having to read any kind of personal anything about a recipe. I certainly have had my share of comments to this effect.
But I just can’t bear to delete this. It reminds me of everything I love about baking and what it means to me and so many others. At this time of year, when things can be so hectic and overwhelming, I need these kinds of reminders, to help me slow down and remember what’s most important.
So I’m leaving it in! I hope you’ll read it and relate to it on some level. I know that a lot of readers before you already have, based on the feedback I received back when I originally shared it 3 years ago.
But if you’re in a hurry or you just don’t really have an interest, that’s fine too! I know you’ll love the recipe, even if you don’t know the whole back story. You can skip right ahead to it by clicking here: jump to the recipe.
Keep in mind that I am adding some useful info right after the “story.” So if you have any specific questions on this pizzelle recipe, you’ll probably find your answers above the recipe card, towards the end of the post.
Pizzelles. Pizzelles, man.
I never thought I’d do this. This recipe is so incredibly close to my heart. I have so many memories attached to these simple Italian cookies.
Remember when I shared that chocolate orange panettone recipe last week? And I told you all about my dad’s family, and my years working in an Italian catering kitchen? Pizzelles were with me through all of that.
Even though my grandfather didn’t really pass down much from his culture, I do have vague memories of being at huge family gatherings with his siblings. He was one of 11 children. My great-grandparents, Calogero and Caterina, had a baby every other year for 22 years. Can you imagine?
I remember two great-aunts in particular. Aunt Antoinette and Aunt Josephine. I maybe only saw them a couple of times in my life, but they had on those printed aprons, and the sensible shoes, and they stood in front of huge vats of bubbling red sauce. There were stacks and stacks of pizzelle, spread out on a folding table covered with a vinyl tablecloth.
The taste of those pizzelle stayed with me for decades.
Years later, when I found myself working in that pastry kitchen, I became Aunt Josephine and Aunt Antoinette. My sensible shoes weren’t sturdy lace-up oxfords, they were non-slip steel-toed boots. I didn’t wear a printed apron, I wore houndstooth pants and a white chef’s jacket. But every week, I stood in front of no less than 4 sizzling-hot pizzelle irons, breathing in anise-scented steam.
I eventually quit that job, but I could never quit pizzelles. Not a year has gone by since, where I didn’t fire up the pizzelle maker, put on Christmas music, and sit, scooping batter, lowering the lid, and flipping out pizzelle after thin, crisp pizzelle.
Over the years, I’ve fussed, and tweaked, and made slight improvements, here and there, to my original recipe. I really think it’s the best it could ever be. It’s simple. The ingredients are just whisked together in a bowl, no mixer required. They’re sweet and a little buttery, with real, authentic anise flavor, and little seeds that crunch between your teeth, giving bursts of intense black licorice.
And best of all, they’re so thin and crisp. Lighter than air! The texture is really what makes these pizzelle great, and I’ve had people begging me for the recipe for years.
I never thought I’d give it up, it just felt too important, too personal. But here it is! I hope you’ll carry on the tradition, and keep it as close to your heart as I always have.
WHAT ARE PIZZELLE COOKIES?
Pizzelle are a crisp, flat Italian cookie, traditionally flavored with anise, that looks similar to a thin waffle.
Anise is a sweet spice with a flavor similar to black licorice.
Pizzelle are very similar to the Norwegian krumkake. Sometimes they’re also called ferratelle or cancelle.
They have a pretty snowflake pattern pressed into them, and they can be eaten flat, pressed into a bowl-shape, or rolled into cylinders. Sometimes they are sandwiched around or piped with a filling, such as cannoli cream or Nutella spread.
They are especially popular around the Christmas and Easter holidays, and are often found at Italian weddings and other celebrations.
HOW TO MAKE PIZZELLE
To make this classic recipe, you’ll first need a pizzelle maker. Back in the day, this was a cast-iron press that would be held over an open flame.
Nowadays, most pizzelle makers are electric. If you don’t already own one, you can buy one here: pizzelle maker. I have lots more info on this below, under the heading “Where to buy a pizzelle maker.”
The first step to making pizzelle is to prepare the pizzelle maker. Give the plates a light misting of non-stick spray, then wipe off the excess with a paper towel so your pizzelle don’t come out too greasy.
Then plug in your pizzelle iron and let it preheat while you make the batter.
Whisk eggs, sugar, anise seeds, vanilla, and anise extract together until combined.
The anise seeds are optional, but I really love the extra flavor they give. I find them in the spice aisle of my regular supermarket. If you’re having trouble locating them, try ordering them here: anise seeds.
Once everything is well-incorporated, you can whisk in the melted butter.
Next come the dry ingredients.
Flour, baking powder, and salt get stirred in until a thick batter forms.
Scoop the batter, about a tablespoon at a time.
Dropping it right in the center of each of the hot plates.
Then close the lid and observe. You will see a lot of steam, and hear a loud sizzle.
As the pizzelle cook, the steam will start to subside and the sizzling sound will get quieter. This is when you know your pizzelle are probably done.
Open the lid carefully, peeking in to see the color of the pizzelle.
If they look lightly golden brown, they’re just right.
Use a fork or small spatula to remove them from the pizzelle maker.
You’ll notice at this stage that the pizzelle are very pliable. While they’re still warm, they can be pressed into a bowl shape or rolled into a tight cylinder.
But I like to keep them flat. It really emphasizes their light, crisp texture.
Transfer them to a wire cooling rack. This will allow any steam to evaporate away and let the pizzelle crisp up.
They only need a minute or two until they’re completely cooled and crisp.
The last step is to dust them with a flurry of powdered sugar. This step is totally optional, but it sure makes them look pretty!
WHERE TO BUY A PIZZELLE MAKER
It’s not too hard to find a pizzelle maker, especially at this time of year.
I see them at kitchen or housewares stores all the time. Places like Williams Sonoma, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Kitchen Kapers, or Kohl’s are sure to carry them.
They’re usually made by Cuisinart or CucinaPro. I’ve used both brands and they’ve worked well for me.
Try to get one with non-stick plates, if you can! It will make the whole process so easy for you.
If you’d like to order a pizzelle maker online, you can do that by clicking this link: pizzelle maker.
HOW TO KEEP PIZZELLE FROM STICKING TO THE PIZZELLE IRON
If you have a pizzelle maker with a non-stick finish, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
But I do think it’s best to lightly mist the plates with a little non-stick spray, and then wipe off the excess with a paper towel. (You should only need to do this once, as the pizzelle iron is pre-heating. There usually is no need to do this for every cookie.)
I DON’T LIKE ANISE, CAN I SUBSTITUTE WITH SOMETHING ELSE?
Anise is traditional for authentic Italian pizzelle, but if you don’t like the taste you can leave it out. Then you would just have vanilla pizzelle.
These ingredients can be added to taste. Use as much or as little as you’d like!
HOW TO KEEP PIZZELLE COOKIES CRISP
These cookies can be lightly covered and stored at room temperature.
I usually just stack them and slip them into a zip-top bag.
As long as they were completely cool when wrapped, they should stay crisp for weeks. You really don’t have to do anything special to them to keep them crisp. There is just something about the ratio of ingredients in this particular recipe; the pizzelle become crisp within minutes of coming off of the iron, and they truly stay that way.
If you like to make a big batch to last a really long time, wrap the pizzelle tightly in plastic wrap and pop them into the freezer. They will keep for months and can be thawed at room temperature.
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The thinnest, lightest, most crisp pizzelle recipe ever! They're just as light as air, & this recipe is truly authentic, with plenty of sweet anise flavor.
- 3 eggs (large)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole anise seed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- powdered sugar (optional garnish)
Preheat a pizzelle maker, and lightly mist the plates with non-stick spray. Wipe the plates of the pizzelle maker lightly, to remove any excess.*
Stir in the melted butter.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until smooth.
Place about a tablespoon of batter on each of the hot pizzelle maker plates, and close the lid.
Cook until only a few wisps of steam are escaping from the pizzelle maker, and the pizzelles look lightly golden.
Use a fork or small spatula to remove the cooked pizzelles to a wire rack to cool.
Dust with powdered sugar, if using.
*You only need to do this once, before starting. There is no need to do it after every pizzelle.
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