Pizzelle in a loose stack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Carrie Tyler
Pizzelle is an Italian waffle cookie that is especially popular around Easter and Christmas. They are fairly large, at around five inches, and are usually made one or two at a time. It is traditionally made with a pizzelle maker, similar to a waffle iron, held by hand over a stove burner. With the creation of electric irons, they are becoming a popular snack for people who lack the time to prepare them in the old fashioned way. The irons leave a snowflake pattern on the cookies.
If you are going to make these cookies by hand, you'll need flour, sugar, eggs, and butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. You'll also need flavoring. Common flavorings include anise, vanilla, lemon zest, chocolate, cinnamon, and orange. If you don't have the time or inclination to cook but still want fresh cookies, you can also buy a pizzelle mix. In some grocery stores, you can buy premade pizzelles.
There are many comparable cookies in various regions. Krumkakes from Norway are quite similar. The pizzelle is thought to be based on the crustulum, which is an ancient Roman cookie. Although pizzelle is the most common name, in the Lazio, Italy area they are called ferratelle and in Molise they might also be called cancelle.
Pizzelles can be eaten in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are had as flat cookies. They are often crunchy, but they can also be prepared in a way to make them chewy and soft. A wooden dowel can be used when they are fresh to roll the pastry into a cone shape. This pastry can then be filled with cannoli cream or another filling. A filling can also be spread on them while flat to make a sandwich cookie.
While they can be eaten year round, they are mostly known for special occasions. These include the Christmas season and Easter weekend. Italian weddings are also a common place where these are found. However, since technology makes it easier to cook fresh ones at home with little effort, they are gaining popularity as a treat that can be eaten at any time.
Though they may always be most prevalent in Italian households, they are gaining mainstream appeal. If local grocery stores don't carry them prepackaged, they can always be purchased over the internet. Pizzelle bakers have made it simply for anyone to make up a stack of cookies on a Sunday morning. They are good both fresh and after they have cooled.
The best way to have these cookies is freshly baked. If you are looking for a pizzelle cookie maker that will save you time in the kitchen, consider the VillaWare pizzelle maker.
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