Pizzelle are round and flat waffle cookies, that originate from Italy. The word ‘pizzelle’ is the plural of ‘pizzella’ from the word ‘pizze’ meaning round and flat. (Now you also know where the word ‘pizza’ originates too!). It is generally believed they were developed in central Italy and used as a traditional food item to eat at annual celebrations many hundreds of years ago. And, to this day, are still commonly used within the USA and Italy to celebrate Easter and Christmas.
Traditional and Modern Cooking Methods
The pizzelle itself in made from relatively few ingredients (see our simple pizzelle recipe) and is traditionally flavored with anise, but there are many flavors and varieties available today. In the past pizzelle were originally cooked within a molded iron over a fire. The iron itself contained a flower pattern on one side and a more ‘traditional’ waffle pattern on the opposing side to produce a very decorative effect. The batter was poured into the mold and the iron was closed and held over a flame until cooked through. Although, you can get electrical pizzelle presses now – so need to need to worry about naked flames! Within the USA, by far one of the most popular brands of pizzelle maker is palmers, due to their durability and quality of build. Although you can get cheaper makes and models if you’re only interested in giving them a try.
The Versatile Treat
One of the attributes I’m sure make pizzelle so popular is their sheer versatility. We’ve talked about the basic ‘model’ as it were, but did you know you can shape pizzelle over a form to produce cones or cylinders? (often called canoli) These shapes can then be filled with anything from creme to custard to fruit or even chocolate. Meaning they can be enjoyed as anything from a morning treat with your cup of coffee to ice cream cones to decadent desserts to enjoy with friends and family.
If your appetite has been whet to make your own why not take a look at our selection of pizzelle makers…
Top photo by stacey, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. Bottom photo by stacey, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.