We all have special memories of past Holidays that we start to think about during this time of year. For me, it’s making cookies with my Mother. Not just any cookies, we used to make Italian traditional cookies. We made the ones that were covered in sesame seeds, another kind stuffed with sweet figs and nuts, and then of course, there were the Pizzelles. Pizzelles are a pressed cookie that resemble a snowflake.
Unfortunately, my Mother is no longer with us, but I continue to make these cookies because they remind me of something we did together at the Holiday’s. They are a unique bird and require a special pressing iron. I’m fortunate to own 2 of these Rival Pizzelle makers which cuts the time in half. These take time…..just as all Great things do. I’m going to share the recipe with you, secrets and all. For a time, I misplaced my Mothers recipe and had to rely on the internet for a substitute. I tried several different recipes, but none of them ever compared to the original. I’ve since found the original recipe card in my Mothers own handwriting and I’m happy to be able to make them just as we did all those years ago. I especially love that this recipe card is even dated.
3-3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup Wesson Oil
1 1/4 cup Sugar
Juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon Anise Oil
I’d like to point out a couple of things about this recipe that make it different from any other recipe I found and tried.
#1 It doesn’t call for butter like all the other recipes I found. I know it seems strange to use so much Wesson Oil, but it makes them crispy. It gives them the most perfect texture. Trust me, I’m an Expert when it comes to Pizzelles.
#2 It calls for Anise Oil NOT Anise Extract. This particular ingredient is not easy to find. I can only find it in our Italian Market. Trust me, YOU MUST USE ANISE OIL!! I can’t stress this enough. Anise extract isn’t potent enough for this cookie. Anise Oil makes them perfect!!
#3 The Juice of one Orange is a secret ingredient that gives the cookie a little something extra. It works with the Anise Oil and just makes these cookies Divine!!
#4 I always double the recipe. The doubled batch will yield you almost 100 cookies. When you give them away a dozen at a time like I do, it makes more sense to make a large batch since it’s time consuming to set up the irons, mix the batter and package them in a pretty way.
Here’s a picture of how I like to work with my 2 presses in front of me. TIP: I use a teaspoon to spoon the batter into the press. I leave the spoon in a bowl of Wesson Oil so it doesn’t get sticky. The trickiest part of making these cookies is working with the press. I can’t tell you how hot to make the press because one of the irons doesn’t have a temperature control and the other has been set for years and years. If yours has an temperature control, you will have to play with until you get it just right. Spoon in a teaspoon of the batter into the press and check it every so often to get a gauge of how long the cooking process will take. Sorry, there’s no magic for this part of making Pizzelles and it can be the most frustrating. On the upside, once you get the feel for it, you’re all set and the process goes quickly.
I don’t think there is any particular rule to how the ingredients are combined. I usually mix the Wesson Oil with the sugar first. Next I add the eggs and then the Anise Oil and Juice from the oranges. Lastly I sift the flour before I incorporate it into the mixture. Here’s a picture of the batter. The consistency is thick not runny at all, that’s why I leave my spoon in a bowl of oil. The batter just slides off the spoon making the job easy.
This is just the right amount of batter as it’s placed into the press. I like to push the top of the press down, so the cookie batter spreads out. It also makes it cook faster and they become thinner more crispy. When you take them out of the press, make sure to let them cool separately on a cooling rack. If you let them cool in stacks, they will be less crispy. Soggy Pizzelles aren’t so special…..
This is how I like to present my Pizzelles. I wrap them in foil and then add the curly ribbon in red, green and white. These are Christmas colors and just so happen to be the Italian colors too!! Bonus. I package a dozen at a time together in this way. If I’m able to find Holiday cookie tins in the right size, I also like to present them that way too.
So there you have it! My recipe, secrets and all. I just realized that this was another 1st for Me!! This is my first time sharing a recipe here on my blog. I hope if you’ve been gifted or own one of these cookie presses and never tried it that you will give it a try now. These cookies are truly unique and have the WOW factor. They are so delicious and I have people asking for them year after year. I even have a few special people that I send them to through the mail. As Christmas approaches……