Friday, December 21, 2007

In Search of: The Perfect Pizzelle

Pizzelle - you know them, you love them...boy are there a lot of recipes out there for them. I like them very light, very, very crisp, and lightly flavored. I like to bite into one and have the rest of it practically crumble in your hand. Mine? Not quite that fragile - but pretty good. My cousin Tommy makes wonderful pizzelle - he brings them every year to the annual Christmas party - the Italian side of the family. We haven't been there for Christmas for years, now - with the kids, it's gotten too hectic so we don't see a lot of them anymore, and I miss eating his pizzelles. So I searched around for a recipe, and finally decided to use the one in my Italian cookbook, which has never, ever steered me wrong.
The only problem here? For some reason, they don't spread completely across the pizzelle maker (sort of like a waffle iron, but different) so that when they're done, they're not perfectly round and it looks like little mice have been nibbling at the edges. But I guess it can be overlooked - I don't know if it's me, the maker, or not using enough batter. But if I use more batter, it runs out one side, so I still have imperfect circles, with mouse nibbles on one side and huge globs of excess on the other!
Anyway, if you have a pizzelle maker - give them a try - nice thing is they're very easy to make - no softening of butter, no lighting of oven, one bowl.....very simple.
2 C. flour (I sifted it, makes it lighter, improves overall texture)
1 C. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp. anise extract (I used about 3/4 tbsp. anise, then topped it off with vanilla extract - I'm not sure I like the real strong anise flavor....)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
Mix together the flour, sugar and baking soda, then mix in the eggs, butter and extracts. Stir, then use a wire whisk until smooth. Drop by level tablespoonful onto pizzelle iron. Follow manufacturer's directions, or wait 45 seconds t0 2 minutes, depending on the iron. Carefully lift out and cool on cookie racks - they harden quickly. Dust with powdered sugar.
What's on today's agenda? Peanut butter balls. And probably the old standby - Macadamia Nut Brittle. Plus, a pot of meat sauce for ravioli on Christmas Eve, and some research to figure out a good Christmas morning brunch that everyone will eat! 4 more days!

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