Things that remind me of childhood include this week of June, when the air feels half-crazed with kids counting down the last few days before summer vacation, and pizzelle, The Cookie in my house growing up. Could be, though, that you’ve never encountered these cookies before. This is a great sadness, but it can be remedied. I have a recipe for you.
Pizzelle: wafer-thin Italian sugar cookies, just this side of sweet, flavoured by vanilla (my childhood) or anise (everybody else’s). They’re delicate, and they make your kitchen smell like waffle cones, which is fitting, because you make them with a waffle-like iron that’s made especially for pizzelle. The irons used to be customized with the initials of newlyweds, but now it’s more common to see them with lacy loops on one side and squared grids on the other.
Pizzelle are also how I describe my family’s relationship my dad’s Italian heritage. That side of the family’s been in North America for a while; it was my great-grandparents who came over as kids from Sicily and Val d’Aosta to Brooklyn and Montreal. But we’re still Italian enough that when I moved out of the house for university, I was given one of my household’s many pizzelle irons. Because of course I was.
Since this recipe makes about 60 cookies, it’s perfect for potlucks (like the neighourhood one Dave and I went to last month, where we were the only representatives of our generation), bridal showers (they transport perfectly in washed-out ice cream tubs), and all-staff meetings (snack days: something every workplace needs). You can be reasonably confident that no one else is going to bring the same thing.
Notes: The worst are recipes that sound delicious but that require some obscure piece of equipment that you probably don’t have in your kitchen. I hate those. And I know that this recipe is one of them. But! Maybe you live in a place that has a kitchen appliance lending library like this one, and you could encourage them to invest in one if there isn’t one in their collection; perks include not having to store one in your own kitchen long-term. We’re also, conveniently, in the heart of garage-sale season, and there’s no better time to capitalize on someone else’s underused pizzelle iron for super cheap. You can also find them in kitchen speciality stores.
from One Sweet Cookie
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla
3 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
1. Plug in your pizzelle iron. Leave it closed while it preheats.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until thick and ribboned; this will take between 5-10 minutes. Add vanilla and melted butter; stir until combined. Fold in flour and baking powder.
3. Open the pizzelle iron. Drop a heaping teaspoon onto the centre of each pattern. Close the lid and let the iron press the cookies for about 20 seconds. Open it fully; if cookies are not golden brown, close the iron and press for an additional few seconds. When golden brown, use a knife or fork to gently lift the cookies out of the press and onto a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining batter.