Sunday, December 16, 2012

cookie calendar - day 16: pizzelles

peanut-butter stuffed chocolate cookies mrs. chan’s pecan ball cookies gingerbread bois lemon meringue pie cookies tuiles d'amandes eggnog shortbread cookies shortbread cookies lime meltaway cookies spiced butter shortbread bites gluten-free gingerbread cookies white chocolate and macadamia cookies bacon vanilla wafer cookies cranberry lime shortbread cookies double chocolate cookies gluten-free chocolate peppermint cookies pizzelles

Although I didn't have any requests as to the type of cookies people submitted to the Advent Calendar, when I asked Jerry from Zeppoli's to contribute to my Cookie Advent Calendar, I was secretly hoping he'd share a traditional Italian cookie recipe and he didn't disappoint.

After discovering Zeppoli's on Twitter, I've been watching Jerry get busier and busier with catering orders and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. He's very much into Italian food and his passion and love of food really come through, even online. 

I'm really looking forward to making a trip to Niagara Falls someday soon in order to sample Jerry's cooking in person!  :)

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My favorite time of year is Christmas mainly because it brings our family closer together. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that sometimes one gets lost and forgets the important things that matter most.

My mother was the best cook I’ve ever known. I like to joke that some people are born with silver spoons in their mom was born with a wooden one. She had a natural talent and passion. Instinctively and often without any formal recipe at hand she would start mixing, testing, adding, until she came up with something new and exciting. One of her favorite things to do was to bake around the holidays. I have very vivid memories of helping her in the cucina when it was time to make Italian cookies and biscotti. Well...she did most of the work. I watched and acted as quality taster. As any 7 year old can Christmas...this is probably the best job in the world. 

Sometimes she would make something unique and different but Christmas is very much about tradition in our home and she made many traditional cookies and sweets. One of my absolute favorites was pizzelle. 

Pizzelle are waffle cookies that are traditionally made with a waffle iron. Unfortunately they’re a must to make the intricate shape and details of the cookie. Any good restaurant supply shop or Italian grocer should carry one. If all else fails....Amazon!

My mother’s has been in the family for 50 years. We have other irons lying about but I almost always keep going back to my mother’s. Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia but I also truly believe that the quality of the iron makes a discernible difference in the final outcome.  

The following recipe has been in our family for generations and has been modified only slightly over the years. It’s not a difficult recipe at all but the challenge lies in its proper execution. Many similar recipes can be found on the internet, which simply means that there are a lot of like-minded good people out there that love food and understand that recipes don’t have to be overly complicated to be delicious. The proof is in selecting the best, freshest ingredients. It does make a world of difference. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe. We enjoyed making it for you. Thanks to Stephanie @kitchenfrolic for her kind and generous offer to contribute to this excellent blog.

Buon Appetito!

Jerry Buccilli is the owner and operator of Zeppoli’s – Italian Comfort Food, a catering company based out of Niagara Falls, Ontario specializing in Italian regional cuisine. You can follow him on twitter @zeppolis or “like” his facebook page

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3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
7 eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. anise extract
A pinch of salt

Hint – I use anise oil instead of extract but some people might find that too strong. Anise oil and anise extract can be used interchangeably but you have to modify the measurements. One part anise oil is equal to about four parts anise extract. Therefore, in this recipe please substitute 1 tsp. of anise extract, for 1/4 tsp. of anise oil.


Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly, and then stir into the dry ingredients. Add melted butter and extracts, and stir by hand until batter is smooth and glossy. Let batter rest for half an hour. While batter rests, heat up the iron, get it good and hot.

Put a little butter on a paper towel and grease the iron plates up well, and then wipe off the excess. Drop a teaspoon of batter into the center of each circle on the press, close it, and squeeze the handles together for about five seconds. Then let go and let cook for about 45 seconds. (Cook times will vary depending on your iron. Experiment with your first few batches, until you figure out how long it takes to achieve golden brown deliciousness.) Don’t get frustrated. Part of the fun for me is discovering what works....have fun!

Carefully peel the cookies off the iron plates, using a table knife to protect your fingertips. Lay cookies flat on clean dish towels to cool. Once they’re cool, stack them and store in an airtight container. Hint- I use metal containers for storage because it tends to keep the pizzelle crispy. I don’t know why it works but it just does. I find that using plastic makes the pizzelle go soft. 

While the pizzelle are hot right off the iron, they’re quite soft and malleable. This is where you can experiment. If you’re so inclined and can work fast, twirl them into a cone shape or press them into a bowl, to serve ice cream. They’re actually quite versatile. We use them sometimes to make cannoli shells or you can make a really great zabaglione and shape the pizzelle into a small bowl. Add some fresh fruit and voila you’ve got yourself an elegant dessert for dinner.

The recipe and all photos used in this blog post belong to Jerry Buccilli and should not be reprinted without his express permission.


  1. Hello!These cookies look fantastic and fairly easy. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. They're quite easy Natalie! Post any questions here and I will be glad to help out. Grazie!

  2. "Twirl them into a cone shape" - what a great idea!


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