Delicate. Thin. Crispy. Wafer like. This is how I would describe this classic, authentic, Italian cookie: Pizzelle della Nonna. This easy, simple, no butter recipe can simply be flavored with vanilla, anise, or even chocolate. Your search for the perfect pizzelle recipe is over!
According to history, the first pizzelle cookies were made in the region of Abruzzo (geographically located in Central Italy) back in the 8th century.
These highly recognizable Italian cookies get their shape by flattening the batter between two hot iron plates (just like waffles). These plates (rectangular or round) often had the pattern of the family crest engraved on them.
Nowadays, the imprint of the pizzelle maker is a geometric/waffle design, a flower or even a snowflake pattern.
- Eggs. An essential ingredient to make the best pizzelle recipe.
- Sugar. Just the right amount.
- Flour. Regular all-purpose flour.
- Oil. That’s right! A pizzelle recipe with oil.
- Essence. A traditional pizzelle recipe includes anise, but there really are so many options!
The quantities and the type of fat used will determine the texture and thickness of the pizzelle; and as for the flavoring, it really is a question of taste. My personal preference is the flavor of my childhood, vanilla and anise.
Let me show you how this Italian cookie recipe can easily be made with a pizzelle maker.
Begin by whisking 3 eggs until they begin to thicken. Next, add the sugar (½ cup) and whisk for a few minutes. As you can see, I like to use my whisk. If it is easier for you to use your stand mixer, make sure to use the whisk attachment.
Next, add in the oil (¼ cup ), vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) and anise extract (1 teaspoon).
Moving right along, whisk in the dry ingredients which consist of flour (1¼ cups), baking powder (¾ teaspoon) and salt (just a pinch).
That’s it! You now have the perfect pizzelle batter.
Now for the fun part!
Heat the pizzelle iron and drop about one tablespoon of dough in the middle of each of the plates. Drop the upper heated element and in approximately 45 seconds you will have pizzelles.
As individual pizzelle makers have different heating elements, consult your owners’ manual for specific times.
What to do with pizzelle cookies
When pizzelles are removed from the iron plate, they are extremely malleable. You literally have a few seconds to obtain any desired shape that can then be used to create wonderful pizzelle desserts. Transform the shape from flat to curvy.
Here are a few dessert ideas:
Make a pizzelle bowl or cup by simply pressing the pizzelle inside a bowl. In just a few seconds, you have a crisp bowl shape that can be filled with whipped ricotta (recipe found in this Strawberry Parfait post) and topped with Macerated Strawberries. Add some blueberries and it becomes the perfect dessert for the 4th of July!
In order to make a cannoli shell out of pizzelle dough, simply wrap the “hot off the press” pizzelle around a wooden dowel or cannoli tube. Once they harden, they can be filled with sweetened ricotta cheese.
Pizzelle waffle cones
Use a cone-shaped mold to shape the hot pizzelles. Notice how within seconds, the pizzelle harden. Fill with ice cream or any other filling to make the perfect summer treat.
- This recipe comes together easily in a mixing bowl. Although there is no need to use a stand or hand-held mixer, feel free to use one if it is easier for you..
Can I make chocolate pizzelle recipe?
Yes. Simply use 1 cup all-purpose flour sifted with 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (eliminate the anise flavor-only use vanilla).
Can I make this pizzelle recipe with anise oil?
Yes. Replace the amount of anise extract with ¼ teaspoon of anise oil.
What is the secret to obtaining the perfect pizzelle that stay crispy?
- as soon as the pizzelle are removed from the pizzelle maker, lay them flat (you can use a cooling rack);
- do not stack them as the steam will cause them to lose their crispiness;
- once all the pizzelle are done, allow them to air dry for a few hours.
How do I store pizzelles so that they stay nice and crisp?
- wrap in aluminum foil;
- place in cookie or coffee tins;
- place in paper bags.
Pizzelle stored in this manner will keep well for a few weeks. Whatever you do, do not place them in plastic or airtight containers (like Tupperware) as they will get soft.
Have you ever noticed that with time, the anise flavor intensifies in pizzelle? That’s why they are such a great cookie to start your holiday baking with.
If you are looking for additional authentic and traditional Italian cookie recipes, you have come to the right place. Take a look at these amaretti, struffoli, or even these fig cookies. Have fun baking!
In my nonna’s Italian dialect, these simple cookies are referred to as “ferratelle“.
My dad’s mother was born in Ripabottoni, in the province of Campobasso, in the Italian region of Molise. I have so many fond memories of my mom and my grandmother making these special treats, especially at Christmas.
I can remember eating pizzelle faster than they could make them. Back then, my mom and grandmother would make the “ferratelle” one at a time, with a stovetop press with long handles. In fact, I still have it and it is pictured above.
Imagine the afternoons spent making pizzelle when the basic recipe called for one dozen eggs…a dozen!!!
This authentic Italian pizzelle recipe was made religiously every two weeks.
Would you like to know my nonna’s secret to perfect pizzelles?
She stored them in a bread box that was placed in the pantry. There was no bread in that box – only pizzelle. There were probably near a hundred of them, all stacked up, ready to be eaten as an after school snack or placed on the table when family and friends came over. They were the crispiest pizzelle!
When my grandmother passed away, we found a small notebook that had some recipes written in it. It is remarkable to me that a woman, born in 1908, in a small village, in the middle of nowhere, learned to read and write. This little booklet symbolizes so much more than recipes.
This is truly priceless.
I have scaled down the original recipe, but if required, it can easily be doubled…or quadrupled and stored in your bread box 🙂
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★★★★★ If you have made this Italian waffle cookie, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Pizzelle della Nonna
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour 177 grams
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch salt
- 3 eggs room temperature
- ½ cup sugar 100 grams
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon anise extract optional
- Preheat pizzelle iron.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until frothy and beginning to thicken (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add sugar. Continue to whisk until well thickened.
- Add the oil and extracts. Mix well together.
- Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined, dough will be soft and sticky.
- Drop 1 tablespoon of batter on hot pizzelle press.
- Close lid and cook 30 - 45 seconds or until slightly golden.
- Remove from press with the help of a fork.
- Transfer to flat surface or mold into desired shape.
This post was originally published on November 24, 2014 and republished on July 2, 2019 with updated content and photos.