Last week was so much fun! Our scrapelle post went viral, and we had thousands of new visitors to A&C. I also learned so much from everyone’s amazing comments and interactions. I discovered that my family’s traditional holiday dish is a regional specialty in Abruzzo, and that a lot of people have wonderful memories of sitting around the table with family and friends while they enjoy scrapelle.
This enthusiasm inspired me to share another holiday family tradition with you guys. Pizzelle are thin, crisp cookies with a texture similar to a delicate waffle cone. These aren’t the easiest recipe to make, as they require special equipment – a pizzelle iron. It gives the cookies their characteristic lacy, double-sided snowflake pattern.
Traditional flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and anise. Vanilla and chocolate are more easily found in grocery stores and bakeries, since they have more universal appeal. Anise is a flavor that my family loves, and we incorporate it into a lot of our holiday sweets. In fact, it was the only flavor of pizzelle that my grandma used to make consistently. I love anise more than your average person, but I started wondering why you never see classic Italian combination of chocolate and hazelnut in this cookie (think Nutella). After playing with the flavors, let me tell you: I don’t know why this isn’t a more common cookie. The hazelnut is subtle but adds a nutty layer of complexity.
Consider the chocolate and hazelnut extract amounts in the recipe to be a starting point. You may want to add more hazelnut for a stronger flavor. And I usually add more chocolate than the recipe calls for because I like a richer cookie, but most pizzelle recipes keep the chocolate to a minimum so it’s more subtle. I would start with the amounts in the recipe, make a cookie to taste, then adjust the flavors based on your preferences!
The recipe yields about 5 dozen cookies, so it’s best if you have a few pizzelle irons going at the same time. Even with 2 irons going, it’s not going to be a quick project. So pull up a seat, put Love Actually on the TV and get into the holiday spirit!
- 3.5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1.5 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- special equipment: pizzelle iron
- Preheat the pizzelle iron.
- Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
- Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat sugar and eggs together until well combined. Add the butter, vanilla and hazelnut extract and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Lightly coat the pizzelle iron with nonstick cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Drop about 1 scant tablespoon of batter just above the center of the snowflake and close the iron. Keep closed until you can no longer see steam rising from the edges of the iron (this will vary based on how hot your iron is and the temperature of the batter, but it should take about 90-120 seconds). It make take a few tries to get the amount of batter, the placement, and the timing rights, but you get to eat the ones that aren't quite right! 🙂
- I suggest testing the flavors by making one cookie. You can then adjust the hazelnut and cocoa amounts to your personal taste.