Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pizzelle | Brown Butter Maple and Traditional Anise {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012}

There's a lot of talk about my family in this space.  My Mom and Nana are enormously influential in my life and I feel like so much of what I do is in honor of what they taught me.  The title of my blog says it all- too me food and cooking is at the heart of everything I do for and with my family.  It is me giving my heart to others.

I don't talk too much about the other side of my family, the family that I married into when I said "I do" 13 years ago.  That's not to mean that I don't value them or haven't learned an enormous amount from them, because I have.  It's just that for the most part, food was a necessity for them, not a joyful experience or the inspiration for cherished memories like it was during my childhood.  These cookies are one of the few rare exceptions and the thing that connects my food heritage with my in-laws', most especially my father in law.
My father in law grew up a poor immigrant from the Ukraine in an even poorer coal mining town in Pennsylvania.  This was the Great Depression, so there were no luxuries to speak of and all the children did their part to help the family.  When his mother passed away, my father in laws' oldest sister, Annie, stepped in to raise him and his siblings.  Annie was sister and mother to him.  Though I never got to meet her, I hear the stories and know that she must have been a very special woman.

When Annie married a man of Italian heritage, her Eastern European roots intertwined with his and the Italian favorites of her husband became the mainstay of her cooking.  She excelled at it from what I hear.  Every Christmas, both Ukrainian and Italian treats were made and Annie's younger brother (my father in law) fell in love with a simple Italian cookie, the pizzelle.  So much so that when his own children grew up and got married, he made sure he sent each off with a pizzelle maker of his or her own.  That's how I aquired mine and I cherish it.
My father in law likes to act gruff and tough.  He's a man who grew up in hard times and did everything he could to instill a strong work ethic in his children, while setting an excellent example himself.  He did a fine job, I must say.  But under that tough-as-nails exterior is a man with a very generous heart.  A bit like Santa Claus, he's a giver who doesn't ask for acknowledgement or thanks.  I saw that side of him for the first time as he gave me this pizzelle maker with a twinkle in his eye.  I will remember it forever.

These cookies were sent to three lovely ladies and fellow food bloggers as part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2012.  I was so excited to take part in this event for the second year in a row with almost 500 other food bloggers.  In return I received some very tasty cookies.  There were Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies from Deetz at Cookies and Kiddos and Lemon Honey Drop cookies from Brenda of Meal Planning Magic.  I'm still waiting on my third dozen, but I'm sure it will be here any day now.  Thanks ladies!
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.  Adapted from The International Cookie Cookbook, by Nancy Baggett.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Traditional Anise Pizzelle:
10 tbs butter, melted and cooled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp anise extract
1 tsp anise seeds

Heat the pizzelle maker according to manufacturer's directions.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and frothy.  Add the anise extract and anise seeds and mix for just a moment.  Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth.  Add in the cooled butter and mix just until incorporated.

Lightly brush the interior surfaces of the pizzelle maker with vegetable oil, making sure to get into the grooves, or spray with non-stick spray.  Place a heaping tablespoon of batter slightly behind the center of the pizzelle pressing area. Close the lid and squeezing tightly or locking the clasp, cook for 20 seconds.  Check for desired brownness of the pizzelle and if necessary cook for 5 seconds more.  We like our lightly browned, so 20 seconds is perfect.  Using a heat-proof spatula, gently remove the cookie from the iron and lay flat on waxed or parchment paper to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Cookies will keep for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container, though they may soften.

Maple Brown Butter Pizzelle:
10 tbs butter
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup maple sugar
3 tbs good quality maple syrup

Follow the same procedure as the traditional pizzelle, the only difference is that you will need to brown the butter first.  In a small saucepan, gently heat and melt the butter.  Continue heating it until the milk solids have turned a golden brown and you can smell a distinctly nutty aroma.  Let cool and continue with the rest of the steps.


  1. Thank you for your pizzelle! They were so pretty we almost didn't want to eat them, but devour them we did and they were delicious!

    1. Thank you AJ! I'm so glad they arrived in good shape and that you enjoyed them. Happy Holidays!

  2. Thank youuu! These cookies were so beautiful. :)