Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kickoff To My Christmas Cookie Countdown[Day 1]

I was so glad to be home from college and start my Christmas cookies! I got right to work this morning and baked for about 5 hours. It was really exciting.(Yes even the cleanup afterward wasn't too bad.) So I headed into the basement to check out all the goodies I had, and I noticed my brand new pizzelle press in the box on the shelf that I got for my last birthday. Perfect! I decided I would make pizzelles for my first Christmas cookie. I remember getting them in a coffee can piled high from an older lady that lives in town. There are many variations of the pizzelle, but the most common is vanilla, anise, or lemon zest, although I do have a recipe for chocolate also. You do need a pizzelle press to make these(which somewhat resembles a waffle iron) and you can get them pretty cheap at places such as Target, Wal-Mart, or if you prefer to buy online, Amazon carries a good selection.(Check out Ebay too!)

A little history on the pizzelle cookie--is a traditional Italian waffle cookie that can either be hard and crisp or soft and chewy depending on your preference. Pizzelles came from the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy. The name comes from the Italian word for "round" and "flat" (pizze)which is also the meaning of the word pizza. They're most common during Easter and Christmas, also at some Italian wedding. Other than eating them just as a cookie, they can be used to sandwich a filling such as cannoli cream or hazlenut spread.(Peanut butter & jelly might be good to try too!)
Here's the recipe I used today. I plan on making some chocolate ones in the near future also.

Anise Pizzelles
*3 eggs
*3/4 C white sugar
*1/2 C butter,melted
*1 Tbsp. anise extract
* 1 3/4 all purpose flour
*2 tsp. baking powder

1)In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth.
2)Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron. (Newer models like mine have a automatic timer and a light that turns from green to red) Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron with a spatula. Cool completely in single layers before storing in an airtight container. If you want to freeze them, put in layers with tinfoil in between and place in a ziploc storage bag.

Here's what it looks like when placing batter into the pizzelle press.
Here's what emerges after about 45 seconds!

And here's how many cookies you get from one batch.

(Amounts may vary)


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