Saturday, September 02, 2006

Almond pizzelles

My SO's grandmother regularly made pizzelles (crispy, thin waffle-like cookies), and thus my SO loves them. I had never eaten pizzelles until we bought a big package of them at Granville Island market in Vancouver. We ate them all the way back to California, and acquired a pizzelle iron shortly thereafter.

Cooked almond pizzelles
Almond pizzelles ready to be taken out of the pizzelle iron.

Making pizzelles requires a pizzelle iron; pizzelle irons are much like waffle irons, except they use a much smaller volume of dough (around a tablespoon per 5-inch pizzelle, as opposed to a quarter-cup or more for waffles). Pizzelle irons are a bit expensive (~$50 at King Arthur Flour), but if you enjoy pizzelles they're a worthwhile purchase. I know that most folks don't have a pizzelle maker, but since we just made a batch today, I thought I'd post up our recipe as this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post just in case someone does have one.

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla (or almond extract)
2 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups ground almonds

0. Preheat your pizzelle iron and prepare it according to the manufacturer's instructions (ours suggests lightly brushing the surface with vegetable oil before cooking the first pizzelles).
1. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl.
2. Add the melted butter and stir until thoroughly combined.
3. Add the vanilla and stir to mix.
4. Mix in the flour and baking powder (theoretically sifting them together before adding them, but we never do).
5. Mix in the ground almonds.
6. Add about a tablespoon of pizzelle batter just a bit behind the center of each pizzelle indentation on the iron, close the lid, and cook for 75 seconds. Vary the amount of dough added, placement on the iron, and cooking time to suit your preferences and pizzelle iron.
7. Remove the pizzelles with a non-metal spatula. They will still be pliable at this point, so you can mold them into cones, cylinders, or other fancy shapes if you want; otherwise just place them on a clean flat surface to cool.
8. Once the pizzelles are cool, put them into an airtight container to keep them crisp.

Pizzelle dough about to be cooked
Pizzelle dough on the pizzelle iron.


This recipe makes enough pizzelles to feed a small army (about 50-60 pizzelles); the recipe can be easily halved to make a more reasonable number (though we enjoy making a lot at once and then giving them away).

Pizzelles are classically flavored with anise, but neither my SO nor I like anise, and thus you'll never find an anise-flavored pizzelle cooked in the Rhosgobel kitchen. Instead we prefer adding nuts or just making them plain (for plain pizzelles, remove the almonds and increase the flour to 3 1/2 cups).

We typically just eat our pizzelles plain, but they can be used as a base for ice cream desserts, dipped in chocolate, or have other delicious things done to them.

We make ground almonds by processing whole plain (or roasted unsalted) almonds in our food processor for a minute or two (until the almonds are a mixture of itty bitty almond bits and almond powder; wearing hearing protection is a good idea for this).

Our pizzelle maker is a VillaWare Prima Pizzelle Baker (model 5000-NS) that makes two 5-inch pizzelles simultaneously. We're very happy with it, but have never used another pizzelle maker and thus don't know how it compares to other pizzelle makers.

This recipe was modified from one contained in the VillaWare instruction booklet that came with our Pizzelle iron.

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