Food and family. Food and tradition. Food and holidays and well food…it all comes back to food doesn’t it? And the wonderful food memories that go along with it? Is it just me, or does everyone relate food back to memorable life experiences?
Growing up, alot of my food memories centered around my grandmother on my dad’s side of the family. She lived upstairs from us in our two family home and was always cooking something wonderful… but that’s for another post.
But at Christmas when I begin my baking, there is one person that stands out…My great Aunt Edna. One of my grandfather’s four sisters, she was a spry woman with a raspy voice and always a smile on her face. She was known for her baking for every holiday or family affair.
Nut cups, Magic Cookie Bars and more, but I have to say, the favorite, by far was her pizzelles. The sweet, crisp, delicate, anise-scented wafer cookie. These cookies quickly became one of my husband’s favorites too. So much so, that for our very first Christmas as a married couple, under the Christmas tree, was my very own pizzelle maker. I have no idea what brand it is, but 29 years later, it’s still going strong. Of course, I would only use Aunt Edna’s recipe when I made them and have been making them every since!
What I love even more about making pizzelles at Christmas, is that it takes me back to my childhood, to the amazing family gatherings we had, definitely a simpler time, filled with a lot of laughter. It’s a time to remember my grandfather, my great aunts, sadly all gone to long, but forever in our memories.
So many of us make Aunt Edna’s pizzelles at Christmas and I’m sure it brings back the same memories for all.
It’s a simple batter to make and the wonderful flavor and aroma from the anise seed and extract set these cookies apart.
There is one thing that you need to know before you take on the task of Aunt Edna’s pizzelles. These cookies are truly a labor of love. They will require your undivided attention for the entire time you are making them. Let me say that again…the ENTIRE time you are making them!
Because they are made in a press, you can only make 2 (or 4) pizzelles at a time. Do not empty the dishwasher, do not wash dishes, check facebook or multi task in any way or you will overcook your pizzelles every time. Trust me, I know!
So put on some Christmas music, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine and man that pizzelle maker!
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs , lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons anise extract
- 1- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon anise seed
Combine butter and sugar with a wire whisk. Combine eggs and milk and whisk into sugar mixture. Combine flour and baking power and gradually whisk into mixture. Whisk in anise and vanilla extract then anise seed.
Drop about 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls onto preheated pizzelle maker.
Close pizzelle maker and cook 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until golden. Use a fork to remove pizzelle to a wire rack and let cool.
Repeat until you've used up the batter.
Pizzelle makers vary so it may take a little adjustment to get your timing just right. Even with the same maker the timing will vary as the maker cycles. Sometimes pizzelles are done in 30 seconds, sometime 2 minutes. You really just have to watch them carefully.
~To make chocolate Pizzelle: Whisk in 3 tablespoons each cocoa powder and additional sugar, omit anise extract and seed if desired.
~To make nut Pizzelle: Stir in 3 tablespoons finely chopped nuts.