I can thank Pittsburgh for my foray into pizzelles. Before I met my husband, I had never made them, saw them in Italian bakeries, I’m not even sure I had ever tasted them. But the first time I went home to western Pennsylvania with my husband, I was introduced to the art of the iron pressed cookie. Immediately when I walked into his parents’ house, I was greeted with an intense aroma of anise. Apparently my future father-in-law had been positioned at the pizzelle iron for hours making enough cookies to feed the city of Pittsburgh. The iron is brought out for every visit, every wedding (if you don’t know the tradition for the cookie table in western Pennsylvania, you are seriously missing out) and especially for Christmas. At my in-laws’ house the pizzelles are magic: we sit around the table all evening, talking and laughing and eating pizzelles. But somehow, magically the platter is never empty. It’s a true Christmas miracle courtesy of my mother-in-law Dolores.
The traditional recipe from Doug’s family still remain our family favorite, but like the biscotti, I have tried some delicious variations: gingerbread (from Smitten Kitchen), chocolate mint, vanilla. This year’s variety get rolled up and fancied up with a cinnamon cream filling. Make sure you roll them immediately when they come off the iron - they firm up very quickly. You will burn a few fingers - totally worth it!
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Whip the cream in a cold stainless bowl until it starts to thicken. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue beating until the consistency is correct. Be careful not to over beat as it will start to separate.
Add the eggs and sugar to a large bowl and beat to combine. Whisk in the butter, a little at a time. Add the liqueur, orange zest, and extract. Mix well and set aside.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl, and whisk to combine.
A little at a time, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Use a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly.
Heat the pizzelle iron and lightly spritz it with the nonstick cooking spray.
Add about 1 tablespoon of the batter to the center of the patterned part of the iron. Bake according to the maker’s instructions, about 30-40 seconds, or until lightly golden
remove from iron and immediately roll the cookie (it helps to do one at a time instead of two)
Use a piping bag to fill with cream.