|Aunt Angie's Pizzelles
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp anise extract
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled*
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Sift flour and baking powder together, set aside.
Beat eggs and flavorings until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating the whole time. Beat until very light. Slowly pour in the melted butter, beating the whole time. Stir in the flour just until mixed- do not overbeat.
Spoon batter into middle of the a hot pizzelle iron brushed with melted shortening. Use a knife to push batter off of the spoon. Bake until the steam stops coming out, about 60 seconds. Remove with a spatula.†
*Add ¼ tsp of salt if butter is unsalted.
†The original recipe says to remove with a fork, but that did not end well for me.
Let's say you just bought a pizzelle iron but you have no idea how to make them. And let's further say it's the 1970s, which means you can't go online and find a recipe. And unlike us here at A Book of Cookrye, you didn't run off with your Italian ex's family's recipes. Fortunately for you, your new pizzelle iron has a recipe on a sticker applied to its handle.
A pizzelle iron with a recipe on its handle recently popped up in my Ebay suggestions. You may think I'm about to show a picture of this iron on my countertop and admit that I bought it, but I am financially immune to the allure of future waffle irons. However, before the iron went to a more willing buyer, I nabbed the recipe off the listing because you just never see appliances that have their own recipes stuck onto them.
That's a bit hard to read, so let's do a bit of photomanipulative magic to help our eyes.
I had to try it. Practically every kitchen device in existence comes with suggested recipes in the instruction manual, but I've never seen one printed on a sticker and applied to the thing itself. The closest equivalent I can think of are those cute ceramic pie pans and casseroles with recipes painted in the middle. I had to see if Rival's pizzelles were any good.
While we're making this recipe, it was a perfect time to try a near-identical one from my ex's family.
I don't know who Aunt Angie is. I never met anyone named Angie when I was introduced to the family. But her recipe is the same as the one off the Rival handle except she used a smidge more flour and an extra spoon of baking powder. I wonder if she happened to buy the same pizzelle iron and then improved the recipe a bit.
We began the pizzelle recipe as they seem to always go: whipping our eggs and sugar until they look like an unusually fluffy batter. When we slowly poured in the melted butter, things started to look a bit curdled under the beaters. I have not seen this in any pizzelle recipe I've made heretofore (granted, I've only made two).
Upon raising the beaters, we found a surprisingly good facsimile of icing. It may be a little bit curdled, but doesn't it almost look like you could squirt big blobs of it onto cupcakes?
At this point, we get to the only place where Rival and Aunt Angie diverge: Aunt Angie uses a smidge more flour and baking powder than Rival does. And so, because I am thorough, our batter got bifurcated and some surprisingly mathematical things ensued.
Here are the two recipes in their complete, ready-to-bake state. They look nearly identical in pictures. But if you prodded them with a spoon, Aunt Angie's was just a little bit firmer while the one that came off the Rival pizzelle maker was floppier.
|Rival's on the left, Aunt Angie's on the right.
And so, having gotten the iron heated up, the paper splatter-catcher laid on the counter, and the shortening melted and ready to brush, it was time to cook the Rival recipe. I'm not a pizzelle expert (I only started making them two months ago), but this dough seemed a lot runnier than any pizzelle I've made heretofore.
Rival's pizzelles cooked faster than the other recipes I've made. I think it's because there's so much sugar in them compared to everything else. The sugar browned before I was ready with a spatula. Rival's pizzelles were also a lot more fragile than the others I've made. I accidentally nudged one and it dropped a few shards of itself.
The Rival pizzelles weren't necessarily bad, but I was not impressed. They were a little too greasy from an excess of butter. This culinary misfire made me feel a bit of sympathy for anyone who bought a Rival pizzelle iron and made the recipe printed on it, year in and year out. Think of all those years of subprime pizzelles!
I thought the recipe needed just a little bit more flour to be just right. And conveniently enough, we had another bowl of batter that had a little more flour in it. It was Aunt Angie's turn at the iron. While we're making these, I have to point out that after getting helpful advice from Fante's Kitchen Shop in Philadelphia, I switched from cooking spray to melted shortening and a brush. I have to repeat how astounded I am at what my chemist friend described as shortening's "uncanny nonstick properties more comparable to Teflon than a natural
oil." This thin, wispy thing (and every single one like it) fell right out of the shortening-coated iron intact.
Moving back to the pizzelles, Aunt Angie's recipe is what Rival's wishes it could be. Here are the two side-by-side. You can see that Rival's recipe was just a little bit more perforated and not quite as nice.
Aunt Angie's recipe may be a near-exact copy of the one from Rival, but it had just enough additional flour to make the pizzelles near-perfect. Her recipe comes out just as I imagined pizzelles were like before I actually had one. They are light, crisp, and ever-so-delicate. I'm not sure how I could pack these to give them away unbroken, but I know that anyone I gave them to would eat them almost as fast as I would.
I don't necessarily recommend this as someone's first pizzelle recipe, but I definitely recommend making it. Because they're so delicate, they get bit tricky to lift them off of the iron. But that same fragility makes them so good to eat. They're like those impossibly fragile cookies you get at supermarkets with very upscale snack aisles.