I'm normally one to shy away from having those annoying "one-use only" kinds of kitchen gadgets. I don't own any madeleine pans, or a springform ice cream cake pan, or one of those giant "cupcake" pans. I don't own pancake molds, or pie crust edge cutters. I see no reason to own a yogurt maker, and as cute as this little pie maker is, I can't see myself getting one. The only pieces of one-use kitchen equipment I own are a waffle maker (because homemade waffles are the best kinds of waffles- see here and here), a cherry pitter (because after one attempt to pit 2.5 pounds of cherries by hand, I realized how practical investing in a cherry pitter could be), and an ice cream maker (because, like waffles, homemade ice cream is the best kind of ice cream- this is my favorite). Oh wait, there's actually one more one-use kitchen gadget that I own. A pizzelle maker, of course.
I don't actually remember getting it, though.
I've always looked forward to the holiday season, for many obvious reasons, like giving gifts, decorating Christmas trees, seeing the window displays along 5th Ave, attempting to create really elaborate gingerbread houses (and never finishing them), and of course, making (and eating) Christmas cookies. I love all kinds of Christmas cookies, and pizzelle are one of my favorites. Pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies, and are popular around the holiday season. Even though I'm not Italian, I grew up eating pizzelle every year around Christmas time, and eventually, my mom must have decided to get a pizzelle iron for us to have at home. I don't remember when this happened; all I remember is that we went from not having a pizzelle maker one day to suddenly having one the next. This was several years ago, and I've been making pizzelle around Christmas time ever since. In fact, I can't even imagine letting Christmas go by without these cookies!
I usually just make the traditional type of pizzelle, which is a hard, crisp cookie that's often flavored with anise. This time though, I wanted to change things up and make a chocolate version of the classic buttery waffle cookie that I've enjoyed for so many years. The chocolate pizzelle might have to become a new tradition! They were delicious, and a welcome change. I love traditional pizzelle, but the chocolate pizzelle were just as lovely! They weren't ridiculously chocolatey, but you could definitely taste the difference from the traditional cookies. I think that the next time I make these, I'm going to make some sort of chocolate filling to sandwich in between two pizzelle...now that sounds like a great tradition that's definitely worth starting!
Making pizzelle is quite simple. The batter comes together in seconds, and it can be completely mixed by hand- no mixer needed! The process of actually cooking the pizzelle cookies is probably the most time-consuming part, simply because you can only make two pizzelle at a time on a pizzelle iron, and they take about 30-45 seconds to make. It's a little time consuming, but not hard at all! One trick I've learned over the years is to drop the batter just slightly behind the center of each pizzelle mold, so that when you close the iron, the batter will move forward, and you'll get perfectly centered pizzelle every time. What's great about making pizzelle is that when you take them off the iron, they are still soft, so you can roll them up into cones or cannoli-shapes, and fill them with cream, or other sorts of fillings. I guess this one-use kitchen appliance can serve more functions than just making flat pizzelle after all!
Pizzelle are some of my favorite Christmas cookies, and while I love the traditional anise cookies, this chocolate version is definitely a close runner-up. If you have a pizzelle iron, you should definitely give these cookies a go!
recipe from Food Network
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
confectioner's sugar, for dusting the cookies
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, briefly whisk together the eggs, sugar, and melted butter, until smooth and evenly combined.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-butter mixtures, and gradually mix until a thick batter has formed.
Preheat a pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions until hot, about 10 minutes or so. Lightly spray the hot iron with nonstick baking spray. Drop about one tablespoon of the batter slightly behind the center of each cookie imprint. Close the pizzelle iron, and cook each cookie until a puff of steam comes out from the iron (about 30-45 seconds). Carefully open the iron, and with an offset metal spatula, remove the cookie from the iron and allow it to cool on a wire rack. The cookies will be soft and malleable when you remove them from the iron, but will harden in a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining batter. Once the cookies are cool, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy!
Makes about 2 dozen pizzelle cookies