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Pizzelle iron and pizzelles, an Italian waffle cookie.

Signe Lanford/The Globe and Mail

This pizzelle iron is hefty and solidly made in Italy from cast aluminum. Using it involves a bit of a learning curve, but once you're there, it's thrilling to turn out great big yummy cookies – really fancy cookies – one after the other.

The treat was born in the Abruzzo region and, depending on the maker and recipe, can be crispy or chewy, flat or bent into a cone. The cone-shaped ones just beg to be filled with something delicious, such as gelato or creamy cannoli filling. And a couple of the flat ones could totally do with a scoop of ice cream between them.

The hinged iron – its classic design styled after a snowflake – is perched at the end of long, wood-tipped steel handles to keep hands away from the flame (sorry, induction cooktop owners, this won't work for you – but there are electric models very much like a waffle iron). The surface isn't non-stick, so success comes down to getting the recipe, heat and oiling just right.

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$68 from www.kaufmann-mercantile.com

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Classic Pizzelle

Ingredients

  • 3 free-run eggs
  • 3/4 cups (175 ml) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) pure vanilla, almond, maple, lemon or anise extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (425 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt

Into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs and sugar and beat on medium or by hand until creamed.

Add the melted butter and extract and stir in to combine well.

In another bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, add the salt and stir to combine.

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While stirring or with the beater running, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until you have a smooth batter. Set aside while you bring the iron up to temperature.

Heat the closed pizzelle iron over medium heat. Hold it over the flame for five minutes, then flip and heat the other side for another five. When both sides have been heated, lightly spray both inside surfaces with non-stick spray or brush with oil or more melted butter. You should only have to grease the surface for the first cookie, as the batter should be buttery enough to self-grease the iron. But if you run into a sticky situation, go ahead and grease at will.

Add about 1 tablespoon of batter onto the centre of the iron, then slowly close it all the way shut. Don't rush this as the batter needs time to ooze into all the crevices. Cook for about 20 seconds on the first side, then flip and give it another 20 seconds or so. You'll likely have to play around a bit to get the hang of the iron, the process and your stove.

Use an offset spatula or butter knife to gently lift the pizzelle from the iron. Either roll onto a wooden cone while still warm and pliable or lay flat on a cooling rack.

To serve, dust with icing sugar. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Makes about 30 pizzelle.

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