Authentic Italian Pizzelle made an Authentic Iron

Last updated 05/29/2010 





About my Pizzelle,

About me........

My name is Gary and I learned to make Pizzelle from my Grand-Aunt Helen (Mancini-Maiden Name, and Prestera Uncle Tony's name) who had in turn, learned how to make them from her Mother (my Great-Grandmother), Anna Mancini.

"Aunt Helen"

Pronouncing "Pizzelle"

OK, I don't want to be controversial on this site, so I'm going to provide all of the links I can find on the net and you can be the judge.  Apparently there are many different ways in Italian to treat various vowels and such where some get left silent and some get emphasized.  So the bottom line is some are staunch defenders of "Pitt-Sell" while other derivations such as "Pitts-Sell-Lay" are used.  Let's be blunt here, Americans have butchered "Espresso" as "Expresso" for years.  I pronounce it both ways but grew up using "Pitts-Sell-Lay" and like the way it rolls off your tongue when combined to make "Pizzelle-Man" (ME!) so I will weigh in here a little and say no one way is right or wrong, it's just very personal and sometimes people get very passionate about the subject because it is so near and dear to them.  I won't condemn you, please don't condemn me or anyone else either, just cherish your own personal memories or make new ones.

Pronouncing Pizzelle Link

Another Pronouncing Pizzelle Link

Another Pronouncing Pizzelle Link

Another Pronouncing Pizzelle Link

Another Pronouncing Pizzelle Link Italian suggestions!

Another Pronouncing Pizzelle Link

Another Pronouncing Pizzelle Link

Done yet?  I think we can agree to disagree, or, agree there are many different ways to pronounce it.  Therefore I, the "Pizzelleman" decree that you can pronounce it any way you are most comfortable with, or grew up with, or the way you like to say it personally.

The recipe I use is what I was taught many years ago and is flavored with Anise Seeds (I buy mine in bulk from World Spice located here in Seattle).  I also use Anise Oil when making Pizzelle for Aunt Helen's Son, Ron who gets Diverticulitis, and literally can't "stomach" the seeds.  Anise Oil is extremely strong, and should be used exceedingly sparingly (1 or 2 Teaspoons tops) as it is very concentrated and too much will ruin the batch. 

Also, my family's recipe utilizes a dough which is placed on the iron and cooked.  I hope you are not screaming and pounding on the keyboard at this moment because you or a loved one used a batter.  That's fine with me, my family and friends love mine made from a dough and that is what counts, so please get over it and no hating or hate mail over a cookie.   

Pizzelle can be plain or flavored, and ours have always been flavored with anise to give a hint of licorice flavor to the cookies.  Some other flavors I've heard of being used are; almond, chocolate, hazelnut, lemon, and vanilla to start naming a few. 

Oh, by the way, I'm illustrating how these are made to preserve the tradition of handmade Italian Pizzelle, but I'm not giving out the family's recipe, so please don't ask.

I did find this dough recipe on the Internet if you would like to try one out.

My mother tells me she can remember Anna and her friends sitting and enjoying the Pizzelle while sipping a liqueur, but I like them with my morning coffee or as dessert (by themselves, or with a good quality vanilla bean ice cream). 

My brother (Dr. Dave) makes Ice Cream Sandwiches out of them with Nutella slathered on one side of each Pizzelle and a half inch or so of slightly softened Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream in the middle.  Re-freeze them a little and, Violá! (See the Recipes Page or Dave's Ice Cream Sandwich Page for a Pictorial lesson on how Dr. Dave makes his Ice Cream Sandwiches)

Anna Mancini's Husband (my Great-Grandfather), Annibale Mancini made the family's Pizzelle Iron in 1920 which has been used continuously since.  The iron is engraved with his name on one side, and the year it was made (1920) on the opposite side.  It is a rectangular iron with a smaller rectangular area in the middle for the name and the date with some ornate markings stamped on the middle of the iron and in the diamonds that comprise the pattern. 

The iron is made of steel and cast iron, not aluminum, and is one of the more detailed and ornate hand made irons I have seen in many years of viewing and buying Pizzelle Irons on eBay.  I try to collect them to save them from the junkyard or recycle bin, as each iron represents some family's tradition or heritage which would otherwise be lost (see my Online Museum). 

I have also come the the opinion that the material of the iron, clamping force, Etc., also influences how the Pizzelle turn out.  So combine that with a unique recipe and each family's Pizzelle is very personal, not to mention all the love and care which goes into making these cookies for those you are close to.

The iron that I make my Pizzelle was passed on to me when Aunt Helen grew older and could no longer heft it on and off the burner on the stove, which comprises the operations required to make the cookies one at a time since the iron is a fairly heavy item as it has cast iron plates and steel handles.

I am therefore also known as the Pizzelleman due to the fact that I make these delicious Italian Cookies in the time honored tradition of my Italian ancestors from the Abruzzi (or Abruzzo) region (located [Click here] to the north and west of Rome).  There is and interesting Italian heritage site from the Washington, DC area you may want to browse if you have a chance.

My busiest time of the year is between Thanksgiving and Christmas when I average 3 dozen batches for family and friends.  Please remember that since these cookies are made one at a time, it takes approximately an hour and a half for each batch when you add up cooking time and mixing the dough, it gets to be quite a while in the kitchen. 

When I first learned how to make them, the cooking time was longer (3 hours with hand mixing and individual cooking!) on a lower heat setting, but I learned out of necessity how to make them the same as Aunt Helen, but with a combination of higher heat and shorter cooking times for each cookie.

The first year I made them, four batches took over 12 hours and I was up all night baking to get them out in the overnight mail the next morning.  Then, as it is now, is a really good feeling to get them made and sent out or delivered as a way to give a little of yourself with every crisp, delicious cookie.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share a little about my Pizzelle and my family. 


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Pizzelle Quiz and Review


What's New

Gary's Cookies

Pizzelle History

Making Pizzelle


Online Museum

Purchase Pizzelle, Etc.

About Pizzelle & Me

Interactive Internet Pizzelle Resources
Pizzelle Quiz and Review
Dave's Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches

Contact Me

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