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Pizzelle – Italian Waffle Cookies

pizzelles-ribbon

I have a huge soft spot in my  heart for pizzelle. Growing up, it was extremely rare to walk into my grandma’s house and not find a large tin of pizzelles waiting to be eaten (they were usually sitting right next to the huge tin of biscotti that were also a staple in her house). My grandma doesn’t get to cook and bake as much as she used to, so I don’t feast on Italian baked goods quite as often anymore. I do try to bake biscotti on a fairly regular basis, but I have only made pizzelle a couple of times, always around the holidays.

I had just been thinking about how I was craving a good pizzelle when I went with my Chief Culinary Consultant to visit his Nana and she showed us a book she had received – Always on Sunday – which is about growing up Italian. The author is based in Pittsburgh, but it’s a wonderful book for anyone who is Italian and shared family traditions, no matter where you grew up. We started leafing through it and found a number of delicious-sounding recipes in the back of the book. There was a recipe for pizzelle so I scribbled it down on a notepad and less than two days later I had my pizzelle iron out and ready to go!

For those that are not familiar, pizzelle are traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, some type of fat (butter, shortening or oil), and flavorings (the most popular are vanilla and anise). I have had many different pizzelles and depending on the ratio of ingredients you can get them paper thin and crispy, thick and soft, or any variation in between. This recipe (and my personal preference) is for pizzelle that are about in the middle in terms of thickness and have a nice crunch, but don’t crumble apart when you bite into them.

pizzelles-process

Notes on the recipe:

♦  You do need a pizzelle iron to make these, but they are fairly inexpensive. You can find many varieties on Amazon, as well as at stores such Bed Bath & Beyond and local Italian groceries (which is where mine came from).

♦  If your pizzelle iron is stainless steel, you will want to spray it lightly with Pam (or whatever oil spray you prefer) before you start. I find that one spray in the beginning is sufficient since the fat from the recipe usually will act as a non-stick agent as well.

♦  I find that when I drop the batter onto the iron, putting it slightly above the center of the circle ensures that the batter spreads the whole way to the back of the mold. For some reason if I drop it exactly in the center the back of the cookie doesn’t get fully molded (you can see this in the bottom right picture above).

♦  You can do many different things with pizzelle – different flavorings, roll them while still warm and fill with cannoli filling, or sandwich two between chocolate ganache or your favorite icing. I have even been known to eat a pizzelle with peanut butter spread on top. The possibilities are endless!

pizzelles-stack

1 Year Ago: New York-Style Crumb Cake
2 Years Ago: Blueberry Crisp

More Italian Cookie Recipes:
Cucidati (Italian Fig Cookies)
Italian Walnut Pillow Cookies
Chocolate Biscotti
Traditional Biscotti

Pizzelle

Yield: Approximately 3 dozen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

6 eggs
1 cup butter, melted
1½ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3½ cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Beat the eggs on medium speed until pale and thick.

2. Add the melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined. With the mixer still running, add the sugar and mix until combined.

3. Add the extracts and continue to mix.

4. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour, mixing until combined.

5. Preheat the pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. When ready, drop batter by heaping tablespoon onto iron, close, and hold closed for as long as the manufacturer states.

6. When ready, open iron and remove pizzelle with a rubber spatula. Repeat until all batter is used.

Storing: Pizzelle can be stored in either an airtight container or cookie tin. I can't tell you how long they last because I have never heard of pizzelle going bad!

(Adapted from Always on Sunday by Marcia A. Russotto)

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80 Responses to “Pizzelle – Italian Waffle Cookies”

  1. stephchows on June 8, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    MMmmmmm I love making pizzelles. My dad and I would always make them together :)

    Reply

  2. VeggieGirl on June 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    So delicate-looking! Pizzelles definitely bring back nostalgia for me.

    Reply

  3. Risa on June 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t have a Pizzelle iron, but if I did I would definitely make these. I love them!

    Reply

  4. Michelle on June 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Stephchows & VeggieGirl – Pizzelles definitely evoke lots of great family memories,I’m glad I could bring back the memories for you as well!

    Risa – hurry out and get a pizzelle iron. They are inexpensive and definitely worth it!

    Reply

  5. Michele on June 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    OMG! I used to make them all the time! I wonder where our machine is. They are so light and wonderful!

    Reply

  6. michelle on June 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Great post, brings back great memories from my childhood!

    Reply

  7. Cookin' Canuck on June 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    These are beautiful! I would love to receive a stack of these with a bow tied around them!

    Reply

  8. Delezzia on June 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Pizzelles are great. I’m really surprised they are not more popular but they have always been a Christmas staple in our family. You can also add a handful of anise seeds into your batter. I store them in air tight tins and after a day or two they are a little crispier and smell great. They go perfectly with a cup of coffee!

    Reply

  9. Sarah on June 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    These are a holiday staple at my house. My mom adds a twist to some of them — I think she adds some coconut flavoring to the pizzelle, then she cuts them into quarters and dips the wide end into melted chocolate. Then she sprinkles them with some toasted coconut before the chocolate hardens. I have been known to eat tins full of those…

    Reply

    • Dawn on March 22nd, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      That sounds delicious!

      Reply

  10. Erin on June 8, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    My husband is crazy about these! I don’t have a pizzelle maker, so I’ve never made them before, but I think I’ll need to get one before Christmas!

    Reply

  11. Michelle on June 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Delezzia – I love the idea of stirring in anise seeds. I love the flavor of anise so I am definitely going to try this the next time I make these.

    Sarah – Wow, dipping pieces of pizzelle in chocolate?! I might have to steal that idea for the holidays!

    Reply

  12. Liliana on June 8, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Michelle, your pizzelle look amazing! I want to make some – now!

    I always make Pizelle for Christmas – can’t seem to make enough. I either add anise extract or lemon zest to the batter. My recipe is very similar to yours except I use vegetable oil instead of butter.
    Hmm..I think I will get out that pizelle maker…

    Reply

  13. Kerstin on June 8, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    So pretty! I love hearing about familiy recipes :)

    Reply

  14. Avanika(YumsiliciousBakes) on June 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    These are so pretty!! I’ve been seeing pizzelles all over, I wish I could try them :(

    Reply

  15. Michelle on June 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Avanika – You should definitely try them!

    Reply

  16. pixen on June 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    yes, the pizeelles are really beautiful. I was tempeted to buy the pan years ago but due to space constraint I had to forget it. End of this year, I’m upgrading my kitchen, it’s time to get the pizzelle pan in! Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply

  17. Lindsay on June 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I don’t know what it is about pizzelle, but I just love them! I think the recipe you used is the exact same one I use when I make the traditional pizzelle. I tend to make them around the holidays, but seeing your post is making me crave them, so I may have to make some soon.

    Reply

  18. ashley on June 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    they’re so pretty!!

    Reply

  19. Marcia on July 28, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Hello!!! My daughter, who lives in San Diego, told me about your blog…particularlly this post which mentions my book, Always on Sunday, and my recipe for pizzelles!!! As you can imagine, I was very , very excited and honored. My book has been out for one year, and I just recently published a companion cookbook which consists of many of our treasured Italian family recipes. I would like to send you a copy of my first book and also the new cookbook. If you would kindly contact me,either on my website or e-mail, I’d love to chat with you!
    Marcia A. Russotto

    Reply

  20. Marcia on July 28, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    BTW, your pizzelles look absolutely gorgeuos!
    Marcia

    Reply

  21. Robin on December 10, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Has anyone made the batter a head of time and mad the pizzelle cookies the next day. Some days I have time to make the dough but not enough time to put the through the iron.

    Reply

  22. Michelle on December 14, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Hi Robin,

    I have not made the batter ahead of time, but if you give it a shot I’d love to hear how it worked out!

    Reply

    • Gigi on October 23rd, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      I have made the batter ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours and the pizelle have turned out just fine. Never tried overnight, but I’m sure they would be okay.

      Reply

  23. jehan on February 4, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I am a follower of your blog. I was just thinking about making pizzelles and remember you had a recipe. My question is all the recipes I have seen have baking powder Does add or not add the Baking powder make a difference?

    Reply

  24. Michelle on February 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Jehan,

    My recipe actually does not use baking powder; baking powder typically allows baked goods to rise while baking in the oven – think cookies that have a little puff to them instead of being totally flat. I don’t see any reason why baking powder would be needed in pizzelle. I hope you enjoy them!

    Reply

  25. Peggy on June 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    When do you add the sugar?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 18th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Peggy,

      Oops! You add it after the melted butter. I am going back to edit this right now. Thanks for the catch!

      Reply

  26. Joan Bongiovanni on November 30, 2010 at 11:38 am

    How far ahead of time can I make pizzelles and keep them fresh?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 1st, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Oh, quite far. My grandma would make hundreds of pizzelle at a time and just keep them in tins for visitors (and hungry family!). Because they are a hard, drier cookie you could do them at least a couple of weeks in advance for when you need them. Just store them in a sealed container.

      Reply

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  28. Ethan on December 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t have a pizzelle maker, but what do you think would happen if I put the batter into a regular waffle iron? Is there a big difference between the irons besides the patterning?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 17th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Ethan, pizzelle irons are actually very different than waffle irons. They don’t have deep wells but rather are flat. I’ve never put pizzelle batter into a regular waffle iron so I have no idea what would happen ;-) But you could try!

      Reply

  29. Liv B on April 18, 2011 at 12:20 am

    OH! My Nonna makes these too! We always have them with a slight anise flavour and we eat them plain. One of the many joys of our visits to her. My dad (an Australian) absolutely LOVES them. I might have to give this recipe a go for him. I’m sure Nonna wouldn’t mind if I borrowed the iron…

    Reply

  30. Tina W on June 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I purchased a pizzelle maker two Christmases ago for my mother. I seem to be the one that spends a day making several batches. We normally make the traditional and chocolate. Today I decided on coconut which turned out pretty good. More coconut flakes and extract next. Your recipe you posted is slightly different than mine and have copied it down to make on my next round.

    I do have a question….I have attempted in the past to shape them into a bowl or cannoli shape but cannot do it without the cookie cracking. Do you have a trick on this?

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 12th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Tina, I actually have never tried to shape pizzelles into cannoli shells, bowls or cones so unfortunately I have no tricks to share :( If you figure it out definitely come back and let us know!

      Reply

      • Bari on November 25th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        When I worked in a shop we used to make homemade waffle cones for ice cream and all. The trick is just to do it as fast as possible. I would say just take pizzelle out of maker, and as quick as possible use a cylinder shape…and you could do a cone that way. The key is being quick before it sets. I’m sure it would be the same for pizzelle cookies as it would for waffles being they work in the same way. The only difference is the how Thick the waffles are, compared to the Pizzelles. Good Luck* Also, I am wanting to make huge batches of this to then send gift boxes, or tins of these.to family. My Mom and I would make these every Christmas for our family, and since My Mom passed many years ago, I thought about making everyone in our family a tin/box of these, but what I am wondering is… if I am sending these like a gift package… what else could I put in with the pizzelles…to add to the gift box for Christmas? Any ideas? Something I could make large batches of, that won’t take me broke lol Thank you

        Reply

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  32. cathy on August 15, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I love pizelles and make them all the time….3 different electric machines but my older 2 make them very , very thin…they are not in existence anymore (the machines) the new ones make thick pizelles…thanks for the blog and rice ball recipe….is put ricotta in the rice mixture and are delicious….

    Reply

    • Eva Tolentino on December 15th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      What brand or make were the older pizzelle makers . I would love to get my hands on one that make them real thin!!!!!

      Thanks Eva

      Reply

  33. Shelly on December 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Pizzelles are a family Christmas tradition and when I got married and moved away from the more Italian dominate area of the country for California she bought me my very own pizzelle press.

    I’ve been making them for the past 7 Christmas seasons in multiple batches and I just ran into my first problem. I don’t know if it’s something I did (over beated, used the wrong size egg, etc) or if it’s time to retire my press. My pizzelles were uneven thickness. I like them thin and crunchy. The back of the press was such but as it got to the front they were thicker and soft. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 7th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Shelly, It sounds like part of the oven isn’t heating up enough. I’m not sure if your model latches shut or needs to be held close once the batter is in there, but I would make sure that something isn’t broken with the closing mechanism, or make sure you are holding it shut tight.

      Reply

  34. Emily on December 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Just made these today using my Grandmothers pizzelle iron, at least 30 years old, and they turned out great! My family loved them. I am attempting your nut roll recipe later today, I can’t wait! Thank you for all of your fabulous recipes!

    Reply

  35. Donna on March 22, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Now that Spring has officially “sprung”…I’m turning to your wonderful pizzelles/brigadini recipe to make homemade “cones”…Question…is it possible to sub Pernod, Ricard or another anis–based liqueur for the anis extract?..I cannot seem to locate this in this particular corner of France…Also..I have an old Tuscan recipe for Brigadini which uses olive oil instead of butter…would this work as well?..I love to add a scattering of anis seeds too for the pretty texture..I love your blog..am an avid/devoted follower…and miss Regent Square…Point Breeze…all things Steelers…the PEOPLE!!!! …LOVE “Y’UNS” …You are a stellar talent in such a wonderfully rich and humane city…Thanks for all you do and share with us..

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 31st, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Donna, You could definitely use an anise-based liquor, and throw in anise seeds. You can also use olive oil in place of the butter; the texture will be a little different, but still delicious! My grandma always used oil in her pizzelle, but unfortunately she never wrote down a recipe :( Thank you for all the kind words about Pittsburgh! Love my hometown!

      Reply

  36. Karen H on April 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    These baked up very nicely and crisp. My daughter loved them but for myself I felt they were a little to sweet and thicker then what I like. I will keep this recipe but next time I will leave out some of the sugar and some flour. It was quite a thick batter.

    Reply

  37. barb on June 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    my pizelles are to soft–help

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 8th, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Hi Barb, These particular pizzelles or other recipes in general? I know that air temperature and humidity can play a factor. If you don’t have central air conditioning and it’s humid, the pizzelles will never crisp up. My grandma would never make them if it was raining out, or too humid during the summer. I have central air so I make them whenever, but the air can definitely be a factor.

      Reply

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  39. Joanne on June 8, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    We’re doing a cookie table for an upcoming wedding and are asking ourselves a few questions that maybe you can help with:
    1. Has anyone tried freezing their pizzelles?
    2. For airtight – does it matter whether we use a tin or tupperware or just a ziplock bag?
    3. If we want a crisp and thin version, do we skip the bkg powder as you did here and go for a thicker rather than a thinner batter?
    4. If we are using the AC on a warm but not wet day, do you recommend leaving the cookies on racks for a longer time or a shorter time for a cripser cookie? An hour or a day?
    We normally make these cookies only at Christmas and since it is a summer wedding we are anxious to get them right. Thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 10th, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Hi Joanne, See answers to your questions below:

      1. I’ve never frozen pizzelles. They have an incredibly long shelf life (my grandma would keep hers in tins for months), plus I find they get eaten quickly ;-)

      2. Any of those would work.

      3. I’m not sure if you want a thin and crispy pizzelle or a thicker version? This recipe yields a slightly thicker, but still crispy, pizzelle.

      4. You just need to cool the pizzelles on the racks until they are completely cool and hard. How long will just depend on the temperature in your house/kitchen. It usually don’t take very long, though. Just pick them up and check to ensure they are completely cool and hard.

      Enjoy! :)

      Reply

    • ginny on October 13th, 2013 at 8:15 am

      I freeze these all the time. If not crisp enough, I lay them on a cookie sheet, and bake them at 275* for 3-5 minutes. This can be done right after making them, or whenever you take an amount out of the freezer. They stay crisp (in baggies) forever after that.

      Reply

      • Gigi on October 23rd, 2013 at 5:38 pm

        I freeze these all the time, too. They come out of the freezer just as crisp as when I put them in. Love pizelles.

        Reply

  40. Joanne on June 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Thanks so much, Michelle. The wedding is June 30th – I’ll let you know how they turn out!

    Reply

  41. claudette on December 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    wht do my pizelles go soft?? They are crunchy at first though.

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 18th, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Claudette, If it’s humid in your house, this could cause it. My grandma would never make pizzelles when it was going to rain. You may have also stacked them or stored them before they were completely cool.

      Reply

  42. Angelina on December 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Made your pizzelle’s and loved them! Thank you for the wonderful recipe, my Italian family approved and thought they were delicious! I posted the process on my blog, thank you for the inspiration. Buon Natale!

    Reply

  43. Oksana Babich on December 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Michelle! When you say 1 cup butter, melted – do you mean 16 tablespoons melted or melted butter that fits in a 1 measuring cup? Sorry, I ALWAYS get thrown off when it comes to butter + cups? I don’t know which way to take it? Can you please explain.

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 20th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Oksana, You measure 1 cup of butter, which is 8 ounces (or 2 sticks), then melt it.

      Reply

  44. Sara W on January 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Yes, you can freeze pizzelles! Since they are so thin, you don’t even need to let them thaw. I actually prefer them straight out of the freezer – that way they are always super crisp!

    Reply

  45. Val W on January 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Question: Have you ever used a prepared boxed cookie mix?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 9th, 2013 at 11:05 am

      I have not ever used a packaged cookie mix.

      Reply

  46. Jackie H on March 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I noticed you mentioned your Grandmother’s recipe had oil instead of butter. I prefer the oil recipe. The pizzelli are a lot lighter and I find the they stay fresher longer. I got my recipe from an Italian friend and it the best I have found:
    6 eggs
    3/4 cup of vegetable oil
    1 cup of sugar
    2 cups of all purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp brandy liquor / anise flavoring (I use the oil instead of extract)
    In a food processor, mix the eggs, oil and sugar. Then add baking powder and liquor/flavoring and mix. Then add the flour and mix well. She said for chocolate pizzelli melt about 2oz. of semi-sweet chocolate with 1/2 tsp of milk in the microwave and add it when mixing in the baking powder and liquor/flavoring. Bake according to your pizzelli maker instructions.

    Reply

  47. David Crichton on May 16, 2013 at 3:29 am

    Hi Michelle,

    Google has brought me to your wonderful blog. I have made some candied walnut and miso ice cream, for some reason I have a craving for topping these with a malted waffle. I don’t have a waffle iron but I’m sure I can get away with a hot pan.

    I’ll put the link in my write up back to this recipe if that’s ok?

    Dave.

    Reply

  48. Denise White on June 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I bought a pizelle maker from amazon $44.00 price tag $79.00 postage Then had to pay $110 for a transformer from Dick Smith because of different voltage
    Bloody expensive pizelle maker

    Reply

    • alvi on December 9th, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      never trust amazon

      Reply

  49. Terry B on October 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve been eating pizzelles since a child. I now make them every year for Christmas — love the smell!!! My recipe is similar, but I use Anise seed instead of the extract!

    Reply

  50. Sheila on December 8, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I got this bright idea to make the cookies, researched popular brands, settled on the Cuizinart, at a modest price etc. I couldn’t wait to get started. Brought it home, read the instructions, and low and behold from the 1st cookie on, they are perfect. Today I am going to experiment with different recipes and flavorings. I am planning to gift wrap and give them to family and friends. Money being tight this year, these are a thoughtful and delicious way to remember family and friends with a treat that comes from your home and heart. “What a great idea”>I said to myself. Merry Christmas 20013 !

    Reply

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  52. LisaT on December 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Making these tonight. They’re thin and crispy. I needed to add nearly triple the anise extract though. I used that which has alcohol in it and it’s just not as strong. Delicious!

    Reply

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  54. Dave Morris on December 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Saw your blog, I wonder if you can help me make better shaped pizzelles. I make pretty good pizzelles but some come out oval, some to small some to large. Should I put more dough on the iron and snip off all the overflow? What do you do? Thanks Dave

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 18th, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Dave, Mine are never perfect, some overflow, some are smaller. If there are big ones that overflow, I just break off the overflow. Hope that helps!

      Reply

  55. Michele on December 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I didn’t see any Baking soda or baking powder. Is this correct ?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 22nd, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Michele, Yes, this is correct.

      Reply

  56. Rowena Garcia on December 27, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Excellent recipe – I just moved and lost my tattered recipe book which held a lot of my mothers recipes and cooking tips… so when I found your recipe I noticed it looked like moms and it tastes the same – I did note that cooking times decreased the longer the iron was hot!

    Reply

  57. JKelly on December 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I’m enjoying reading the discussion. I’ve been making pizzelles since 1990, and this year marked a kind of turning point. I gave my son-in-law and daughter their own pizzelle maker. I always used Villa Ware, but they stopped carrying them. Fortunately, a brand called Cucina Pro is available and the iron appears to be made in the same factory, as it’s indistinguishable from the Villa Ware model. The first year I used anise extract and found the cookies less flavorful than I cared for. My Italian uncle then told me he always uses anise oil, and I have done so ever since. I came to this blog because another friend of mine whose husband just gave her an iron asked me if they could be frozen. Like many of you, I’ve found that storage is never a problem :) One thing I will mention that I haven’t seen talked about is that over the years I’ve gone from one iron to two at a time, and last year to three. Most years I make between five and seven batches of 10 dozen to a batch, so I need to step up production. Believe it or not, it works, as long as you stay focused. I line them up side by side, and take them out in the order I put them in. Each year I burn one or two, but more good news — my grandson loves the burnt ones. Thanks for this discussion.

    Reply

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  59. Peggy S on April 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Hi, I make these very often. Yes you can freeze them and they come out even more crispy. I also add color sprinkles & coconut & they are great. Once I tried some chocolate sprinkles but did not care for them. When I sprinkle powdered sugar over them when I remove from Pizzelle maker I add some cinnamon sugar and gives them a better flavor….They are time consuming but well worth it..I do recommend you try these…Your friends & family will simply love and want more.:)

    Reply

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