As many of you know, every year my mom and I bake dozens up dozens of Christmas cookies. It's a tradition we've kept for as long as I can remember and even though it's a lot of work, and makes the kitchen a mess (a problem for us clean freaks!) it's totally worth it in the end. We enjoy these cookies throughout the holiday season and share them with our friends, family and colleagues. They're always a big hit!
Every year, we have the "staple" cookies. These are the cookies that are on the "to-bake" list ever year, without fail. They're Italian Pizzelles (see below for details), thumbprints, butter balls (aka Russian tea cakes) and basic shortbreads. This year we also added lemon drop pecan cookies, peanut butter cookies and pistachio-cranberry cookies. Four dozen eggs and 5 pounds of butter later, this was a sampling of this year's finished products.
My personal favorite are the Italian Pizzelles. We use my great-grandmother's recipe every year and they're usually the cookies that go first at our holiday parties. I really look forward to them making, and eating them every holiday season!
These traditional waffle cookies, which get their name from the Italian word, "pizze," meaning "flat and round," have been staples in Italian bakeries and kitchens for centuries, first originating in the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy. To this day, these delicious cookies are found at most Italian weddings and celebrations, and are rarely missing from Christmas dessert tables due to their snowflake resemblance. In my family, Christmas wouldn't be the same without them. It's for this reason that I'm sharing our family recipe.
My Great-Grandmother's Italian Pizzelle Recipe
Each batch will make approximately 3-4 dozen cookies.
You will need:
6 cups eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
2 TBSP anise
2 TBSP vanilla
1 cup butter, melted
Beat eggs, adding sugar gradually. Beat well. Add butter, vanilla and anise flavoring. Sift flour and baking powder and blend with egg mixture. Dough is sticky.
Make sure Pizzelle Machine is preheated and slightly greased. Drop batter by teaspoon. Cook 35-45 seconds (adjust accordingly). Cookies will be a light golden brown when they are ready. Remove from Pizzelle Maker and move to cookie sheets to cool.
After 10-15 minutes, sprinkle powdered sugar on top and enjoy!
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