MAKES ABOUT 4 1/2 DOZEN COOKIES
Everyone loves pizzelle. One of the all-time favorites, this waffle-like cookie is made on a pizzelle iron. Originally these cookies were make one at a time, using a single-handled pizzelle iron with a personal design etched in the center. My grandmother Saporito had one that sported two individuals toasting with wineglasses. The idea was to hold the iron over a gas flame, turning it once to create the cookie. Over the years I have experimented with many variations of pizzelle, changing their look and taste with the seasons of the year. For Christmas my family loves this version, which is a standard vanilla-flavored dough; before each little ball of dough is put onto the form, it is coated with multicolored sprinkles.
When the lid is pressed down on the dough, a pretty stained-glass look is created that is unusual and very festive. Chill the dough for several hours before rolling the balls in the sprinkles. I prefer to use a non-coated pizzelle iron, as the weight of the lid helps to create a thinner cookie.
3 1/2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups multicolored sugar sprinkles
In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Add the vanilla extract. On low speed, blend in the flour mixture a little at a time until well blended. The dough will be soft.
Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
(Note: You can make the dough in a food processor, combining the butter and sugar first, then eggs and vanilla, and last the flour mixture.)
Heat a pizzelle maker according to the manufacturer's directions. If it is nonstick, spray it with a baking spray or lightly brush with vegetable oil.
Pour the sugar sprinkles into a shallow dish. Using 2 teaspoons scoop up a spoonful of the dough, and using the spoon as a guide, roll the dough in the sugar sprinkles, coating it well. Place the dough in the center of the form; if you have a 2-form maker, or 4-form maker, roll the balls first before putting them on the form.
Close the lid and latch it for a count to 30. Lift the lid and remove the pizzelle with the edge of a fork and place them on cooling racks in single layers to cool completely. For darker-colored pizzelle hold for a longer count. Continue making pizzelle until all the dough is used.
The pizzelle should be thin and have a crisp texture. When completely cool, wrap them in groups of 6 in plastic wrap and place them in airtight containers. Pizzelle can be made ahead and frozen for up to 3 months.
Variation: When just removed from the pizzelle form, the waffles can be rolled around cannoli forms, or pressed between two small custard cups to form shapes that can be filled with cream, custard, or fruit. Scoop softened ice cream between two pizzelle to make delicious ice-cream sandwiches.
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