PIZZELLE are a wafer-like, waffle like, cookie traditionally made in the central-south of Italy, the Abruzzo and Molise. They are made using a type of waffle iron with a flavored batter. An Italo American family run bakery, Fogliani, using the site of a well known bakery in Sonoma County, has begun producing delicious pizzelle. They are more often seen on the east coast of the U.S. than the west.
In their homeland, pizzelle are also called “ferratelle” because they are made with the special iron plate, or “ferro” which gives them their typical flatness and usually round shape. Made with a batter and originally cooked over an open fire, pizzelle are just one of this type of cookie made in Italy. Pizzelle are usually made on the Adriatic coast, while “Cialde” are made on the Mediterranean side in Tuscany.Think of Chinese fortune cookies, another wafer-like cookie. It originated in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park during the Panama-Pacific Exhibition which took place there in 1915. They have now become ubiquitous, but they are not Chinese.
There is a difference between the two types of wafer cookies made in Italy. The “Cialda” type is not “waffled.” It is smooth, but also has a design. This stems from the notion of wanting to “brand” the cookie. Original pizzelle had the coat of arms of whatever noble family was serving them. But you did not even have to be noble to make them. The ingredients were those commonly at hand--flour, eggs, oil, and simple flavorings. But they have always been well loved.
The Fogliani Pizzelle are made just slightly differently from the traditional recipe. They are made with butter rather than olive oil, giving them more of a crispy, friable character. There are two colors: the dark brown chocolate, and the golden of the vanilla and anise seed flavored ones. They also have two different designs to the pizzelle. The chocolate one looks “lace-like;” the other two have an arabesque design.
Pizzelle are wonderful with which to make other things. They can be used to make ice cream sandwiches. Two can be stacked together to make a chocolate cream sandwich with a chocolate mousse, for example. They can be spread with jams and sandwiched together. But rather than having to make your own pizzelle, with Fogliani Pizzelle, you have the major work already done. Just open the bag, use, and enjoy them.