Pizzelle take the cake

People often ask what the best jam carrier is, and the answer is, hands-down, pizzelle. I often make them for markets, and might start selling them this summer since people seem to dig them so much.

But what are they? Traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla, anise, or lemon zest. Developed from the ancient Roman crustulum, food lore claims they are the oldest cookie.

In 700 BCE, snakes terrorized the region of Abruzzo in south central Italy. Life was intolerable, with the vicious snakes biting everyone, so the people of Abruzzo appealed to the god Apollo for help. He advised them to capture the snakes, domesticate them by draping them around his statue and then release them into the wild again. It worked, and everyone celebrated by eating pizzelle. They are still eaten to celebrate the Festival of the Snakes, now known as the Feast Day of San Domenico.

Pizzelles were originally baked over open fire using irons that would be made with family crests on them and passed down through each generation. Today they are made using a pizzelle iron, which is similar to a waffle iron, but has a pretty floral pattern rather than a boring grid.

Pizzelle are awesome and keep the snakes at bay, what more can you ask for in a cookie?