I had never seen nor heard of these light-as-air cookies before meeting my Italian-American mother-in-law. Now my family makes them at least once a year, typically around Christmastime or sometimes to celebrate the first snowfall. Their thin circle shapes and dusting of powdered sugar make them resemble delicate snowflakes. But as beautiful as they are, it’s their sweet licorice flavor that keeps us looking forward to them every winter.

Note: These will require a pizzelle maker, a kind of waffle iron dedicated to making these special treats.

Makes 3-4 dozen

Adapted from  Mary Ann Esposito’s “Ciao Italia”


  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 oz. bottle of anise extract
  • 4 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat pizzelle maker.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix together well.
  3. Place 1 Tbsp. batter in the center of each section of the pizzelle maker. Close the lid and count to 35. Lift the lid. The cookies should be light golden in color. Remove them carefully, using a fork, and place on a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Once cool, dust with powdered sugar.
  5. These will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks or can be frozen for up to 3 months