These Vegan Anise Pizzelles are the perfect recreation of the classic Italian waffle cookie. Thin and crisp, these cookies are full of fun and bright flavor. A Christmas classic!
I have to be honest. I had never heard of Pizzelles before I met Michael. My family isn't Italian or even anything close to it. Michael and I already have a crazy dating story about how I met his family for the first time, that is a story for another time. Think three-day party with over 100 people that was pitched to me as just a "small" gathering. Yeah, to answer your question, I did stay with him after that. However, I digress.
I was introduced to this recipe when Michael's nana invited me over to make them at her house with her for Christmas. I had never spent much time with his nana up until that point and it still goes down in the books as one of my favorite memories. We had so much fun making this recipe together and bonded so much that day. Now that we have moved away, we aren't always around for pre-Christmas activities such as cookie baking. To keep the tradition alive, Michael and I still make his family's traditional recipes. These pizzelles make his nana proud. I'm serious, I have the text saying so. So that should be better than any review to tell you how good these are. These pizzelles taste exactly like the original, classic recipe with the bonus of being 100% plant-based and vegan. Have I convinced you yet?
These ingredients can be found at any local grocery store.
Plant Milk: Traditional pizzelles do not contain milk, however when testing this recipe, I discovered that the batter needed more liquid to counteract how many flax eggs are in the recipe. I tested repeatedly and discovered that milk was the best addition to still give these the same taste, look and feel as the traditional recipe. For this recipe, I used flax milk.
Anise Extract: If there is anything that makes these pizzelles iconic, it is the anise extract. Anise seeds lend a licorice flavor to anything that it is put into. This spice is widely used in Middle Eastern, Italian, German, Indian, and Mexican cooking. We don't use the whole seeds in this recipe but the extract that you can find in the baking aisle at your grocery store.
Flax Eggs: The flax eggs act as the binder in this recipe. You can try using a different vegan egg replacer, however, I have only tested these with flax eggs.
Make your flax eggs and set them aside for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
In a large glass bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and mix until combined. Slowly add the plant milk and the vegetable oil and stir until a loose batter forms.
Stir in the flax eggs, anise extract, and lemon zest and stir to combine. This will leave you with a thick batter that is somewhat consistent to pancake or waffle batter. This is what we are going for.
Plugin the pizzelle machine and allow it to warm up. Once the machine is warmed, add 1 tablespoon of batter to each cookie mold. You will be able to make two cookies at a time.
Close and lock the lid and cook for two minutes. When the two minutes are up, open the pizzelle machine and remove the cookies to a baking rack to cool.
Repeat until you use up all the batter.
Let the cookies rest on the baking rack to crisp up. The texture of the cookies is going to be crisp and crunchy, like a thin waffle. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!
Hint: All pizzelle machines vary in make and model so your's might have a green light like a waffle maker letting you know when it is ready. Feel free to follow that. If it doesn't, the two-minute time is a good gauge, just check the first batch to make sure it isn't overcooking or getting too brown.
- Sugar - You can make these cookies with a sugar-free substitute like Splenda if you have dietary concerns.
- Eggs - If you are not a fan of Flax Eggs, feel free to use a commercial egg supplement such as Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer. Just note that I haven't tried this substitute before so you might have to alter your oil/milk ratio.
- Oil - Feel free to use any neutral oil substitute instead of canola oil. You can use sunflower or grapeseed oil.
- Gluten-Free- Make these vegan pizzelles gluten-free by swapping out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
See below for some other fun ways to use pizzelle cookies!
- Edible Bowls - Press the freshly made, still warm pizzelle inside of a bowl and let it crisp up. In just a few minutes you will have an edible bowl that you can fill with all sorts of goodies.
- Cannoli Shells - To make a cannoli shell, wrap the still warm pizzelle around a cannoli tube. Once they harden up, remove the tube and fill it with sweetened ricotta and chocolate chips!
- Waffle Cones - Use a cone-shaped tool to shape the pizzelles into waffle cones and then fill them with your favorite ice cream!
Check out this other fun holiday dessert!
As soon as you remove the cookies from the pizzelle maker, lay them flat and allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack. Never stack them while they are drying as the steam will cause them to lose their crispiness; allow the cookies to air dry for a few hours.
Yes! You can use a variety of flavors in this recipe but to make chocolate pizzelles, only use 4 ½ cups of flour and ½ cup cocoa powder.
Great question! These vegan pizzelles taste a little bit like black licorice due to the anise flavoring but they also have the lemon and sugar to balance them out. So they taste like a sweet cookie with a note of licorice on the back of the bite. The texture will be crispy and crunchy.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Please see below what equipment you will need to make this recipe.
- Pizzelle Machine
- Glass Bowl
- Baker's Dusting Wand
Store the pizzelles in aluminum foil, cookie, or coffee tins, or paper bags. They will store for up to three weeks this way.
Do not store the pizzelles in an airtight container or a plastic bag as it will cause them to get soft.
You can easily freeze pizzelle for up to 3 months. When they are at room temperature, wrap them in groups of 4-5 first in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Then, place them in a freezer container to avoid being crushed in the freezer.
Store these pizzelles at room temp to keep them crispy. The beauty of these is how delightfully crisp that they get. If you store them in a ziplock bag, they will get soft.
Vegan Anise Pizzelles
- 5 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest zest of one lemon
- 3 cups Vegetable Oil
- 2 cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- 6 Flax Eggs
- 3 teaspoons Anise Extract
- 2 cups Plant Milk
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Make your flax eggs and set them aside for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
- In a large glass bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and mix until combined. Slowly add the plant milk and the vegetable oil and stir until a loose batter forms.
- Stir in the flax eggs, anise extract, and lemon zest and stir to combine. This will leave you with a thick batter that is somewhat consistent to pancake or waffle batter. This is what we are going for.
- Plugin the pizzelle machine and allow it to warm up. Once the machine is warmed, add 1 tablespoon of batter to each cookie mold. You will be able to make two cookies at a time.
- Close and lock the lid and cook for two minutes. When the two minutes are up, open the pizzelle machine and remove the cookies to a baking rack to cool.
- Repeat until you use up all the batter.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking rack to crisp up. The texture of the cookies is going to be crisp and crunchy, like a thin waffle. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove