Pizzelle per Natale

Today is the Festa di Santa Lucia…and, now brace yourselves, I’m certainly still in a bit of shock:  my Turkish husband is actually comprised of almost 35% Italian ancestry. He spit into one of those test tubes, sent it to an ancestry.com DNA lab, and…BAM! Seventeen years later, like something out of a fable from the Roman poet, Phaedrus:  things are not what they seem! (Of course, thankfully no one’s rolling in flour, awaiting a tragic ending…but perhaps that’s for the eighteenth year of marriage…).

The best way to embrace this unexpected curve is to insert un po’ d’italiano into the blog today, turning temporarily from Turkish food to nibble one of my family’s per natale traditions: pizzelle making.

Combining my insatiable appetite for cookies and my intense love affair with rum, these rum-and-orange-flavored pizzelle are a delicious variation from the anise mainstay – and Santa’s quite fond of them, too.


  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar (I usually do ½ cup raw, ¼ cup white)
  • ½ cup melted butter, cooled
  • ¼ cup rum!
  • 2 tbspns orange juice
  • 1 tbpsn vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fiori di sicilia extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tbspn orange zest (lemon can be substituted)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbpsns baking powder
  • ½ cup milk for thinning, as needed only


  1. Beat eggs and sugar
  2. Slowly add cooled melted butter
  3. Add rum, extracts, and zest
  4. Add sifted flour and baking powder
  5. Batter should be gooey but should drop easily on to maker, pizzelle should be light and crispy; thin with milk as needed and bake according to your specific pizzelle-maker instructions
  6. Cool on wire racks, dust with powdered sugar for fun!

I am fortunate to have a sister who would stop at nothing to make me happy, so I have a painstakingly acquired “vintage” cookie jar (a story for another time…) that perfectly fits ~5″ pizzelle rounds. But tupperware works well, too, and these keep beautifully for a month…even longer…by the time you take your Christmas tree down…in late February…

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