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Growing up, my grandma had the best Italian dessert recipes. Her credentials are as follows:
- She is my Grandma
- She is the maker of the best Italian dessert recipes
- That’s all you need to know!
My Grandma, Teresa
My grandma, Teresa, the expert on the best Italian dessert recipes was born in 1931 in Buffalo, NY. She had six older siblings; Joe, George, Elaine and Rose; and step-brothers Rocky and Ralph. She started off as a seamstress, sewing men’s suits for M. Wile and Company Factory. She married my grandpa, Evo in 1949 (pictured above). She had four children, Victor, Angela, Teresa and Eva (my mom). After she had my mom, she started working for M&T Bank, where she worked until her retirement in 1991. She now has many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Last time I counted there was around 30, although there were just two more great-grandchildren born just this year!
She is very passionate about spending time with her family. Hosting large birthday, Christmas and Easter parties was a guaranteed ordeal. She would go overboard with cooking and baking and there was always enough leftovers for all the cousins to eat for the next three days. She would make home-made sauce, raviolis, meatballs, and a million different desserts. She has the best repertoire of Italian desserts recipes I’ve ever seen. But my absolute favorite Italian dessert recipe of hers is her pizzelles!
The Absolute Best Italian Dessert Recipe
Pizzelles are a staple food in my household and my #1 comfort food I reach for constantly. If you’re looking for some more history on pizzelles, check here. All I know is that my Grandma’s pizzelles are delicious and she has the best Italian dessert recipes in my personal opinion (which is correct). To the bottom right is the recipe that we have been following my entire life, the only thing that changes is how much anise we use! I really like anise, so black jellybean haters beware. Not liking anise in an Italian household is treacherous territory.
Her recipe is as follows:
- 1 teaspoon anise oil
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking power
- 1 teaspoon salt
Beat eggs, sugar, oil and anise oil. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Spray pizzelle iron with oil.
My Version of the Best Italian Dessert Recipe
I know that this little piece of paper is almost impossible to follow for someone who has never made pizzelles, so here is my version of the recipe, clarified:
- 1 teaspoon anise oil
- 1/2 canola or vegetable oil
- 2/3 sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Whisk together wet ingredients in a large bowl, anise oil, canola oil, eggs and sugar.
- Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Using a hand mixer, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the large bowl.
- Heat pizzelle iron and pour half tablespoon of batter into each spot. Repeat until batter is gone.
Some important notes for the best Italian dessert recipe ever created!
- Anise oil and anise extract from the baking aisle are not the same! To get anise oil (at least in Buffalo, NY) you have to get it from behind the counter of a pharmacy. I think this is because it can interact with some medicines (more info here).
- You do not absolutely need a hand mixer, a wooden spoon is perfectly acceptable.
- The batter should be thinner than you would expect, these are supposed to be on the crispier side, although some would argue the traditional pizzelle is thick and fluffy.
- You can use less or more anise oil, or if you really hate anise, you can replace it with vanilla or almond extract!
- Be creative, make variations of the recipe, be bold! Become the keeper of your very own best Italian dessert recipe.
The Keeper of the Best Italian Dessert Recipe
This recipe has been passed down for generations, and I will one day be the keeper of the best Italian dessert recipe. My grandma recently moved into a nursing home, which, especially during this global pandemic, has been a great stress on my entire family. Since no visitors have been allowed into her nursing home, my mom and I have found comfort in making her care packages!
Of course, we had to put her favorites in the last package we delivered, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, sponge candy, lemon cookies from Wegmans and of course the home-made pizzelles!
One of her nurses sent us this picture recently. It says “I can not wait to see you! Love & miss you! – Mom (Teresa).” We miss visiting her terribly right now, and my mom and I bond and find comfort in her recipes. We are constantly thinking about her and doing everything we can to make her feel loved even when we can’t be there in person. We have a FaceTime call set up with her next week via her nursing home’s administration, which should be interesting!
I hope by my sharing the her best Italian dessert recipe, I can help others feel connected to their families during this global tragedy. I’ve seen many people visiting their grandparents through windows and celebrating milestone birthdays in car parades. I find it very comforting to see that even though we can’t physically be together. people are finding out how to express their love in different (and safe) ways.
My grandma has been an inspiration to me since the day I was born. She is strong, stubborn and she always speak her mind. She will always make the best Italian dessert recipes, I only hope I can keep her recipe going for many generations after she’s gone. She is my favorite person ever and she deserves the title of Queen of the best Italian dessert recipes. I truly cannot wait to see her soon and eat many pizzelles with her in person.