Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Family Cookbooks and Pizzelles

Dear Lauren,

My friends Sharyl and Mary have this amazing family cookbook. When the cookbook was presented, it had Sharyl in tears. I'm teary just looking at it! Her mother put a lot of time and effort into this project and Sharyl knew that her mother wasn't all that computer literate either. There's just something about this kind of tradition, the compiling of favorite recipes and the handing down of traditions that makes me weepy. Weepy in a good, happy way. Ya know? I wish I had a Three Mom's Cookbook.

It's just one of the reasons I started writing this blog. That and so you would have a way to look up Veggie Fried Rice when you want to cook it!

Remember when Al  came over the other day and we all made pizzelles? You, me, Dad, and Al? So fun! Did you know that Al and Carolyn were our first friends when we moved to Georgia? The "go out to dinner and laugh for a few hours" kind of friends. And we remained that kind of friends until one day last year, we learned that Carolyn, who had beat breast cancer before we moved to Georgia, had breast cancer for the second time. For me, our friendship deepened instantly. I can't explain it and it doesn't matter. Carolyn understood it. I think everyone felt similarly in those days because all of Carolyn's family, friends, and neighbors did so much to make those final months, weeks, days, and hours full of love and laughter. And wow, did everyone do a good job. Despite the fact that I was losing my friend, I have some great memories of some of those days. I think we all do. The morning Willie and I showed up at their house in our pajamas and made brunch for Carolyn and Al and their family was one of the many and the best.

Now, why am I telling you this story at Christmas and when I started out talking about family cookbooks? Well, the recipe came from Al's mom and thankfully she passed it on to Carolyn. But also partly because many of us have family members who we've lost and we miss them very much, especially during the holidays. And partly because this this blog is also for Carolyn and Al and their girls now. Because pizzelles were one of their favorite holiday traditions. 

I have to say, Al was instrumental in watching the light on the pizzelle maker since you and I were constantly talking and forgetting to pay attention. Dad made burgers for all of us and kept Al supplied with beer. It was a great afternoon. Pizzelles are delicious and I think Carolyn approved.

Carolyn's Pizzelles
by Al's mom, Carolyn & Al Hammermiller, and Willie, Sandra & Lauren Simmons
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder

Beat the eggs and sugar gradually. Beat until smooth. Add the cooled melted butter and vanilla. Add the flour and baking powder.

The dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by spoon.

Use 1 heaping teaspoon per pizzelle.

This makes many, many pizzelles. I found that the bigger the heaping teaspoon I used, the prettier the pizzelle was. You can easily trim the pizzelles with scissors and make them look perfect. If you keep all the trimmings, ziploc them, and tossed them in the freezer with the ice cream you can use them as a future ice cream topping.

You can use a sieve to sprinkle your pizzelles with a little powdered sugar. Another option  is to melt some chocolate and either drizzle one side of your pizzelle with chocolate or spread it more completely over one side and let it dry. YUM! When I told my friends in 37 Cooks that I was planning to make these, they suggested trying a variety of extracts or doubling the vanilla or grinding up some nuts and adding them to the batter. All sound amazing to me. I need a pizzelle maker!


P.S. Lauren, I really, really, really hope you will carry this cookbook on into the future with your favorite recipes! Yes, I know it's a blog. But it's a cookbook too.

P.P.S. My grandmother from Canada made the best bread, canned food and jams from her incredible garden, and her meals were simple yet so flavorful. I have no recipes from her! I asked my cousin if she did. She didn't even remember her bread! I still can't believe that! All I can say is, write down your recipes. In any form. Write down your traditions. Someone is going to want to read them in the future, I can promise you that.


  1. Always a favorite in our family :)
    My great granmother, grandmother, mother and myself make them a few times a year :)
    now my daughters have Irons and have started to share that tradition with their kids. :)

  2. We also add a little Anise seeds adn extract.. VERY little ! :)