Legend has it that some poor blacksmiths of the Abruzzi region used old railroad nails and pieces of track to forge the irons that may have given the cookie its name, 'ferratelle,' referring to the baker's ferrous metal. Even though their history is not clear, it seems that the first pizzelle bakers were made much earlier than legend would allow, perhaps during the late 18th or early 19th centuries, or even as far back as the 8th century.
Because they were used over open fires, they had very long handles to keep the user from getting burned.
We still offer stovetop irons. In place of cast iron, the plates are now made of aluminum alloys. You'll need to use mitts when handling irons with steel handles on the stovetop. As with all traditional irons, ours have a spot where you can etch your family initials and a date. It was customary to etch the iron being given to the new bride, or to commemorate a special occasion. (Sorry, we are no longer able to etch.)
In electric irons, we recommend those with a regular finish, as opposed to those with non-stick surfaces, if you plan on using them often and for large batches (based on our customers' experience over the many years that we have been selling them). After they are seasoned, they will do a great job of keeping the cookies from sticking. The cookies are also crispier.
Check out everything you need to know about pizzelles and more, including our family recipes, here.