A few posts back, I briefly mentioned a review for a pizzelle maker from CSN Store's Cookware.com.
Here it is, and I have to tell you that I immediately took pictures on the floor, yes, because I was quite excited and couldn't wait to open it. The pizzelle maker, Chef's Choice International PizzellePro Express Bake 835, features a nonstick surface with 3 mini pizzelle indents that make a perfect size for snacks along with mini waffle bowls, cannoli, or for dipping. There's also a built-in storage unit for the cord underneath the machine so it won't get in the way when you're trying to put it back in the box.
Not only is there a "ready" and "baking" feature, the former green and the latter red, that lets you know when everything's ready, there's a numbered dial that gives you the option of setting the level of browning instead of a low, medium, high.
You also get a spoon that's supposed to size out the correct amount of batter for each pizzelle grid, and a short wooden dowel to form cannoli shells.
With a quick heat up time and an instant temperature recovery system, it gives you some time between removing the pizzelles from the grids to adding more dough. A light coating of oil gets spritzed on first time, but in the future it's not necessary since it's nonstick.
Using the pizzelle recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, left out the anise extract and added in two teaspoons of crushed jasmine tea leaves. I wanted something with a bit different flavor than the traditional flavors, and also something with a nice, light taste. (This recipe was so delicious that I kept tasting the dough between making the pizzelles!)
Take note, I cut the recipe in half since I didn't want to spend a few hours making pizzelles, and this still made plenty!
I started off using the teaspoon that came with the maker, using about a rounded teaspoonful which didn't quite fill up the first circular ring.
Starting off at a temperature setting of three, I closed the top, made sure it latched down completely (which will help keep the pizzelles even), and waited. The green light remains on until the red light pops on briefly, after which the light goes back to green and the pizzelles will be ready.
Okay, first try didn't quite meet the pizzelle standards I was looking for, both in size and color. It took a while to figure out how much of the dough was needed to spread out entirely in each circle, and I ended up raising the temperature to between 3 and 4, though I should have raised it to 4 and I'll tell you why later.
After a couple more tries, a few couple more times, I worked out that this amount of dough filled up the first inner circle almost completely, like so...
Led to pizzelles that looked like...
That's more like it! What I did was to wait a few 10 or 60 seconds after the green light turned back on, which is why I said up there that I should have gone ahead and raised the temperature to 4.
Clean up is a breeze; simply wipe with a damp sponge when cool enough to handle, then let it cool completely before wrapping up the cord and putting away. You can store this pizzelle maker on its side thanks to the flat backing.
So what I thought overall: My general impression of nonstick appliances is that you won't get the same crisp as you would from cast iron or stainless steel. That is true, but that doesn't mean it won't crisp or brown at all, you just need to make sure you find which temperature bakes the pizzelles up to your liking. I did find that the pizzelles that hardly had any color didn't get as crispy as those that looked browned, obviously, so keep that in mind.
The directions state that this has an instant temperature recovery, though sometimes the red light came on between removing the pizzelles and adding more dough. I don't think this affected how the pizzelles came out since the unit itself would regulate the baking time, the green ready light would come back on, then the red baking time, then the green again. The instructions stated you could also time it yourself if you wanted.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first experience making pizzelles, and found that the PizzellePro got the job done without much complaint, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this as a solid machine, especially one that cleans up quickly. It's going to take a few more gos to figure out my preferences, but I don't think I'm going to have a problem with that. I really can't wait to come up with different flavor combinations and recipes using different types of flour. Savory pizzelles are definitely on the list of pizzelles to make, I'm thinking something like a cracker that can be used as a shell or to dip.