The following is a continuation of the escaping Cuba story. It begins directly after the last story left off; however, I separated the two because in this portion, Lourdes describes a recipe for pizzelles, which she and her family learned shortly after settling in the United States.
“We settled in the suburbs of Chicago in the first years, sometimes in houses that the hospital would supply, or in our own homes. Abuelo, studied for his residency in Chicago, so he already had a position when we arrived. Our house was always full of smells of food. Mom was an excellent cook, and she was eager to teach neighbors about our food and learn about theirs. We had some Italian neighbors once, and at Christmas, they delivered a large box of wafer thin cookies that smelled like anise. They were great, covered in powdered sugar, really crispy, and big, like 4″ across. Mom was hooked, and so were we, she hunted down a pizzelle maker, and she tried a million recipes. Many of them stuck to the iron, which was a nightmare. You would have to heat the appliance up, grease it with butter, try your batter, and if it stuck, unplug it, let it cool, and try to clean the fine filigree plates. Ugh! Was it really worth it? Yup… Once you got a good recipe and a seasoned pizzelle plate, you needed a lot of space, and many hands to make these cookies.
I remember Carly, Mom and I in the house in Plantation, we had to clear off the counters, and two dining tables to have enough space to put the cookies when they came off the iron. The counters were set up with all of the wire cooling racks we had. Mom would pour the batter, close the iron, and if it was too much, it would pour out the sides, too little and you have a deformed cookie. It is always best to have a little more than less. Mom would burn her fingers lifting the cookies, and set them up on a nearby rack. Carly and I would take turns moving them to a rack that was further away so that Mom would always have a nearby rack for the next cookies to land on. The cookies have to cook enough to be crisp or they would get droopy. If that happened, you need to pop them in the oven at 200 degrees to dry out, then take them out and let them cool completely, otherwise they get soggy again.
Once the cookies are completely dry, we would snap off the excess dough leaving a perfectly round cookie and a huge pile of crumbs that are great on ice cream. The cookies are then transferred to a large tupperware box, and each one is sprinkled with powdered sugar. If you make them at Christmas, as we would, you could pick up little tins to pack them in, to give them as gifts. Each batch makes 50 cookies, and you could easily spend hours running around getting them perfect, and cleaning up afterwards. It’s one of my fondest memories, and if you remember, we made them together at Carly’s when you were here for Christmas one year.”