Pizzelles are the oldest known cookie and originated in the mid-section of Italy. They were made many years ago for the “Festival of the Snakes” also known as the “Feast Day of San Domenico” in the village of Colcullo in the Italian region of Abruzzo. This village in Italy that was once overrun with snakes, and they were chased out. Afterwards the village celebrated with pizzelle. Sweet bread pancakes, know as pizzelles, are sold in an auction, to receive the offers of the faithful: they will be on show during the procession with the statue of the saint enveloped by live snakes.
The name comes from the Italian word pizze for round and flat. Many different cultures have adapted this cookie and re-named it accordingly. In Scandinavia they are also known as Lukken and the Krumcake is baked using a similar iron as the pizzelle.
The pizzelle iron, which resembles a small variant of the popular waffle iron is held by hand over a hot burner on the stovetop, although some models are electric and require no stove. Typically, the iron stamps a snowflake pattern onto both sides of the thin golden-brown cookie, which has a crisp texture once it is cooled. There are also several brands of ready-made pizzelle available in stores.
In some parts of Italy, the irons would be made with family crests on them which would be passed down to each generation.
Source: What's cooking America
Photo source: Food 52