Hailing from Abruzzo in Central Italy, pizzelle are crisp, flat waffle-esque cookies made in a special hot iron. Like mostaccioli, these cookies predate Christmas -- in fact, it is said that this is the oldest known cookie recipe on earth, dating back to the 8th century BC. In olden times, presses were made from cast iron and would be heated over a fire, or directly on the stovetop. You can still find those irons if you're up to the challenge, but electric irons are much easier to use, and very easy to find both online and at major retailers.
Whisk together the sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, anise extract if using and eggs in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and continue to whisk until the batter is smooth. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour so the batter can hydrate.
Heat the pizzelle iron, and cook your pizzelles according to the manufacturer's directions.