Make these Cannoli Bites. Devour these Cannoli Bites. That is all I have to say. Okay not really all I have to say because these are my dream dessert, I have such a soft spot for Italian and French pastries so, really I have plenty to say about these. First of all, the cups for these are made from a cannoli dough (I made it a bit thicker than I would for a cannoli shell that would be wrapped around a flute and fried, simply so it could hold it’s shape a little better). The cups are baked in mini muffin cups, not fried. So, to add a bit of that fried flavor I sprayed them with vegetable oil before baking (so I suppose if you want to be a bit healthier you could leave it off, but I think it’s nearly a must). I’m not a traditional cannoli filling kind of person, I need a cannoli filling with Mascarpone to be completely satisfied with this dessert. There is just so much Mascarpone has to offer that Ricotta doesn’t, so whenever I make cannoli anything I always use a combo of both. Mascarpone is probably the best cheese this world has to offer. Okay along with cheddar, I am American. It’s like cream cheese meets royalty. It’s utterly creamy texture and delicate sweetness is something no other can imitate. I’d call it the cheese of Heaven. Anyways, yes cannoli needs Mascarpone but it is not the most traditional way. Another cannoli must I’d say is some form of chocolate. Whether you dip the shells in chocolate or sprinkle these with mini chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate or even chocolate curls), please don’t leave the chocolate out. And If you really want to make these fancy, dip and coat the shells with pistachios. It makes them not only irresistibly decadent but also pistachio cannolis are such an Italian classic.
If you have sweet Marsala wine on hand you can use that in place of the juice and vinegar (so just omit both of those and replace it with 1/2 cup Marsala wine). Take these to your next party and they may likely become the highlight of the gathering. I don’t care who’s there or what awaits for dinner, I just want cannoli bites =). Enjoy!
That first cannoli bite, always mine =).
Yield: 48 bites
- 2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for dusting work surface
- 2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter , melted
- 1 large egg white
- 6 - 8 Tbsp apple juice or grape juice*
- 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar or plain white vinegar would be fine)
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 12 oz whole milk Ricotta cheese , strained
- 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar**
- 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- powdered sugar , for dusting (optional)
- Optional toppings:
- Melted chocolate , chopped pistachios, sprinkles, toasted sweetened coconut
For the cannoli cups:
Add flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a food processor and pulse until blended. Pour in melted butter and pulse until well combined then add egg white and pulse until blended. In a bowl combine juice and vinegar, with processor running slowly pour in juice mixture and pulse just until mixture begins to come together. Divide dough into two pieces, shape into balls and transfer to a resealable bag. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes - 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees during last 10 minutes of refrigeration.
Meanwhile prepare filling. In a mixing bowl, using a rubber or silicone spatula, blend together Ricotta and Mascarpone cheese while running and pressing mixture along bottom of bowl to remove any lumps. Fold in powdered sugar. Cover and chill 30 minutes (or until ready to use).
Roll each chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface (dust top with flour too) into a 14-inch circle, to about an 1/8-inch thickeness. Cut into circles using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter. Transfer rounds to an ungreased mini muffin tin, pressing evenly into sides and bottom of muffin well. Spray tops evenly with vegetable oil spray (I just poured vegetable oil in to my Misto to spray). Bake in preheated oven 11 - 13 minutes until lightly golden (I liked these best crisp). Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool dip tops in chocolate if desired then into coating if using (such as pistachios) and allow chocolate to set.
Remove cannoli filling from refrigerator, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a tip (or you can use a large resealable bag and cut the tip of the end). Pipe filling into cups and sprinkle with chocolate chips and dust with powdered sugar. For best results serve within 2 hours. Store in refrigerator.
*Update - some have mentioned their dough being too thick and not elastic enough to keep a shape when rolling and cutting, so I'v updated it to be 6 - 8 Tbsp of juice rather than just 6 Tbsp.
**You can add 2 Tbsp more if you'd like it a little sweeter.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy, inspiration from Cooking with Sugar