This month has been complete torture not being able to bake anything. Seriously. I have been trying to lay off the baked goods as 99 percent of my pants aren’t fitting and homegirl does not have a cash flow to replace the old pantalones. But since the Super Bowl is basically a holiday I figured I could bend my own rules.
Cannolis are probably my favorite dessert. Next to Apple pie, anything snickerdoodle related, ginger snaps, molasses cookies, chubby hubby, texas sheet cake, cinnamon rolls, anything cream cheesy, chocolate, cake, basically anything that is very high in saturated fats is a best friend in my book.
But see, cannolis aren’t all that bad for you. I mean, the filling is literally just cheese with some added sugar. And cheese is definitely comparable to a vegetable in my mind. In fact it almost replaces vegetables (no, it really doesn’t, I’m lying, but whatever helps you sleep at night, right? This helps me). But it is gluten free 😉
And chocolate just makes you feel better. It makes me feel better. It’s therapy. Cheap therapy. SO basically the pros outweigh the cons of this dessert and so therefore I think you would be doing everyone a favor if you made it.
If Mascarpone isn’t in the same section as Ricotta (usually right next to it) you should be able to find it at the specialty cheese section (If you are in STL @ Schnucks that is where you will find it). I know some people substitute the Mascarpone with cream cheese, please don’t. Or just cut it out all together and go for a full Ricotta Cannoli. We don’t need Philadelphia to ruin this Italian dream (my bitterness towards Philly is solely sports related).
I like to use a combination of both Pure Almond & Pure Vanilla extract. I feel like the Almond extract, even though it is such a small amount, is necessary to obtain good cannoli flavoring without having to use actual alcohol. HOWEVER. If you would really like to get fancy here, and more ‘precise’ Grand Marnier is the way to go (use 1/2 – 1 tsp, and 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract). You can usually purchase a mini bottle of this at an Italian specialty store (if you are in STL, almost all of the Italian speciality stores in The Hill carry it. If you are anywhere else a liquor store will have it). Again, don’t break your back over trying to find it. This is why my recipe calls for almond & vanilla extract since those can easily be bought at your local grocery store.
I also skipped adding any citrus zest to this cannoli. I just don’t think it needs it.
Since my recipe isn’t overwhelmingly sweet I use both white chocolate chips & bittersweet chocolate. The white adds a little more sweetness while the bittersweet gives you the nice chocolate kick that the dip needs. I also used Ghirardelli chocolate because when do I not!? No I just think higher quality chocolate in almost all desserts tastes best. There is a difference in both taste and texture.
I used an assortment of berries and waffle cones for dipping 🙂 I wanted this to be easy . Reality: I tried making baked cannoli shells and they literally tasted like cardboard.