Chocolate Chip Cannoli Bites

Holy cannoli! As much as I loved eating gelato in Italy, Blythe loved cannolis. If you’ve never had them before, or if you love cannolis as much as we do, you simply must try this recipe.

This recipe comes from the famous New York Italian bake shop, Carlo’s Bakery. I am using their authentic Italian family recipe for cannolis, but have slightly modified the methods to make it accessible for the home cook. Instead of making the traditional cylinder shape (which requires special equipment), I’ll show you how to create a bite sized version of this delicious treat! No special equipment needed!

For those that have never had one, a cannoli is a piece of sweet dough, fried in the shape of a cylinder. The crispy dough shell is then filled with a sweetened ricotta mixture that (when done properly) is unbelievably creamy and tastes a little like ice cream.

Here’s Blythe enjoying a cannoli from our favorite little bake shop in Italy.

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Okay, I know you’re excited to start making your very own cannolis so here we go.

Start by putting the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and mixing it together.

 

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Add in the lard. It is important in this recipe to use lard rather than butter or shortening. Carlo’s Bakery emphasizes the importance of the lard in creating an authentic Italian cannoli.

With one hand, pick up handfuls of the lard and flour and squeeze, then release. Keep doing this, breaking up the lard and incorporating the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add in an egg and white distilled vinegar and mix until the dough comes together into a sticky ball. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated.

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Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap it in cling wrap.

Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to three hours. This will soften the dough and make it more elastic.

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Once the dough has rested, unwrap it and coat it well in flour. It will be sticky!

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Turn it out onto a WELL FLOURED surface and roll it out.

I cannot emphasize enough that the dough will be a bit sticky. If you go through all of the rolling process and your surface was not floured well enough, your little circle cutouts will stick and you won’t be able to use them. I speak from experience here. Your husband will look at you funny if you cry over cannolis.

I think there’s a saying about that. “Don’t cry over stuck cannolis”?

Avoid the disappointment and flour your rolling surface well.

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Roll the dough out to an 1/8 of an inch thick.

Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles out of the dough. You should get around 30 circles total.

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In a pot, melt enough lard to have 3 to 4 inches of frying liquid. Again, Carlo’s emphasizes the importance of frying in lard to create the authentic cannoli taste and crunch.

Heat the frying liquid over medium high heat to reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a candy thermometer you can check the temperature with it. If not, you can check that the oil has reached the right temperature by frying a piece of scrap dough. If it becomes golden brown in about 30 seconds, your oil is ready.

Fry the cannoli bites in batches of 5 to 6, watching them carefully. As soon as the bottom starts turning golden, flip them over to fry the other side until it just turns golden.

They fry quickly so be sure not to walk away.

Once they are finished, take the cannolis out of the oil and place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain.

Continue with this process until all of the dough has been fried.

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Carlo’s Bakery says that the fried cannoli dough can be held in an airtight container for up to three months, so if you’re not quite ready to use them, feel free to set them aside until you are.

If you are ready to continue with the process, Melt 8 oz of semisweet or dark chocolate in a bowl. Microwave the chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds until it is completely melted and smooth.

Dip the cannoli bites into the chocolate to coat half of the bite and place them on a wire rack to set. Pop the whole tray in the fridge and allow it to set for 30 minutes.

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Just before serving, pipe on the cannoli cream. It’s important to leave this step until just before serving so that the cannoli bites stay crisp.

To make the cannoli cream simply mix together ricotta, cinnamon, and sugar in a mixer for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. The best way to tell if the sugar has dissolved is to give it a taste.

Someone has to take one for the team here and try the delicious, creamy, sweet filling… I volunteer as tribute!

If the cream is lovely and smooth and there is no graininess, the sugar is dissolved.

The filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

When you are ready to serve the cannolis, fill a piping bag or plastic bag (click here for how to use a plastic bag as a piping bag) with the cannoli cream and pipe it onto each cannoli bite in a swirl pattern.

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Sprinkle over a few chocolate chips and serve!

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Your family and friends will thank you for bringing this delicious Italian treat into their lives.

Cannoli’s make the world a better place.

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Ciao and happy eating!

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Bites

Makes around 30 cannoli bites

Ingredients:

For the cannoli dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour plus more for flouring your work surface
  • 3 tbs granulate sugar
  • 2 tbs lard, plus more for frying
  • 2 tbs distilled white vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the cannoli cream

  • 2 cups riccota
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips for dipping and topping
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

For the cannoli dough:

Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.

Add in the lard and with one hand, pick up handfuls of the lard and flour and squeeze, then release. Keep doing this, breaking up the lard and incorporating the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add in an egg and white distilled vinegar and mix until the dough comes together into a sticky ball. Make sure all of the flour is incorporated.

Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap it in cling wrap. Allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to three hours.

Once the dough has rested, unwrap it and coat it well in flour. It will be sticky!

Turn it out onto a WELL FLOURED surface and roll it out to an 1/8 of an inch thick.

Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles out of the dough. You should get around 30 circles total.

In a pot, melt enough lard to have 3 to 4 inches of frying liquid. Heat the frying liquid over medium high heat to reach 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fry the cannoli bites in batches of 5 to 6, watching them carefully. As soon as the bottom starts turning golden, flip them over to fry the other side until it just turns golden.

Once they are finished, take the cannolis out of the oil and place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain.

Continue with this process until all of the dough has been fried.

Carlo’s Bakery says that the fried cannoli dough can be held in an airtight container for up to three months, so if you’re not quite ready to use them, feel free to set them aside until you are.

If you are ready to continue with the process, Melt 8 oz of semisweet or dark chocolate in a bowl. Microwave the chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds until it is completely melted and smooth.

Dip the cannoli bites into the chocolate to coat half of the bite and place them on a wire rack to set. Pop the whole tray in the fridge and allow it to set for 30 minutes.

For the cannoli cream:

Mix together ricotta, cinnamon, and sugar in a mixer for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. The best way to tell if the sugar has dissolved is to give it a taste. If there is no graininess, it is dissolved

The filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Just before serving, pipe on the cannoli cream. It’s important to leave this step until just before serving so that the cannoli bites stay crisp.

When you are ready to serve the cannolis, fill a piping bad or plastic bag (click here for how to use a plastic bag as a piping bag) with the cannoli cream and pipe it onto each cannoli bite in a swirl pattern.

Sprinkle over a few chocolate chips and serve!

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Bites

 

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