It’s that time of year. The weather gets warm. I spend hours in the beautiful weather riding my bike. I ride further and faster as I train for upcoming summer races. And I get hungry.
Did you know that you can burn anywhere from 300 – 1,000 calories an hour when cycling? No matter how many granola bars and energy snacks I eat while out on a ride, I can’t make up for how many calories I burn. When I get back from a long ride, all I can think about is food. And I feel perpetually hungry when I’m riding 5-6 days a week.
All that to say that I have no guilt devouring high-calorie desserts during cycling season. Last week I made triple layer brownies (Drop everything and go make them. These were a huge hit with my friends. Who wouldn’t love a brownie with a layer of chocolate chip cookie, oreo and brownie?) And this week, I’m sharing a guest post from Katie that will teach you how to make cannolis. Don’t they sound amazing? I hope to have one of these waiting for me after I finish my weekend ride.
Al was a sweet old man who worked with my father, eventually becoming a good family friend when I
was little. Every week, he would send a large pastry box home with my father that was full of delicious,
perfect cannolis from a bakery near his home. I would untie the white string, lift the lid off the pink
cardboard box, and stand in awe looking at different flavors of small, delicate desserts.
Thus, my love for cannolis was born. In an attempt to pay homage to dear Al, I decided to make my own
Italiano delights for a dinner party. It was hard work, for sure, but they came out perfectly and left a
room full of people salivating for seconds.
The hardest part was finding a recipe that I really liked. There are so many recipes out there that
finding just one was a real challenge. This is the recipe that I went with which was created by taking a
few of the best looking ones and merging them together. It yields about 30ish cannolis. I was close to
running out of filling, so if you’re afraid it’s going to be a close call, it may be best to make backup. And,
if you’re a visual person, this website gives you a nice step-by-step walk through with photos.
3 cups of flour
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 egg whites (lightly beaten)
½ cup Marsala wine
Oh – also, remember to get cannoli tubes (you can usually buy them at any food specialty shop. Don’t
worry that they only come in a pack of 6 or so, you don’t need more than the one package.)
So, make a well with the flour, putting the egg whites in the center with the sugar. Add the vegetable
shortening as well, but make sure to cut it into small pieces first. Use a fork to mix it together until you
can begin to knead the dough, adding the Marsala little by little, as needed.
Once the dough is well mixed, wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two.
When you’re ready to take it out and heat the vegetable oil in a large pot at 350 degrees. There should
be enough in the pan to completely cover the cannoilis.
Roll the dough out until it’s pretty thin (maybe ¼ inch) and cut it into circles that are 3-4 inches in
diameter. Wrap these circles around the cannoli tubes, sealing them by dipping your fingers in water
and pinching them shut, then submerge them in the oil. Let the cannolis sit in the oil until they’re lightly
brown, then pull them out and let them rest on paper towels until you’re ready to fill them.
32 ounces of ricotta cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips
This filling is delicious – just remember to put this mixture in the fridge because it can be quite runny.
Also, you don’t want to fill the shells until they’re ready to be served (if you can help it). You can either
mix the chocolate chips into the filling or you can just dip the ends in the chocolate – it’s up to you.
Using a pastry bag (or a Ziploc bag with a whole cut into a corner), fill the shells with this ricotta mixture.
It’s easiest to fill the shells from each side, so, place the tip of the pastry bag in the middle of the shell
and fill to the end and repeat on the other side. It makes the filling even. To finish, sprinkle powdered
sugar over the tops of these delights and serve them (your friends will be ecstatic).
About the Author: Katie Straw is the Gourmet Scribe at GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the top
suppliers of gift baskets in the nation, and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire.