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Easy Cannoli


These are easy because I make the shell flat and the secret to this recipe is really good ricotta I love it from Stew Leonard's, if you can't get it then make your own (recipe linked).

  • 12 ServingsServings


For the Filling

  • 2 3/4 cups (22 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Amaretto or almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

For the shells

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup sweet Marsala wine or oange juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying
  • 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, finely chopped optional
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Make the filling: Line a sieve with a layer of cheesecloth, and set over a bowl. Spoon ricotta into sieve. Cover, and let drain in the refrigerator overnight.  This step is only necessary if you have a wet ricotta, if you make your own, make sure to make it drier.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in chopped chocolate, vanilla, amaretto and zest (if using). Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
  3. Make the shells: Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add Marsala or orange juice and oil, and beat on medium speed until dough comes together. Using your hands, knead dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Wrap in plastic, and let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Pass 1 piece of dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine (keep remaining pieces covered). Continue passing through narrower settings until it is the thickness of a dime.  If you don't have a pasta machine just using a rolling pin to get it as thin as possible. Lay on a floured work surface. Cut out squares with a knife that are about 4x4.
  5. Pour enough oil into a small heavy saucepan to come about 4 inches up sides. Heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  6. Drop the square of dough into the hot oil and let it cook about 30 seconds until it floats. Turn it with tongs and let it cook another 10 seconds and then remove to paper towels, and let cool until ready to use.
  7. When ready to serve.  Lay one piece of cookie square on a plate using a little bit of the filling to keep it in place.  Spoon a generous portion of filling in the middle and top with second cookie. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, chocolate shaving and crushed pistachios if desired.

Health Note - While I wouldn't call these low calorie, they are lower calorie and have much less sugar than most desserts and an added dose of calcium and protein you don't get from most fried desserts, so enjoy in moderation of course.