One of my favorite parts of our summer vacation to the Northeast was eating some delicious cannoli from Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End. It was recommended as one of the best bakeries in Boston for cannoli, and it did not disappoint!
There’s just something about the crispy shell with the creamy ricotta filling that makes cannoli so delectable!
I decided I had to find a way to make cannoli at home so we can enjoy it more often. But I really didn’t want to spend the time making and rolling the cannoli shells. I wanted to make a simple cannoli variation – a yummy dessert without a lot of work. These easy cannoli bites are perfect!
They are so simple to make and taste so good!
How to make easy cannoli bites
The pastry for these easy cannoli bites is a phyllo dough shell rather than a traditional fried cannoli pastry. I make the shells from frozen sheets of phyllo dough (click for the instructions). You can also purchase pre-made frozen shells at the grocery.
I love phyllo dough because it bakes up light and flaky and the box doesn’t list any trans fat or partially hydrogenated ingredients. The shells are a light, no-fuss base for the delicious cream filling.
24 phyllo dough shells (thawed if using frozen shells)
1-1/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
4 ounces mascarpone cheese (I buy an 8-oz. container and use half)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (be sure to use the mini chips for these small dessert bites)
+extra mini chocolate chips for garnish
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir with a spoon until the mixture is smooth. These ingredients combine together easily – no mixer is needed! Stir in the chocolate chips.
Use a spoon to fill the shells with the ricotta mixture. Handle the shells gently, as they can be a bit delicate. Don’t overfill the shells, or you won’t have enough of the cream filling for all of them. Sprinkle more mini chocolate chips on top as a garnish.
That’s it! These easy cannoli bites are seriously so simple, and also incredibly yummy!
They’re my favorite type of dessert for entertaining. They seem fancy but are a snap to make. The bite-size portions make these desserts a perfect way to finish off a great meal.
Keep in mind that these are best when they’re fresh. After they’ve been filled with the ricotta mixture, the shells will become soggy with the passing of time. If you need to work ahead, you can prepare the shells and filling and keep them separate until you’re ready for these desserts.
The filled cannoli bites keep in the refrigerator overnight with some crispness left in the shell, but they’re pretty soft after two nights in the fridge. So don’t fill the shells too much ahead.
- 24 phyllo dough shells (thawed if using frozen shells)
- 1-1/3 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- +extra mini chips for garnish
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir with a spoon until the mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Use a spoon to fill the shells. (Don't overfill the shells or there won't be enough of the mixture for all of the shells.)
- Sprinkle extra mini chocolate chips over the cannoli bites as a garnish.
Adapted from EmilyBites.com.
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