Holy Cannoli! The Holiday’s Approacheth!

Viva Italia!  Admittedly, Italian’s do knock it out of the ball park with their culinary ventures! Whether you’re enjoying a wonderful slice of Italian cheese, or being seduced by the smell of baking pizza, lasagna or any other homemade pasta, the intoxication and deliciousness simply never ends, in fact, it continues onto the dessert table!  Cannoli’s are one of the most popular of all Italian desserts, and with good reason!

While Cannoli’s aren’t the most healthy things to eat, they are scrumptious, and there are ways to make them a little healthier.  I remember hanging with my Italian grandfather watching he and his sisters make dozens of these little Italian delights at Christmas and Easter, and I got hooked.  Of course, it was hard not to…They’re seriously delicious! Crunchy bites of pasty shell filled with a sweetened ricotta cheese and chocolate chips–you can’t say no, and you won’t just eat one! Trust me.  Granted, my famila didn’t make vegan cannoli’s; they were made with ye olde dairy and regular white sugar.

However, in an effort to promote healthier eating, I’ve posted a revised version, and it’s VEGAN-friendly!

Vegan Cannoli with Chocolate Chip Cheese Filling

Ingredients or the shells:
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter Stick
1/3 cup organic sugar (I have also used Stevia–you’ll need to look at the conversions)
3 teaspoons Egg Replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon zested clemantine or orange
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon real almond extract

These shells can be baked OR deep fried.  Obviously, baking them is the healthier option.  If you deep fry them, make sure you use an oil like Canola or Grapeseed oil.  For deep-frying, heat the oil in a deep pot and fry until lightly browned.  Remove and place on a paper towel on a plate to absorb excess oil.

For baking, preheat oven to 375. Get out a cooling rack for cookies. Mix the egg replacer and set this aside, then line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. You can purchase a cannoli shell TUBE at any cooking store, or find something that is about 1″ in diameter that is round to wrap the shell around for baking–make sure it’s heat-resistant!

Draw three 4″ circles on your parchment paper.  I use a large round cookie cutter or a glass.  turn the parchment paper over so that the pencil drawing is on the side that will face the cookie sheet.

Mix the butter with the sugar until it is fluffy. Add the egg replacer and mix until fully incorporated. Next, add zest, extracts and flour. Mix well until dough is smooth. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and place in the center of the circles on ONE cookie tray at a time! Spread the dough out to nearly meet the edge of the outline of the circle you’ve drawn. (*Basically, you want a circle shaped thing that is flat…) Bake one tray at a time for 8 minutes–not too long or you will not be able to shape these. Look for the edges to just begin browning. Remove from oven.

Allow the cookie tray to sit and cool for about a minute. Much longer and the shells won’t be pliable. Pick up one circle at a time and wrap around your 1″ circle you have found–but again, these will be hot, so be careful! I have high tolerance for heat on my fingers. So, I dove right in. I then carefully wrapped my shell and held it in place for a few seconds–then it slid right off and held its shape. I then placed them on a cooling rack and held them together where they overlapped for about 20 seconds. Once cooled, they’ll hold their shape and be ready to fill!

Vegan Cannoli Chocolate Chip Cheese Filling

4 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter Sticks
4 tablespoons Earth Balance Shortening Sticks
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (maybe a little more, maybe less–test with the eyes, look at texture!)
2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 tablespoons Soya Powder (this is Soy Milk powder mix–can find it at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips, chopped

Add the butter, powdered sugar, sour cream, extract to a large bowl and mix well with a hand blender until smooth–takes a minute or two. Now, add the soy milk powder and blend again until smooth–you could add one more tablespoon if you desire–just taste it. Next, add chopped chocolate chips. You can then take a sandwich baggie with a corner cut off or a frosting bag and carefully pipe the filling into each shell–not over stuffing it–just filling it. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar voila!  Try and ONLY eat just one!  🙂

Buon Appetito!!!

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See

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