Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cannoli Cups



Not too long ago, I was at work when one of my students came into my classroom and asked if I wanted to participate in my coworker’s birthday celebration. I walked over to my coworker’s classroom and saw her cake and immediately was taken back to my childhood birthday celebrations. One of my coworker’s students had gotten her this beautiful cake that reminded me of the cakes my mother would buy for birthday celebrations from this Italian bakery, in little Italy, in Chicago. All of a sudden I got flashbacks of these beautiful cakes decorated with colorful flowers piped out of frosting and coated with what seemed like toasted coconut. But most importantly, these cakes were well known for their cannoli that was layered in between angel food cake and topped with a thin layer of fresh strawberries. Personally, as a child I did not appreciate the actual taste of the cake. In reality, all I wanted was one of the colorful frosting flowers, or better yet, a Barbie cake. I am not going to lie. Seeing my coworker’s cake really made me think of my birthday celebrations as well as miss my home town. I guess you can say that this moment was my inspiration for the recipe I am sharing with you today. Yes, I am sure you are looking at the picture and saying, “Well, where is the cannoli shell?” But I have no problem admitting to you all that I am not quite that talented, at least not yet. I decided to take the major ingredients of a cannoli and use them in a much simpler way.  As I type this post I am laughing at all the challenges that came my way when I made this recipe the other day. Although I have melted chocolate before, using the various methods to do so, I ended up burning the chocolate the first time. And I have no idea what I did the second time considering that the “melted chocolate” looked like a weird lookin’ paste. Uhm let see.. I spooned my mascarpone mix into a “small” zip lock bag and as I was piping the mix the bag busted open, due to not cutting a large enough tip to allow mini-chocolate chips pass through. At one point I was like, “Mother…. of Pearl!” is anything going to go right today?! So with that being said, I plan on returning to this recipe and challenging myself to make the cannoli shells, but for now, these little bite size pieces of goodness are hitting the spot just fine!

Cannoli Cups

Serves about 24

Ingredients:

¾ cup of an 8 oz package of mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla extract.
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 boxes of mini fillo-dough cups
½ cup strawberries, rinsed, and thinly sliced
½ cup regular size semi-sweet chocolate chips
Splash of milk or cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with fillo-dough cups. Bake cups for 5-8 mins and set aside when done. In a small bowl combine mascarpone, ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and mix together. Once cheese mix is well combined, fold in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Put mix into a large zip lock bag and store in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. In a small glass bowl combine regular size semi-sweet chocolate chips and splash of milk and heat in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Stir chocolate and see if it needs to be melted down more. If so, add an additional splash of milk. You want the chocolate to be really melted down, but be careful not to burn the chocolate. Set aside when ready.
  3. Take zip lock bag and cut off the tip of one corner. (Remember big enough to let mini chocolate chips through). Take one of the cups and fill it with mascarpone mix and garnish with sliced strawberries. Repeat step until all cups are filled and topped with strawberries.
  4. Take a fork and dip it into melted chocolate mix and drizzle chocolate over all cups. 

Me with my siblings at my 3rd birthday party. 
Look at the cake!

Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy original. 

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