Monday, March 9, 2009

Mario Batali's Mini Chocolate Chip-Orange Cannoli (Cannoli Di Ricotta)

An extraordinary Italian dessert composed of delicate, crispy, tube-shaped chocolate pastry shells, embracing sweet, creamy ricotta cheese, infused with Grand Marnier liqueur, miniature chocolate morsels, and candied orange peel, dusted ever so softly with powdered sugar. Close your eyes, envision yourself at a picturesque Venetian café, and indulge your craving...

We made these for Jim & Carmen's Daylight Savings Party and used recipes from two of my favorite Italian Chefs, Mario Batali and Giada De Laurentiis.

Mario suggests buying candied orange peel or substituting orange zest, so I made Giada's candied orange peel to use in the recipe. I've seen cannoli at one of our Little Italy area bakeries, but they are pretty large in size. I've always wanted to try making them and was able to find the cannoli forms at a gourmet kitchen store in town. I knew they would be cute as minis. Mario's recipe makes 12, but I was able to get 18 using a 3" round cookie cutter. I would like to try to roll the shells a little thinner next time, but they were still very flaky and retained their crispiness. You must drain the ricotta for at least an hour before adding the mini chocolate chips, orange zest, and remaining ingredients, but I drained it overnight in the refrigerator. The cannoli dough has Grand Marnier liqueur (8 tbsp!), cocoa powder and cinnamon. The candied orange peel was a little burst of sunshine, keeping in theme with the party.

Everyone loved these!

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