Bob’s Red Mill’s United States of Cookies: Cannoli Cookies (NJ)

New Jersey’s cookie is a sandwich cookie incorporating cannoli shell crumbs, chocolate chips, orange zest, and a ricotta-based cannoli filling.

Recipe Source

Cannoli are one of those foods I always think I like more than I do. “Ooh, cannoli!” I think, take a bite, and go, “oh, wait…” I don’t DISlike them, I just don’t enjoy them as much as I expect to. And yes, I have had a legit cannoli at Mike’s Pastries in Boston so I’m not basing it on mass-produced supermarket specimens.

The cannoli shell crumbs were optional, but luckily “cannoli chips” are available so I bought some of those.

Here’s a way to crumb up thin things: put them in a zip bag and roll over it with a rolling pin (you can also give it a few thumps).

I just love zesting with my Microplane. Isn’t that gorgeous?

After the gray of winter, we could use a sunshiney punch to the eyeballs.
Beat until light and fluffy
After adding the flour

The cannoli crumbs were already pulverized enough, so I was good and folded in by hand.

The dough had to chill, so I moved on to the filling. Unfortunately, the dough took up the zest of my remaining good orange (three were moldy) so I had to use a clementine for the filling zest. It does have a different flavor, stronger I think. I tried a little of the filling and the combo of the zest and a chocolate chip produced an anise flavor. I’m not an anise fan so I worried, but it didn’t taste like that in subsequent taste tests.

I thought I would need two until I saw the amount of zest I got from one.
The filling

The recipe said to scoop and roll balls two tablespoons in size. I filled my tablespoon scoop with water to see if two equalled the next size up that I have. It did, but it was going to make a gigantic cookie, and the recipe yield said 10 cookies, so I decided to go with the tablespoon scoop for a larger amount of smaller cookies.

These had a nice little bit of a shine to them.
I rolled the first batch into balls and then completely forgot for the rest, so they look a little more rustic.

Even after chilling, the filling seemed a little runny, so following what I would do for buttercream, I added more confectioner’s sugar to try and thicken it up…

And it did the opposite! What the heck?

I went to the internet for answers:

Oh ducky… 😫

This called for 1 3/4 cups of ricotta and a cup of confectioner’s sugar, and I added maybe a cup more in my stupidity.

One piece of advice was to drain the ricotta by lining a strainer with cheesecloth and letting it sit overnight (this before making the filling) and to fix runny filling by letting it sit at least half an hour.

I ended up having to lay out the cloth after and scrape the solids off with my bowl scraper.

Things were still a bit runny, so I turned to other advice: adding a thickener. Corn starch seemed like it would taste too starchy, and while I do have almond flour, it isn’t very fine, and another suggestion had already caught my eye: “dessicated coconut.”

Time to break out my recent frenemy:

High fiber, absorbs lots of liquid? Yes!
That’s more like it!

Coconut flour, I am so glad I bought you by accident. You may not have made the best pie crust but you saved me this time. I only used a tablespoon and could not detect any flavor of the coconut.

Overall Impressions

I like them more than any cannoli I’ve ever eaten. The cookies are soft, like a dense cake. I worried about the filling being cloying, and it is sweet, but not overwhelming. The chocolate is always good, of course, and the citrus flavor is more pronounced than I expected. I’m already planning on making them for Easter dinner with my family (using my mistakes and lessons from this time to improve).

Tips and suggestions

  1. Drain the ricotta overnight in the fridge in a cheesecloth- or tea towel-lined sieve placed over a bowl.
  2. Scoop by tablespoons.
  3. Roll and flatten the cookies before baking. They turned out a bit round when assembled.
  4. Decrease the confectioner’s sugar in the filling to half a cup, adjust to taste from there.

All photos by Amber Sutton

Originally published at

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