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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge November 2009: Cannoli


This was an interesting challenge! I, however, did not have any cannoli tubes to make proper traditional cannoli. I was thinking of buying them but then I decided I wouldn’t be using these very often. But to be honest, I really wanted to get a little more creative with the cannoli as the challenge allowed for plenty of creativity which was great!

I got the idea of making little Christmas trees which would make a nice Christmas dessert. But then as I was working with the dough I was tempted to try and make some swirly cannoli!

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

The Daring Kitchen


This is my vegan (non-alcoholic) adaptation of the recipe:

Cannoli Shells

Ingredients (I don't have an exact number but this yields loads of Christmas Trees! Probably more than 15 depending on the size)
2 cups (250g) flour
2 tablespoons (28g) sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon (1.15g) cinnamon
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
3 tablespoons (42g) oil
1 teaspoon (5g) rice vinegar
½ cup (59g) red grape juice (you can use Marsala or red/white wine which is what the original recipe called for)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons (10g) egg replacer (Allergycare brand)
Oil for frying
Icing sugar (for dusting)

From the recipe instructions:

  • In the bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and egg replacer.
  • Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the grape juice to make a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight. (I left mine overnight)
  • Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that).
  • To make the stacked Christmas trees, I cut triangular shapes grading the size. I also cut out some stars (I did those manually as I don’t have a star cookie cutter; they were alright after practicing 2 stars).
  • For the swirly Christmas tree, I cut out long strips and threaded it through a skewer. Then gently lowered this into the oil to fry.


I don’t have a deep fry thermometer, so I got the right temperature by trying and testing. The first few cannoli puffed up like little pillows! They were cute though! But I reduced the temperature and they were fine.

  • Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
  • Remove and let drain on absorbent paper.

I used soy whipping cream as filling and some pomegranate seeds.

For the swirly Christmas tree, I started with a triangle shape for the base. Then I arranged the swirls on top with whipping cream as filling, and dusted the plate and shells with some icing sugar for decoration.

Cannoli Xmas Tree

These cannoli were really nice! They tasted great and the pinch of cinnamon felt very Christmassy!

I would probably make this again and experiment with other fillings but not too often because of the deep frying bit!


  1. oh mindblowing presentation!!i'll kill for these!!!!

  2. I love these! The teetering xmas trees in the first picture are particularly beautiful - /i> ingenious, Lovelie!!

  3. What a beautiful and non-traditional presentation! Really gets me in the holiday spirit...

  4. Beautiful presentations! You did a really good job!

  5. The swirly Christmas tree is so unique! Outstanding job!

  6. I love it! Such an amazing presentation, you really outdid yourself. They are almost too pretty to eat...almost!

  7. I'm floored... this is sooo lovely, totly whimsical... what greativity you have! Bravissima!

  8. I made the stacked version as well! Love the Christmas tree idea.

  9. Adorable, and so creative! I love it when people come up with things outside of the box!

  10. Oh my goodness, I love your take on the challenge so much! So creative and festive, I'll have to remember this as the holidays draw nearer... ;)

  11. I absolutely love the way you approached this challenge, especially since Christmas is almost upon us. Very clever, skewering the dough before frying - the end result just speaks for itself!

  12. You were so creative! These are really lovely. Great job!

  13. Beautiful beautiful beautiful there is only one word for you post. That last photo is goregous. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  14. These are absolutely gorgeous, great job! You are very creative!

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  16. After seeing many tube-cannoli, yours make a refreshing change! I love this festive idea, plus the trees look so delicious :)

  17. I come from an italian family and we're very very picky about our cannoli. When I went vegan I knew I was giving up a lot of my families traditional cooking, and that seemed ok to me. After reading this post and the comments, I'm excited to try this recipe. I'm super-picky about my italian foods, but i'm not a closed-minded eater.

    Just as a suggestion: my family doesn't have any fancy "cannoli tubes." We bought a wooden dowel from the hardware store, cut it down to fit two shells comfortably for frying, and give them a good oiling. this is super cheap and works really well. Once the shells are cool, they come right off the dowels.

  18. These are AMAZING butterfly! I LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

  19. Your version is so creative and beautiful. Well done!

  20. Those are so pretty, great job!

  21. I have to admit, you really manage to present things so yummily! I'd love to join your table once!

  22. Krysta, thanks for the suggestion, I'll sure remember this if I'm making cannoli again

  23. the cannoli look absolutely gorgeous, not to mention delicious! i wish i could have a bite right away :)

  24. Gauri Radha गौरी राधा2 December 2010 at 03:00

    Looks quite delicious!!


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