These fun Christmas cookies are inspired by one of my favorite pastries. This tasty twist on an Italian classic doesn’t taste exactly like a cannoli, but combines all the ingredients and flavors you would expect from a cannoli into a cookie without having to fry anything. With a cake-like texture, these cookies are enriched with ricotta cheese, scented with orange zest, studded with mini chocolate chips and cannoli shell pieces, and topped with chocolate drizzle and sprinkles for holiday cheer.
Makes about 40 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup cannoli shell pieces, chopped
2 oz bittersweet baking bar, melted
Optional toppings: sprinkles, chopped pistachios, candied cherries
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the egg, yolk, and ricotta cheese until combined. Then mix in the vanilla and orange zest.
Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just incorporated.
Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the chocolate chips and cannoli shell pieces until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a medium cookie scoop or spoon, drop about 1½ tablespoons of cookie dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or just until the bottoms and edges lightly brown. (The cookies will firm slightly as they cool.) Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and transfer to wire racks to cool completely before decorating.
Once the cookies have cooled, melt the bittersweet chocolate on a low heat setting in a microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth.
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies, and top with sprinkles, if desired. Allow the chocolate to set.