Friday, November 27, 2009

Holy 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.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous for this challenge, and it turns out I should have been! I have only had one cannoli before and wasn't a huge fan, and it's always hard to get excited for a challenge when I think I may not like the end result. Also it has been such a crazy month that I can't believe I even found time to make these! They were fairly simple to make, but I think I did something wrong. Well-I know I did something wrong! I didn't use marsala wine because I don't drink, so I thought maybe cooking wine would work, and maybe that made the dough not turn out as good. They didn't fry up nicely and weren't that crisp. And the filling....well I am just not a huge fan. I wish I would have filled them with some type of custard, because I am not a fan of the ricotta filling. So I feel like the past two challenges have been a bust for me, mostly because I have messed them up! It's been a while since I have been eager to share my pictures from my challenges, for these past two I have been embarrassed to even put some up! So please, pleeease December challenge be good to me! :) Check out how some of the other lovely Daring Bakers did here

2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine 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.

2 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). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.

For stacked cannoli:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.

1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brazil Cupcake Pops

A week and a half ago my family dropped my little brother Sam off at the Provo MTC because he has decided to serve a 2 year LDS mission. He got his call to Brazil! I am so excited for him and very proud of his decision to serve a mission. He had his farewell talk at church a couple weeks ago, and after church we had friends and family over for food and mingling. I decided to make some Brazil themed cupcake pops. I thought they would be such a cute center piece to the tables, and then after they served their purpose as a cute center piece people could enjoy their yumminess. idea of having them as a center piece was very short lived:) I got them all ready and set them on the tables and before I could blink they were gone! Devoured in seconds, everyone loved them! It is more important to me that people enjoy them rather than they serve as a cute center piece:) So here is the very simple recipe I used for the center of the pops. I used an oreo truffle recipe which is absolutely delicious! If you would like to know how to form them into cupcakes pops go to Bakerella's blog. She has great pictures and wonderful instructions.

Oreo Truffles


  • 1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
  • 1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • any type of chocolate or candy melts you wish to dip them into:) I use candy melts when making them into cupcake pops


  1. Crush cookies in food processor. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
  2. Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.)
  3. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a...

So Monday was a very exciting day! I found out what I am having:) I had this fun idea that I wouldn't have my husband come with me to the ultrasound and after I found out what it is, I would bake a cake, dye it pink or blue, depending on what it was, and have him cut into it to find out. My mom came with me to the ultrasound, and the Dr wouldn't give me a 100% sure on what it was, he said to not have my cake cutting party till they knew a little better:( Well that wasn't going to happen, I was determined to have my cake cutting party! So my mom and I, being the two impulsive people that we are hopped in the car and drove 20 min away to the nearest fetal photo studio in the mall. I got a 100% sure as to what it was. My husband had a group meeting at 7, so we had to cut the cake before then, so my mom and I had an hour and 15 min to get home, make a cake, bake it, and frost it! I just used a cake mix and store bought frosting to speed things up. I have never made anything so fast in my life! We were in such a rush for him to be able to cut it that night that we only had time to invite a few family members. So watch the video to see what I am having:)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The most AMAZING German Chocolate Cake Ever!!!!!!

I hope by the title you guys know how enthusiastic I am about this cake! I made it for my husbands Grandma for her birthday. Her favorite cake was German Chocolate, which is one of my favorites as well but I had never made a German Chocolate Cake so this would be new to me. I googled and what the consensus seemed to be among the foodies out there is that David Lebovitz had the best German Chocolate Cake recipe. And I have to agree.

Ok I do have a little confession....I used a box cake mix for the actual cake! (Gasp!) I know you are probably wondering why I just talked this cake up when in fact I actually didn't make the actual cake part. Well I talk it up because the coconut filling is the absolute most amazing thing I have ever tasted! I honestly could just eat a whole bowl of it! And the chocolate icing-to die for!!! When I have more time in the future I can't wait to try out his recipe for the cake and make it from scratch, but to be honest, with all of that wonderful coconut filling and chocolate icing smothered all over the cake no one could even spot that it wasn't homemade. I think you could serve cardboard with the coconut filling on it and people would go crazy! For the delicious recipe go here!

Me with Micah's Nana Loise, she is the most wonderful woman
and I love her to pieces!

Ina's Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing

For a long time I have wanted to make Ina Garten's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes . The recipe looked so amazing, so finally a few weeks ago I did. And they were delicious! Probably my favorite chocolate cupcake I have made so far. Definitely the best texture of ANY cupcake I have EVER made! It was perfect-moist, not too dense not too fluffy, just perfect. And they rose beautifully. It's been a struggle I have found to find a cupcake recipe completely from scratch that will rise perfectly. I hate when they just rise to the rim of the cupcake liner. These formed the most perfect domed top. Can't wait to make them again. I am going to see if I can try to make these into vanilla cupcakes. One thing I didn't do to the cupcakes was add the coffee, and they were still delicious.

Chocolate Cupcakes


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
  • Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.