Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle Recipe

Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.

These sweet little Italian pastries make a beautiful cookie plate when combined with No Bake Peanut Butter Bars, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and everybody’s favorite Snickerdoodles.

Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.
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If you have an Italian pizzelle press, you definitely want to memorize this recipe, especially if you dream about Italian cannoli and are constantly looking for cannoli shops nearby. Make a batch of Mock Cannoli with Pizzelle and Vanilla Ricotta Cream, and make all your dreams come true.

This cannoli recipe uses rolled up pizzelle—the flat, waffle-like cookies that are cooked in a press similar to a waffle iron—as a crispy shell for the cannoli. Traditional cannoli shells are made from deep fried pastry dough; this clever substitute is lighter and far easier.

In case you’re wondering, “cannolo” is the singular form of cannoli, yet everyone calls cannoli “cannoli,” no matter the quantity.

It makes sense, though, because it’s not like anyone can eat just one of these beautiful little ricotta-filled pastries and then…stop. Unless it was the last cannolo in the box, and well, that’s just cause for an argument.

Making a Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

How to make Mock Cannoli:

Is this recipe truly authentic cannoli Siciliani? Maybe not entirely, but it’s worlds easier and yields just as delightful a dessert as the real thing.

By the way, this how-to is broken up into a couple different sections, the pizzelle waffle cookie and the sweet ricotta cheese filling, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

How to make the Pizzelle:

For these cookies, you’ll need a pizzelle press, also known as a pizzelle iron or a pizzelle maker. Nowadays, most pizzelle presses are electric, made of non-stick material for rapid cookie production. But others are manual, which need to be heated on the stove.

Depending on the investment you want to make, there are lots of good options out there for every budget.

To make the pizzelle cookies, you make an easy batter out of melted butter, flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking powder. (The exact pizzelle recipe is down below, in the recipe card, in case you want specifics—this is just a walk through for the readers!)
Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.

Some Italian cooks add a pinch of powdered anise to their pizzelle recipe; anise would taste fabulous with cannoli.

  1. Coat the preheated pizzelle iron with non-stick cooking spray, then drop a slightly rounded tablespoon of batter in each area of the pizzelle press.
    Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.
  2. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions, usually about 30 seconds to one minute.
  3. Now for the tricky part! You need to work quickly, because once the cookies start to cool, they become impossible to roll up.
  4. Roll your cookies one at a time, leaving the second cookie on the press with the press open while you roll up the first. If you remove both at the same time, the second one will be too cool to bend by the time you get to it, and it'll break in half.
    Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.
  5. Most Pizzelle presses come with a 3/4" wooden dowel for rolling; wrap the cookies around it immediately off the press and hold them until they are cool enough to maintain the shape. Use a towel so you don't burn your fingers.
  6. Once the cookies are made, they can keep in an airtight container until you need them. To prevent the cannoli from getting soggy, it’s best to fill the cannoli right before you need them.

How to make Cannoli filling:

What kind of cheese goes in cannoli filling? Traditional cannoli filling is made with sweetened ricotta cheese which is sometimes delicately scented with Amaretto or Sambuca. Some cooks also add a creamy mascarpone cheese for extra body.

The ends of the cannoli are then dipped in chopped pistachios, chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, or toasted almonds. Something sweet to give this creamy pastry a little crunch.
Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.

However, this recipe lightens it up a little and folds in a little whipped cream and a touch of vanilla bean extract. Every bite is like a cloud!

  1. To make the filling, whip the cream into stiff peaks. In another bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Then gently fold in the whipped cream. Refrigerate the cannoli filling while you make the cookies.
    Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.
  2. To fill the cookies, use a disposable pastry bag fit with a large coupler and no tip. Squeeze the filling in one side of the cannoli, turn it around, and fill the second side. The filling might not go all the way through the middle of the cannoli, and that is completely fine.

Sometimes real cannoli are like that, too.

Storing Italian Mock Cannoli:

The prepared cannoli shells will keep, unfilled, up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Only fill the shells when you’re planning to serve them, otherwise the ricotta cheese filling will make the cannoli soggy.

Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly. Your Sicilian grandmother would approve.

Finishing touches:

Sprinkle the ends of the cannoli with tiny chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, chocolate shavings, or finely chopped candied orange peel. Finally, give the outside a dusting of powdered sugar, then hurry up and eat them all until there’s not a single cannolo left!

 

5 from 5 votes

Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle Recipe

Crunchy on the outside, with a delicately sweet and creamy center, this recipe for Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle cookies is nothing short of heavenly.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword cannoli, italian, pizzelle
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 424kcal
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vanilla divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup butter melted and cooled
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips plus more for garnish
  • Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. 
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta powdered sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Fold in heavy cream, cover, and refrigerate while making the cookies.
  • Preheat pizzelle iron and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter, eggs, remaining 1 tablespoon vanilla, and baking powder.
  • Drop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter on the pizzelle press and close. Bake as directed by manufacturer or until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Using a nonstick spatula, remove one pizzelle, leaving the second still on the open press, carefully wrap around a ¾” wooden dowel and pinch where the ends of the cookie meet. Hold until pizzelle is cool enough to retain its shape, using a kitchen towel if necessary to prevent burning your fingers. Repeat with second cookie on press and all remaining batter.
  • Remove filling from the refrigerator and fold in chocolate chips. Using a pastry bag fitted with only a large coupler and no tip, pipe the filling into each side of a cooled pizzelle. It is okay if the filling does not go all the way through the middle of the cookie.
  • Garnish with additional chocolate chips and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Serve immediately or chill until serving time.

Recipe Notes

This recipe yields 35 - 40 cannoli, or 2 to 3 per person. The recipe may be halved.
Recipe adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli.

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcal

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  1. Peachy

    I’ve been doing this for many years. This allows for a tasty variation on the cannoli

  2. Judy Csthcart

    Can you use almond flour instead of regular flour?

    1. meggan

      Hi Judy, I’m not sure. You could definitely try it. I haven’t made these with almond flour so I can’t say for sure! -Meggan

  3. Janice L Martin

    I have Celiacs Disease and I have to eat Gluten Free. I’m wondering if you have a gluten free recipe for the pizzelles?

    1. meggan

      Hi Janice! New plan, one that shouldn’t take quite so long! I picked up a bag of Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten free flour today. I’ll use my existing recipe for pizzelles and just swap in the GF flour. Hopefully I can do this by the end of the week and report back! Stay tuned, thanks for your patience! -Meggan

    2. meggan

      Hi Janice, I don’t have a recipe for GF pizzelles, but I could work on it. It will probably take a couple of months, but I’ll put it on the list! Such a great idea. Thanks for the question. -Meggan

  4. I can replace Ricotta in this recipe by cottage or cream cheese to make this dish, can’t it? I run out of ricotta and i don’t know which substitute is better.

    1. meggan

      Yes you can! I think either one would be good. Cottage cheese probably has the most similar texture, but cream cheese probably has the more similar taste. Both would be good.

  5. Lydia Johann

    Sorry, But this is not a true Italian Pizzelle recipe. Never would one add baking powder or powdered sugar in the dough!!!
    Yikes!!!

    1. meggan

      I would never claim to know anything about authentic pizzelle, but I do appreciate hearing that the batter should not contain baking powder and powdered sugar. I obviously have no experience with authentic cannoli either. :) If you have authentic recipes for either that you’d be willing to pass along, I’d gladly take them! Thanks for your comments.

  6. Beth Maugeri

    When I called her out on the Photos she told me she took them but lets people use them

  7. Beth Maugeri

    Really should water mark these a lady is using your photos she will take their money and not even make them

    1. meggan

      Hi Beth, thanks for the head’s up. It’s kind of like playing whack-a-mole! I think I can find them through a google image search, though, so I’ll look into it. Thank you so much!!! And I can promise you that I never used anyone else’s photos, obviously. :)

  8. Denise

    I made the filling and it is runny, any suggestions on how to thicken this up.

    1. Maria

      You need t o let just your ricotta strain over night over cheese clothe in a bowl as it is high in water content and squeeze out the moisture frequently. Then once it looks dryer then It was assemble your filling as stated in recipe.5 stars

    2. meggan

      Hi Denise, if your filling seems runny, I would try to thicken it up by remove some of the excess liquid. You could pour the filling over a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve, some cheesecloth, or even pile it on paper towels. That should soak up some of the extra cream. I’m sorry you had that issue. Makes me wonder if there is variance among ricotta cheese, maybe some producers have more or less water than others. I should probably recommend using less heavy cream overall and adding more if the mixture is too thick. Thanks for your question and I hope this helps!

  9. Anna

    The real name is FERRATELLE , a tipical Abruzzo recipe. You can try also BRIGIDINI, this time a tipical Tuscany recipe that you can do with the same tool. bye ;-)

    1. meggan

      Hi Anna, thanks for these tips! I’ll research the recipes for sure. :) Always good to hear from a native! Take care.

  10. Sharon Russo

    How far in advance can the mock cannoli be made? And, what is the best way to store them?

    1. meggan

      Hi Sharon, here is what I would do if I wanted to make the cannoli in advance. I’d make all the components and store them separately and then assemble them at the last minute. The cookies will keep for a week AT LEAST at room temperature (air-tight container), and the filling should be fine for 4 or 5 days if not longer (refrigerated). I just wouldn’t assemble them until you need them because the cookies would probably get soggy after a day or so. Not as bad as actual cannoli, but I’m assuming after a while that would happen. I’ve never actually made these in advance. I do think if you made them in the morning and refrigerated them until the afternoon, that would be fine. I hope this helps. Good luck!

  11. Elizabeth LaBau

    My very own shout-out! I am blushing. :) I love your cannoli interpretation. Deep frying is all well and good, but I have a hard time believing the authentic shells are better than delicious pizzelle cookies. This is genius!5 stars

  12. Meggan, this is such a fun post! I’m all for cheat’s versions of things, especially if they end up looking as good as these. I saw an Italian chef make a similar filling for pancakes recently at a food show – he added chocolate sauce to his so I guess it’s more or less the same taste you end up with. I don’t have a pizzelle press but I do have a pasta maker … maybe I should give that version a try!5 stars

  13. Meggan, this is such a fun post! I’m all for cheat’s versions of things, especially if they end up looking as good as these. I saw an Italian chef make a similar filling for pancakes recently at a food show – he added chocolate sauce to his so I guess it’s more or less the same taste you end up with. I don’t have a pizzelle press but I do have a pasta maker … maybe I should give that version a try!5 stars

  14. Well you did an amazing job with these Meggan, they look awesome!5 stars

    1. Thanks so much, Matt! They were super tasty, a big hit with the guys around here. :)

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