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 BarsMexican Wedding Cookies, and everybody’s favorite Snickerdoodles.

Mock italian cannolis with pizzelle on top of a blue cutting board covered in powdered sugar.

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 of 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 walkthrough 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!

 

Mock italian cannoli with pizzelle on top of a blue cutting board covered in powdered sugar.

Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle

Love Cannoli but don't want to make and fry the shells yourself? Try this innovative variation with rolled Pizzelle cookies and sweetened ricotta cream instead.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 612

Equipment

  • Pizzelle iron (see note 1)

Ingredients 

For the ricotta filling:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Pizzelle cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup butter melted and cooled
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

For the mock cannoli:

  • 2/3 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips plus more for garnish

Instructions 

To make the ricotta filling:

  • 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 whipped cream, cover, and refrigerate while making the Pizzelle cookies.

To make the Pizzelle cookies:

  • Preheat Pizzelle iron and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder. Drop slightly rounded tablespoons of batter on to Pizzelle iron 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.

To assemble the mock cannoli:

  • 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.

Notes

  1. Pizzelle iron: Modern versions are just like a waffle maker: a silvery, shiny, beautiful waffle maker that makes cookies. I have this pizzelle iron (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link).
  2. Vanilla extract: Or substitute anise or almond extract. For lemon, use 1 teaspoon lemon oil instead of lemon extract (lemon extract doesn’t have enough flavor).
  3. Yield: This recipe about 36 cannoli (12 servings of 3 cannoli per person). The recipe may be halved.
  4. Make ahead: The prepared cannoli shells will keep, unfilled, up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Unfortunately the shells cannot be filled in advance because the ricotta cheese filling will make the cannoli soggy.
  5. 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 612kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 15gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 155mgSodium: 272mgPotassium: 221mgFiber: 2gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 1097IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 245mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!
Culinary School Secrets
Pro-level tricks to transform your cooking!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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. :)

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

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