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.

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

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 which is delicious, but I was looking for an easier way.

Table of Contents
  1. Equipment and ingredient notes
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. Recipe tips and variations
  4. Mock Italian Cannoli with Pizzelle Recipe

Equipment and ingredient notes

  • 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).
  • 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).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. 
Learn how to make whipped cream with just 2 ingredients - 3 if you decide to add vanilla! It's an easy, delicious way to add a touch of homemade sweetness to cakes, pies, cupcakes, cheesecakes, trifles, drinks, and more!
  1. 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.
Mock Italian cannoli pizzelle filling in a glass bowl.
  1. 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.
Pizzele batter in a pizzele maker.
  1. 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.
A rolled piece of pizzelle.
  1. 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.
Mock italian cannolis with pizzelle on top of a blue cutting board covered in powdered sugar.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe about 36 cannoli (12 servings of 3 cannoli per person). The recipe may be halved.
  • 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.
  • 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.

More sweet treats

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 18 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:

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.

Recipe Video

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
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Comments

  1. Looks to me like you may need to re-read this recipe. How could you publish this recipe? It looks like the cookie recipe and cannoli recipe are written together!!!

    1. Hi Judy, they are written together because you make the cream first and while it’s chilling, you make the cookies. The recipe is a step-by-step to get that accomplished. I just read through it and it made sense to me, but I can add some category headings to make it clear. I’m sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. -Meggan

    1. 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

  2. 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. 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

    2. 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

  3. 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. 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.

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