Right up next to the quest for the Holy Grail, there’s the search for that perfect bite of sweet decadence that completes a meal. It’s that incredibly satisfying mouthful that allows you to finally set down your fork, lean back in your chair and place your hands on top of your full and now burgeoning belly and smile. These Mini Amaretto Cannolis are the hauntingly beautiful last notes to your Valentine’s Day sonata masterpiece and you will be deemed the brilliant maestro. (Traeger may or may not be able to guarantee a round of applause...although it would be much deserved.)
For the filling:
In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the following:
- 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese (You don’t want a lot of liquid in the ricotta, so if it seems watery, dump the container in a square of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set in a strainer over a bowl to drain for a few hours.)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon amaretto or other nut-flavored liqueur
- Pinch of salt (Very important! As Grandma always said, you need a little bit of salt to balance everything sweet.)
For the shells:
Combine ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a 14.1 ounce refrigerated pie crust dough or you can make your own. (But let’s be honest, buying the pie crust is so much easier. So why complicate your life?) Make sure you let the dough come to room temperature before trying to roll it out.
Sprinkle the dough evenly with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Use a 3-inch cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out as many rounds as you can. (You can mash the remnants together and roll it out again to get a few more rounds.) Tuck the cutouts into the wells of an ungreased muffin tin. Don't try to shape them into cannoli shapes because they will only collapse as they cook. Learned that one the hard way!
Bake those shells:
Heat up your faithful Traeger, setting it on Smoke with the lid open until white smoke is coming out (4 to 5 minutes). We used Mesquite BBQ Pellets but Apple or Cherry would be good too. Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Now it’s baking time. Put the muffin tin on the grill grate and bake the shells for about 10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through to prevent them from cooking unevenly. You might even want to take a peek at the shells after about 8 minutes because these babies cook quickly and burn even faster. Once they’re golden brown, remove the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Take the filling bag and snip off a corner so you can pipe the filling into each of the shells just before you’re ready to serve them.
Since this is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth, top the shells with delectable toppings such as (but not limited to) chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chips, chopped almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, candied orange peel or sweetened whipped cream. Then dust them lightly with some powdered sugar.
We figured, why only go for one topping?! So we finished ours with bittersweet chocolate shavings, hazelnuts and powdered sugar. One of the best things about these little treats is that because they are ‘Mini’ Cannolis, you’re allowed to eat two…or three…or four…or a whole lot more.
Let the symphony begin in your mouth. Be prepared to watch your loved one swoon as those tasty notes trip across their tongue. Then step back and take a bow.
Here is the printable recipe:
Mini Amaretto Cannolis.pdf (40.64 kb)