My husband was telling me the other day that he was craving cannoli. While I was sleeping, for some bizarre reason, it crossed my mind that the baked cheese chips we often eat might be good for making a mock cannoli shell. But what kind of cheese would be best? Cheddar? Mozzarella? Provolone? I settled on mozzarella due to its mild flavor, but provolone or even mild cheddar might also work too. In fact, cheddar might even work better since it has a higher fat content. Nonetheless, I used mozzarella and it worked out beautifully.
I tried, at first, to roll the low carb cannoli shells up like a real cannoli. Unfortunately, it’s harder to do than it is to make taco shells. You see, the sides must be folded on top of each other, and that requires you to hold them down. It also requires cannoli tubes, which I happen to have, but most people don’t. On top of that, the cheese shell mixture is only pliable for a minute or so after coming out of the oven– otherwise it’ll crack. Needless to say, it’s too hard to work with it while it’s that hot, and it’s way more work. Due to this, I decided to make these into cannoli bites, which are much easier to prepare.
I tossed up the idea of making the shells in mini muffin pans to make little tarts, but the batter used to make the shells is really thin– almost like a pancake batter. Thus, it doesn’t really work that way. These discs are the best way I could find to serve these up, and also the most simple way. When you put the batter down on to the lined baking sheet, you’ll flatten it out to what seems like paper thin. You have to do this, otherwise it won’t get crispy. It’s OK if it seems too thin on the pan–it’ll fill out as it baked and you’ll get perfect, crisp little discs.
I know what you’re thinking– mozzarella in a sweet?! It works, folks. However, if you have the option to get whole milk mozzarella, it works even better. I highly recommend it.
One last thing– because the cannoli filling doesn’t have the starch (from the powdered sugar) that traditional filling does, it’s not going to be as firm. To firm it up a bit, I found that freezing the bites for 15-20 minutes firms the filling up nicely without making it hard. It would look lovely piped on, but I didn’t have a star tip on hand when I made these. Instead, I used a 1 oz. cookie scoop on each.
Makes about 24 cannoli bites. 2g net carbs per bite.
- 1 15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese ***
- 1/3 C heavy whipping cream, whipped stiffly
- 1/3 C Swerve Confectioner's (powdered) or any other powdered sweetener
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. allspice (optional)
- Lemon zest of half a lemon
- 2 T grated sugar free chocolate
- 1/4 C sugar free chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (for topping)
- 1/2 C mozzarella cheese shreds (preferably whole milk)
- 2 T cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 T whey protein powder (unflavored, I used Jay Robb)
- 1 T golden flaxseed meal
- 3 T sweetener (I used Swerve)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment or a Silpat.
- In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients in for the shells and whisk into a loose batter, about 50 strokes. Make sure everything is evenly combined and the mixture is smooth. It will be thin.
- Using a small spoon, spoon quarter size discs of the batter about two inches apart onto the baking pan. Use the back of the spoon to thin the batter further until it is about double its size (and discs are about an inch apart). It's OK if it looks too thin and you can see some of the pan beneath. It will fill out during baking.
- Bake shells on the middle rack for about 20 minutes or until they are mostly deep brown in color. The middles will likely stay golden. That's OK-- we don't want the edges to turn black.
- Remove the shells from the oven and let them sit for about five minutes. Then carefully remove them to a cooling rack so they'll crisp up. While they're crisping, prepare the "filling."
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon and allspice and whisk together until creamy and evenly distributed.
- Add in the lemon zest and chocolate and stir well, then gently fold in the whipped cream using a spoon or spatula. Refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld.
- Using a pastry bag or one ounce cookie scoop, top each disk with about one ounce of filling. Top each disc with 3-5 chocolate chips.
- Freeze the cannoli bites for about 15 minutes to allow the filling to firm up a little bit. Enjoy!
***: Read your labels on your ricotta! Many brands have up to 6g carbs per serving due to the additions of starch fillers. It should not have more than 3g per serving!***:
CutTheWheat.com - Check out our latest recipes!