Whether it’s a wedge of snacking cheese or a scoop of “I live alone” ganache, having a small treat available at a moment’s notice is good for everyone. The best treats taste great on their own but also play well with others for an excellent nosh. Since you can never have too many fridge-ready snacks in your rotation, here’s another one for your repertoire: a bowl of cannoli cream, ready for dipping whenever you need it.
Cannoli cream, at its most basic, is sweetened ricotta cheese. From there you can mix in optional flavorings, spices, nuts, or mini chocolate chips to jazz things up. Normally you’d pipe this rich, smooth and creamy filling into tube-like, crunchy fried cannoli shells and promptly transport them directly into your mouth, but cannoli cream tastes fantastic on a host of handheld foods.
To see what I’m talking about, try dipping apple slices in cannoli cream, or spread it on toast, biscuits, or doughnuts. I especially like it spread on torn pieces of youtiao, which has wide, open air pockets to house great gobs of the stuff. Dip sea salt sprinkled crackers into it for a sweet and salty contrast, make cannoli crackers for “deconstructed cannoli,” or keep it completely sweet with cookies for a more adult Dunkaroo. The flavor of the cream is relatively mild, and, depending on the optional mix-ins, can match up well with almost any flavor of cookie, cracker, or cake. Even without any dippable items at the ready, there’s always Plan B (eat it with a spoon).
For something that tastes so magical, cannoli cream is astonishingly simple to make. (Even more of a reason to alway keep some on hand.) Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl, and mix by hand with a spoon or rubber spatula. No bringing ingredients to room temperature, no special tools, and no cooking required. The most prep work you have to do is maybe shelling and chopping some pistachios, but nuts are optional, and you can always buy shelled nuts to eliminate the tedium of splitting open pistachio shells.
I love the flavor ground cinnamon adds to cannoli cream. I find it indispensable, so I’ve included it as a necessary ingredient in the recipe, but you can omit it or adjust the amount however suits you. Consider the chocolate chips, zest, and pistachios under the same rule. Keep this cannoli cream snack spread in a lidded container in the fridge for up to seven days.
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- ¾ cup whole milk ricotta cheese (about 7 ounces)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (optional)
- ½ teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios (optional)
Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl. Serve with cookies or crackers, or alongside pancakes, waffles, or toast.