Christmas Cannoli

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.Santa Claus.  St. Nick.  Kris Kringle.  Father Christmas.  No matter what name you use, there’s no doubt that Santa Claus is one of the most well-known figures in the world.  But I bet there are a few fun facts that you’ve never heard about the jolly guy in the red suit.

Let’s start with that red suit.  Did you know that Coca-Cola had a lot to do with that red suit?  To be fair, despite the red and white colors of the brand, Coca-Cola didn’t actually invent Santa’s red suit.  (That honor goes to Thomas Nast, a cartoonist who created the modern-day image of Santa for Harper’s Weekly magazine in the late 1800’s.)  Nevertheless, Coca-Cola’s popular advertising campaign started in the 1930’s, and it standardized the image of Santa that most folks know today.

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.Another little known fact about St. Nick?  He has a United States pilot’s license.  That’s right.  In 1927, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce issued a pilot’s license to Santa Claus.  There’s even photographic proof of Santa receiving his license – and it’s documented in this photo from the Library of Congress.  I wonder how long that pilot’s license is good for?

Santa Pilot License
credit: Library of Congress

One more fun tidbit before we move on to today’s recipe: For 2 years, Santa was considered the richest fictional character in the world.  From 2002-2013, Forbes Magazine published a list of the 15 richest fictional characters in the world.  Santa topped the list in 2002 and 2005, but then Forbes dropped him from consideration because they were overwhelmed by letters arguing that Santa was real.  In case you’re wondering, Scrooge McDuck topped the list 3 times following Santa’s exclusion.  As for me, I like to think that Scrooge McDuck is real.

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.Christmas Cannoli

Now that we’ve addressed a few of the lesser known facts about everyone’s favorite jolly old elf, let’s turn our attention to today’s recipe.  This is a fun one!  And it’s really quite easy to make.  With Christmas approaching quickly, I’m sure everyone is quite busy.  There are last minute gifts to purchase, presents to wrap and lights to be hung.  That’s where these Christmas Cannoli enter the picture.

We love cannoli in our house!  As I’ve detailed before, Laura’s obstetrician’s office was right next to a bakery that makes the best cannoli.  Every time we went in for an appointment, we had to stop next door to pick up a cannoli.  And near the end when the doctor’s visits became more frequent?  Well, that meant more cannoli for us!

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.For this batch of Christmas Cannoli, I used my go-to cannoli filling recipe and then just decorated the filled cannoli with red and green sprinkles.  (I did this same thing back in the middle of the summer with red, white and blue sprinkles for 4th of July.)  Cannoli are incredibly easy to make at home, and they’re a fun way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate!  In fact, I might just leave Santa a cannoli this year.  I’m thinking he would be quite happy to find a cannoli waiting for him – after all, he’ll have had way too many chocolate chip cookies by the time he gets to our house!

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.To make these homemade cannoli easy, I use pre-made cannoli shells.  Most bakeries (including grocery store bakeries) sell unfilled cannoli shells.  (Just make sure to call around first to save time!)  The cannoli filling is very easy, although it is important to use whole milk ricotta cheese.  I used part-skim ricotta cheese one time, and the filling never thickened.  It was delicious, but it just didn’t thicken up enough for filling cannoli shells.  I hope you enjoy these Christmas Cannoli as much as we do!

Did you make a batch of these Christmas Cannoli at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.

Christmas Cannoli

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Draining Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 206kcal

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 1 15-oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese (see note)
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 tsp lemon zest zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

For the Cannoli

  • 12 full-sized or 24 mini cannoli shells (see note)
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup red and green sprinkles
  • powdered sugar for dusting tops

Instructions

For the Filling

  • Place ricotta in a fine mesh strainer and set over a large bowl. Cover bowl lightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. (Note: ricotta can be drained overnight.)
  • Using a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest.
  • Using a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the Cannoli

  • Using a pastry bag with no tip, fill each cannoli shell with the ricotta filling.
  • Place mini chocolate chips and sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Dip each end of the cannoli into mixture. Dust tops of cannoli shells with powdered sugar.
  • Serve immediately. (Cannoli shells will soften once filled, so plan on filling the shells as close to serving as possible.)

Notes

Unfilled cannoli shells are often available in either the baking aisle or from the bakery department at most supermarkets.
I recommend whole milk ricotta when making cannoli filling.

Leave a cannoli for Santa this year!  These Christmas Cannoli are a fun (and easy) way to mix up the traditional Christmas cookie plate.

Looking for more fun Christmas dessert recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

These Red Velvet Donuts are a fun way to put a festive spin on the classic baked powdered sugar donuts.  Bake up a batch for Valentine's Day!Red Velvet Donuts

Decorating holiday cookies is an wonderful tradition!  Esther's Sugar Cookies are tender and soft, and the dough can be rerolled as many times as you need.  Happy baking...and decorating!Esther’s Sugar Cookies

These Christmas Pretzel Rods are a festive and easy snack or dessert for the holidays!  They're fun for little kids, and they also make great neighbor and teacher gifts!Christmas Pretzel Rods

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24 Comments

  1. Will be making this soon for the filling can i use vegan ricotta and coconut cream i never had christmas cannoli before will miss your recipes next week onwards in meantime will check and make your recipes for me perfect for my after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya

    1. Hey Ramya! I’m not really sure about the vegan options here – my concern is whether the vegan ricotta and coconut cream will thicken up in the same manner as the non-vegan options. I say it’s worth a try though! 🙂

    1. Haha – it’s incredibly easy, Mimi! Now if you’re making your own shells? Then it becomes a much bigger process. Homemade shells probably taste amazing, but this is meant to be a quick and easy treat!

  2. You might be interested to know that sometimes, Santa disguises himself in ordinary clothing. I saw in on a Lifetime holiday movie that I think was a documentary. I hope you’ll be leaving some of these canoli out for him on Christmas Eve!

    1. A documentary about Santa on Lifetime? And how he disguises himself in regular clothes? This sounds like a true crime stalker story mixed with a Tim Allen Christmas movie. I’m guessing Santa might often wear the same clothes as you, Jeff? If so, I’ll happily leave a couple of these cannoli out! Merry Christmas, buddy!

  3. 5 stars
    Haha that’s awesome that Santa got his pilot license in 1927. 😄 What an awesome picture! And speaking of awesome pictures, these Christmas cannolis look so delicious David! I love the addition of sprinkles. And that cream filling is absolute perfection! 😋

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for these fun facts about Santa – I particularly like the story of that pilot’s license (Great photo!) This actually made me to google if there’s anything interesting on Santa & Canada… And I didn’t know Santa was officially granted Canadian citizenship, along with passport, few years back. How cool is that! Well, now since Santa and I have more in common, I should make more cookies or better these delicious cannoli, right?!

    1. Interesting! Santa is a Canadian citizen? That’s a fun fact! I bet it would be interesting to pull together random Santa facts from countries all over the world. 🙂 I think you should get in touch with your inner Santa, Ben…and you should start by feeding your inner Santa some cannoli!

  5. 5 stars
    This is an easy (and delicious!) idea David. Love how you’ve used pre-made cannoli shells to save time. I mean there’s enough to do around Christmas time anyway isn’t there without extra time to make our own shells? Hope you, Laura and Robert all have a great Christmas!

    1. You can say that again, Neil! Christmas time is always so busy – I mean I enjoy the hustle and bustle, but after a while I just want to sit down with a nice cannoli and enjoy the lit Christmas tree! 🙂 Hope you and Lynne have a wonderful Christmas over there. Pour a glass of the good whiskey on the 25th!

  6. 5 stars
    What a fun and festive recipe, David! I need to get myself those cannoli molds to make this! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    1. Haha – if you’re down to make your own cannoli shells, then go for it! Either way, this is a fun Christmas recipe for sure. Thanks so much, and Happy Holidays to you and your family as well! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Another fact that I know is that the Santa that we know now was based on Saint Nicholas of Myra, a Christian bishop that existed many years ago. It was documented that Nicholas has this habit of secret gift-giving which gave birth to the Santa Claus idea.

    1. Interesting! Thanks for sharing that fun tidbit about Saint Nicholas of Myra. I love hearing about where traditions come from. Happy Holidays, Raymund!

    1. Changing up the color of the sprinkles is an easy way to adapt cannoli for different seasons – and cannoli are also a unique dessert, so they always get extra attention. 🙂 Happy New Year, Karen!!

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