About a month ago I wrote a blog that featured my surprisingly healthy cannoli recipe. The recipe was very popular and well received. I have had feedback, from many readers, that the recipe is a great alternative to the traditional cannoli recipe. Because of the popularity of the healthy cannoli recipe I wanted to give my readers another option in regards to the cannoli filling. It is something that I love to do and figured my readers would enjoy it was well.
The cannoli filling I featured in the surprisingly healthy cannoli recipe is a great filling for a cannoli. But did you know the filling also makes for a great dip that can be enjoyed as a special snack or featured in a dessert bar for entertaining? The cannoli filling is the perfect go to food for those afternoon sweet snack attacks. Just whip up a batch, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator and scoop some out into a bowl whenever that snack attack hits. It is a great source of protein which will satisfy the hunger and it is sweet so it will soothe the craving.
The cannoli filling makes for a great dip that can be featured in a dessert bar for entertaining. It can be served with vanilla wafer cookies or crisp waffle cookies (as seen in the photos). The dip can be left plain or mini chocolate chips can be added. Offer both types in your dessert bar and you have two easy dessert options. The dip is super simple and fast to make, so if you are pressed for time this a great recipe to have on hand.
For my cannoli filling dip recipe, I first needed to start with understanding the basics of a traditional cannoli filling. Traditional cannoli fillings are made with a ricotta cheese, which is a relatively healthy cheese, but the cheese is sweetened with large amounts of sugar and thickened with heavy cream. At first I figured I would just use part skim ricotta cheese and not add any cream. However, as I was thumbing through the ricotta cheeses available at the grocery store, the cottage cheese containers caught my eye. One cottage cheese in particular stood out to me. It is by far my favorite cottage cheese and it offers the same (if not better) consistency as ricotta cheese. The brand of cottage cheese I love is by Friendship All Natural. The Friendship All Natural 1% cottage cheese, has half the calories, a WHOLE less fat (1 gram compared to 10 grams) and more protein than part skim ricotta cheese.
If you follow this recipe I highly suggest using the Friendship All Natural brand cottage cheese. It is made differently than most other cottage cheeses. Their cottage cheese is the closest I have found to a ricotta cheese type consistency. Other cottage cheeses have more water (or whey) and thus they produce a less than pleasing cannoli dip. Furthermore, the Friendship All Natural brand cottage cheese is made with just milk. Other cottage cheese brands add a good amount of additives including stabilizers, gums, artificial ingredients and preservatives.
he inside of a traditional cannoli filling is sweet. The sweetness usually comes from added sugar. For my healthy cannoli dip recipe, I substituted the sugar with pure Stevia extract. If you are not fond of Stevia I have included alternate ingredients in the recipe for you to choose from. The other ingredients in a traditional cannoli filling are vanilla extract and a touch of lemon juice. Both the vanilla extract and lemon juice are great ingredients so I have kept them in my healthy cannoli recipe.
The recipe below makes about 1 cup of cannoli dip. The recipe can be doubled to fit your particular needs. The flavor of the cannoli dip can be altered with several different mix in ideas. Some traditional cannoli filling recipes use ground cinnamon. If you want to add cinnamon to your cannoli dip, I recommend using 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. You can also add mini chocolate morsels to the dip (either milk or dark chocolate).
Healthy Cannoli Dip
1 cup of 1% Friendship All Natural cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure Stevia extract (or 2 tablespoons cane sugar or coconut sugar)
1/4 teaspoon freeze squeezed lemon juice
a dash of salt
Optional ingredients (1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and/or 3 tablespoons of mini chocolate morsels)
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until needed.