Well, with Christmas right around the corner and Mother Nature finally deciding to roll in the big winter cold guns, The BF and I decided that it was finally time for some last minute panicked Christmas shopping. Because what isn’t more fun than strolling overcrowded holiday markets and battling hordes of tourists in SoHo on a Saturday afternoon? Nothing, that’s what.
So we bundled ourselves up and trundled off to SoHo to my favorite card shop (which was woefully lacking in Christmas cards this year and they didn’t have my favorite gnome thank you cards either, bah humbug) and stopped by the new(ish) Harney & Sons teashop. If you live in New York or come to visit and you like tea, I highly recommend you stop by this place.
The selection is astonishing (as are some of the prices, 12 oz of tea for $40! It must be made from the tears of a butterfly) and you can taste any of them before you buy. They also have a nice little café section where you can get a small selection of snacks and pots of any of their teas. I tried the chocolate tea and was instantly set on buying a tin. I am now the proud owner of chocolate tea and my, is it heavenly.
I convinced The BF he needed to go to the Union Square holiday market because it was right near Paragon sports where I would be getting some awesome new ski boots later (yay for Christmas presents!). He was surprisingly calm on the subway ride up, playing Peggle on his phone. We got off the subway, stumbled up the stairs with the masses and he immediately reverted to instinct mode: fight or flight. Sad to say, his instinct is for flight and I was left desperately trying to keep up with him as he barreled past all the stands.
How he managed to pick anything out is still a mystery to me since all I saw was a whir of multicolored winter coats, hats and scarves on wandering tourists and the occasional glint of some sparkly object I was not allowed to oogle. But we ended up picking out an adorable t-shirt for our friend’s three year old (you may remember Sebastian from the how to turn three the awesome way Mickey Mouse cupcake party) and a Captain America tin lunchbox for his secret Santa.
After a full thirty minutes of stumbling through the crowds and some choice words muttered under his breath The BF had had just about enough of this whole “Christmas Shopping” fiasco and dragged me out of the market; despite having a wallet still full of money dying to be spent on knick-knacks I didn’t need but so desperately wanted. It’s okay, he told me he finished all my gift shopping earlier and I can only assume he didn’t want me to buy the same pretty things he already bought me.
Now on to these cannolis, which are not surprisingly Christmas themed. I saw these on Cookies and Cups and knew I had to make them. Have you ever read her blog? Oh my goodness the pictures alone will give you cavities and a sugar rush and then immediately hypnotize you so that all you want to do is run to the store, buy all the necessary ingredients and then bake everything she makes. I made these for that cookie snarfing extravaganza last weekend and two of the girls who also follow me on Pinterest immediately recognized them.
So if you’re attending a holiday party and need to bring a dessert, or if you’re hosting a holiday party or if you just feel like gorging because it’s the holidays, make these. They take roughly 6 nanoseconds to put together and even less time to inhale. Yeah, I still have a tub of the filling “left over” that I’ve been eating for dessert with the crushed cones I couldn’t use.
*Just a note: While assembly takes no time at all, you do have to start prepping these a day before you want to make them because you strain the ricotta so it isn’t runny when you mix in the confectioners sugar. So just be aware.
Christmas Cone Cannoli
Adapted slightly from Cookies and Cups
24oz ricotta cheese (I used whole milk, but part skim is fine too)
1 ½ – 2 cups confectioners sugar
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips
12 sugar cones (the pointy ones)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups green and red (or blue and white for Hannukah) M&Ms lightly crushed
Line a colander with cheesecloth and dump the ricotta in it. Fold hanging cheesecloth over and press down to extract some of the moisture from the cheese. Place over a bowl and set in the refrigerator overnight.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. In a microwave safe bowl melt the milk chocolate chips in 30 second increments until smooth and of dipping consistency. Place the crushed M&Ms in a wide rimmed bowl. Dip the outer edges of the cones in the chocolate, smooth lightly with a finger so that it isn’t too thick, then dip in the M&Ms to stick. Place the cones upside-down (chocolate side down so they stand up like hats) on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining cones.
Remove the ricotta from the fridge, place the cookie sheet in the fridge for thirty minutes or until the chocolate hardens. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, dump the ricotta in (discard the liquid that drained off, there won’t be too much, I had maybe half a cup) and whip until fluffy, about two minutes. Slowly add the confectioners sugar until fully incorporated by ½ cupfuls. If you like your filling a little sweeter (like me) use 2 cups, if you prefer it less sweet only use 1 ½ cups. Add the mini chips and mix until thorough incorporated.
Either use a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, or a large heavy duty zip lock with a hole cut in the corner and fill with the cheese and chip mixture. Remove the cones from the fridge and pipe in the filling. Dust the finished cones with confections sugar if you wish.
These are best served within a few hours of making them. They will keep at room temperature for a party and they can be kept in the fridge overnight, but the cones get soggy very fast. I would assemble the treats just before serving. You can, however, pre-dip and garnish the cones; those will keep for several days at room temperature.