You might think that the decadent pairing of chocolate and peanut butter is reserved solely for Reese's cups or brownies. I've taken this iconic duo to a whole new level with Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli. I love the classic Italian cannoli for its crunchy shell and creamy filling. Why not give it an indulgent twist that screams comfort and sophistication at the same time? You'll find that each bite offers a sublime experience, with a crispy cocoa-infused shell giving way to a luscious peanut butter and chocolate center, and the final crunch of crushed peanuts sealing the deal.
In this recipe, I'll guide you through the whole process—right from making the cocoa shells from scratch to preparing the filling that perfectly balances the flavors of peanut butter, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. It may seem like a bit of work. I assure you, every moment spent in the kitchen will be worth it when you take that first bite. Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or simply want to treat yourself. These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli are the ultimate dessert that you didn't know you needed.
Steps for Making Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli
- Making the Dough: First, I mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder in a large bowl. I make sure everything's well combined before adding the melted butter and Marsala wine to form the dough.
- Kneading and Resting: I transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until it’s smooth. Then I wrap it in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. This is crucial for a flaky shell!
- Preparing the Filling: While the dough's resting, I take another bowl and mix the creamy peanut butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, melted chocolate, and vanilla extract. After combining it well, I pop it in the fridge to chill.
- Rolling and Cutting the Dough: After the dough has rested, I roll it out thinly on a floured surface. Using a round cookie cutter, I cut out circles about 4-5 inches in diameter for my cannoli shells.
- Wrapping the Molds: I carefully wrap each dough circle around a cannoli mold, making sure to seal the edges with a dab of beaten egg white. This prevents the dough from unraveling during frying.
- Frying the Shells: I heat up vegetable oil in a saucepan to about 350–375°F. Using tongs, I carefully place a couple of the dough-wrapped molds into the hot oil and fry them until they're golden brown, which takes about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Draining and Cooling: Once the shells are fried to perfection, I place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to get rid of any excess oil. I make sure they're fully cooled before I proceed to fill them.
- Filling the Cannoli: I fill a piping bag with the chilled peanut butter and chocolate filling and pipe it into each end of the cannoli shells. I fill them until the creamy mixture oozes slightly from both ends.
Substitution Ideas for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli
For Marsala Wine: If you don't have Marsala wine on hand, you can substitute it with white wine, dark rum, or even grape juice for a non-alcoholic version. Keep in mind that each substitute will bring its own flavor profile to the cannoli shells.
Granulated Sugar: Coconut sugar or monk fruit sugar can be used as healthier alternatives to granulated sugar in the dough. Just be aware that this may slightly alter the color and taste of the shells.
Cocoa Powder: If you're not a fan of chocolate, you can omit the cocoa powder and increase the amount of your chosen flour by an equivalent amount to make plain cannoli shells.
Heavy Cream: A non-dairy alternative like coconut cream or almond milk can be used in the filling, but this will alter the taste slightly.
Peanut Butter: If you have a nut allergy, you can substitute with sunflower seed butter or any other seed butter of your choice.
Tips and Tricks for Perfect Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli
Dough Consistency: Achieving the ideal dough consistency is more art than science. The dough should be pliable but not sticky to the touch. It needs to roll out smoothly without tearing. If it's too sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time. If too dry, add more Marsala wine in tiny increments until the texture is just right.
Chilling is Crucial: The importance of chilling both the dough and the filling cannot be overstated. Chilling the dough helps the fats solidify, ensuring a flaky, crispy shell. The filling benefits from chilling, as it becomes more pipeable and the flavors meld together. Allow at least 30 minutes for each to chill in the refrigerator.
Frying Temperature: The optimal temperature for frying cannoli shells is around 350–375°F (175–190°C). Too high of a temperature can cause the shells to brown too quickly, leaving them undercooked inside, while too low of a temperature will result in oily, soggy shells. Use a cooking thermometer for accuracy, and keep adjusting the heat as you fry to maintain the temperature.
Seal the Edges: A common mistake is not sealing the edges of the dough well enough, resulting in the shell unraveling during frying. Use a dab of egg white as 'glue' on the overlapping dough edge, pressing firmly to secure it. You can even double-seal it by pinching the edges with the tines of a fork.
Piping the Filling: For the filling, consistency is key. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to achieve a creamy, lump-free mixture. Make sure to fill the piping bag only half or two-thirds full for better control. If you find that the filling is too stiff, a teaspoon or two of heavy cream can loosen it up; if too runny, additional powdered sugar will firm it up.
Storing and Freezing Guide for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannolis
Hey food lovers! It's always a treat to whip up a fabulous recipe, and the joy doubles when you know the right way to store and freeze your creations! Making sure you can enjoy that scrumptious goodness later is just as essential as the cooking process itself.
Storing Your Gourmet Delights:
- Container is Key: Secure your unfilled treats like cannoli shells in an airtight container. Remember, air is the enemy of freshness!
- Parchment Paper Magic: Line each layer with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together.
- Room Temperature Rules: Store them at room temperature, and they'll stay perfect for up to a week.
- Chill Out: For filled delights, pop them into the fridge in an airtight container.
- Quick Enjoyment: Enjoy within 24 hours to relish their ultimate flavor and texture.
Freezing for Future Feasting:
- Wrap it Up: Individually wrap each item in plastic wrap and place them in a zip-top bag or airtight container.
- Freeze and Please: Freeze for up to 2 months and enjoy the same fresh, homemade taste later.
- Thaw and Enjoy: Just thaw at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before filling or enjoying.
- Airtight Adventure: Freeze the filling in an airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag for up to a month.
- Thaw and Stir: Thaw it in the refrigerator and give it a good stir before use.
- Separate is Better: It’s better to freeze components separately and assemble them later for the freshest taste and texture.
Extra Tasty Tips:
- Refresh the Crunch: Reheat shells in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes to bring back the crunch. Cool completely before filling.
- Revive the Filling: Whip the thawed filling with a mixer to bring back the perfect consistency.
- Assemble Close to Serving: Assemble your treats close to serving time for the perfect balance of textures and flavors.
- Garnish Galore: Before serving, dust with powdered sugar, or garnish with exciting toppings for an extra wow factor!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli
- Piping bag
- Cannoli molds or metal tubes
- Pastry brush
- Spoon or spatula
- Kitchen towel
For the cannoli shells:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup sweet Marsala wine
- 1 egg white lightly beaten
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the filling:
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup crushed peanuts for garnish
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Stir until well combined.
- Add the melted butter and Marsala wine to the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, melted chocolate, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined and creamy. Place the filling in the refrigerator to chill.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out thinly on a floured surface. Use a round cookie cutter or a glass to cut out circles that are approximately 4-5 inches in diameter.
- Wrap each dough circle around a cannoli mold or metal tube, sealing the edges with a small amount of the beaten egg white.
- Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Carefully place the cannoli shells, one or two at a time, into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Using tongs, carefully remove the shells from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain excess oil. Allow them to cool completely.
- Once the shells have cooled, gently slide them off the molds or tubes. Fill a piping bag with the chilled peanut butter and chocolate filling and pipe it into each end of the cannoli shells. Fill them until the filling comes out of both ends.
- Dip the ends of the filled cannoli in crushed peanuts for garnish. Place the filled cannoli on a serving platter.
- Repeat the filling process with the remaining shells until all are filled.
- Serve the chocolate peanut butter cannoli immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cannoli - FAQ
Yes, you can substitute Marsala wine with white wine or even rum, but the flavor will be different. Marsala gives the cannoli shell its unique taste.
You can get creative! Some people use the handle of a wooden spoon wrapped in aluminum foil or even small, clean metal pipes as a makeshift mold.
While traditional cannoli shells are fried, you can bake them at 400°F (200°C) for about 10-12 minutes. However, the texture will be slightly different—less flaky and more like a cookie.
Yes, you can use crunchy peanut butter if you prefer a bit more texture in your filling. Just keep in mind that it may be a little harder to pipe into the cannoli shells.
If making in advance, store the shells and filling separately, then assemble close to serving time to keep the shells crispy.
The key is to make sure the shells are completely cool before filling, and to serve them soon after assembling. Storing the filling and shells separately until you're ready to serve also helps.