Chocolate Stout Cannoli

Chocolate Stout CannoliIt’s that time of year again – Oscars season! Once again, I’m thrilled to join Haley and a host of other food bloggers in coordinating a round up of Oscars-inspired recipes for 2016. This year, I was paired with the book-turned-film and romantic period drama, Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleeson. Brooklyn tells the story of a young Irish woman, Eilis (Ronan), who immigrates to the United States in the early 1950s and falls in love with a charming, working-class Italian-American boy, Tony (Cohen). While a number of things punctuate their evolving relationship and cause Eilis to struggle with questions of “home” – where she ultimately wants to makes it and with whom – her’s and Tony’s love sustains. And that’s how we get here, to Chocolate Stout Cannoli – a recipe that merges Irish and Italian flavors that are bound to make you swoon!Chocolate Stout Cannoli
Chocolate Stout Cannoli
The trick to cannoli – and especially these, with the addition of a kind of stout caramel – is a little bit of planning and patience. They’re not complicated, but require you to put a little thought into them. If you don’t have the time to drain your ricotta cheese overnight or reduce your stout by two-thirds, maybe wait until you have a window to allow these things. While runny cannoli filling isn’t the worst problem in the world – it is, of course, always tasty – you won’t be able to pipe and fill the shells to match the image in your head. Take the time with these; your patience will be oh-so-rewarded!

Chocolate Stout CannoliSimilarly, the stout reduction takes time and some attention, but don’t let that dissuade you! Reducing the chocolate stout and then adding honey to sweeten it causes it to form a soft, rich syrup that gets folded into your thickened ricotta filling and that is then joined by mini chocolate chips. The syrup gives the cheese a smoother, velvety texture and imparts a slightly hoppy, never bitter, flavor that plays really, really well with the semi-sweet chocolate. Chocolate stout cannoli are tremendously delicious and, I think, pretty unique! Consider serving them at your Oscars party as a sweet addition to the buffet – I promise that they’ll be a hit!

Chocolate Stout CannoliOn that note, I hope you’ll check out what the rest of the Oscar Blog Party contributors have made for the 2016 Academy Awards. I can’t get enough of the creativity in this group of bloggers and I think you’ll find so much inspiration in what they’ve imagined. Check out our posts from last year here and our newest set for the 2016 Oscars below the recipe!

Chocolate Stout Cannoli
Makes 8 large cannoli

Ingredients
2 cups of whole milk ricotta cheese, drained overnight
1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar, plus some more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1-1/4 teaspoon of orange zest
3/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup of chocolate stout
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions
Set up a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the ricotta cheese into the strainer. Set in the refrigerator overnight to drain.

On the day you want to serve the cannoli, add the chocolate stout to a small pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a low simmer and allow to cook until the stout reduces by two-thirds, stirring occasionally. When the stout as reduced, add the honey and stir until dissolved. Once again, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is bubbling thickly – keep an eye on it during this process. When the syrup has formed, immediately remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, spoon in your drained ricotta and incorporate the half cup of confectioner’s sugar. Add the cinnamon and orange zest. While it is still warm, add two tablespoons of the stout syrup and stir. Taste and add more if you’d like the addition of more of the stout flavor. You can really adjust this to your liking. Last, stir in a half cup of mini chocolate chips and then place the ricotta mixture into the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

When ready to serve, remove the filling from the refrigerator and either spoon into a piping bag and fill with a flourish or load up the shells by hand with a long-handled spoon. You can dip the ends of your cannoli into the remaining mini chocolate chips should you wish. Serve immediately.

Oscar Blog Party 2016 Contributors

2016 Oscars Inspired Recipes

The Big Short: Jenga Veggie Towers with Creamy Cilantro Dip from Flour Arrangements

Bridge of Spies: Bitesize “TV Dinner” Meatloaf Appetizers from Pickles Travel

Mad Max: Fury Road: Ruby Red Grapefruitcello from Making It With Stephany

The Martian: Homemade Cheddar and Chive Tater Tots from The Honour System

The Revenant: Crock Pot Ribs from Dining With Alice

Room: Victoria Sandwich Cake from Savoury Table

Spotlight: Cheesy Boston Clam Dip from Cheap Recipe Blog

Guinness Fudgesicles

Guinness Fudgesicles[Note: I made these fudgesicles and wrote this post last week when we received another 6 or so inches of snow. I’m pleased to report that, mere days later, I’m publishing it with the promise of it reaching 70°F today! Welcome back, Spring! Please be here to stay. My sun dresses have missed you!]

I can’t believe I have to write a post about ice cream while the snow is falling outside with abandon and several inches are already under foot with more to come. Scratch that. I can believe it because I just remembered recently that on the first week of May last year, I wrote and told you all about the coconut ice cream with graham cracker swirl I was making amidst a blizzard. Oh, Minnesota, never change!

Guinness Fudgesicles are the perfect treat for those among us who love a rich, chocolatey dessert, but one that is punched up a bit by the bitter creaminess of a good stout beer. They are everything you remember about fudgesicles as a kid, but upgraded a bit because we’re all adults here and deserve a little something sophisticated with our desserts from time-to-time.

Guinness FudgesiclesIt might seem, upon first glance, that there’s not a lot to these, but in a way, that’s what makes them perfect. They’re not loaded up with a lot of superfluous ingredients, nor do they require a lot of technique. There’s just a bit of melting, some whisking, a pour or eight and they’re off to set up in the frozen recesses of your freezer. For full disclosure, if you have to go and buy a bag of chocolate chips to make these, or a bottle of Guinness, you’re going to have some leftovers.

Sorry about that not-a-problem. I have faith that you can handle it.

Guinness Fudgesicles
Yields 8 2.5oz pops

Ingredients
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup + 1Tablespoon of Guinness, divided
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 cup of half and half
1/2 cup of 2% or whole milk
1 Tablespoon of butter

Directions
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot melt the chocolate chips over low heat. While waiting for them to melt, prepare the other ingredients, checking on the chocolate every minute or so to avoid burning. When the chips have melted, add the half and half, milk, salt, cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup of Guinness. Stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium and cook for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to thicken. You may want to switch out your spoon for a whisk in order to make sure your mixture is free of any lumps. When it has thickened slightly, remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir in and allow to melt fully, incorporating it completely. At this point, taste the chocolate and see if the taste of the Guinness suits you. I wanted a little extra oomph, so I added 1 Tablespoon after cooking and the Guinness flavor really blossomed.

Pour mixture into 8 popsicle molds and freeze for 30 minutes. Then, insert the popsicle sticks and allow to continue freezing until they are solid. Before serving, you may need to dip your molds in warm water to loosen them. If they seem a little too soft after this process, lay them gently on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and return to freezer for 15-20 minutes before serving.