For the shells, I chose a recipe from The Arthur Avenue Cookbook suggested by Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy . The only concern that I had was the instructions indicated that the cannoli shells be fried at 325 degrees and that seemed too low of a temperature. I started at 325 and added heat and found that I had the best results when the oil temperature was closer to 400 degrees. In order to cut the suggested oval shape out of the dough I decided to try a template that I created on my computer.
This worked well, but about 1/3 of the way through the very time consuming process, I was getting a bit frustrated. I took out my largest biscuit cutter and forced it into an oval.
Since it wasn't big enough, I simply rolled the dough a little thicker, cut out the ovals, and then rolled them thinner and larger. Now I was moving along at a better clip!
I don't have a deep fryer so I just used a regular old pot from my collection and had to fry them one at a time so the temperature would remain high and I had room to move them around a bit in the pot. The end result looked pretty good but I couldn't tell if they were overcooked or undercooked or greasy or just plain nasty. I'm fairly certain that I have never eaten a cannoli so I had no idea what I was aiming for!
For the filling, I decided to try the recipe suggested by Becke from Columbus Foodie. I added just a tad more sugar to sweetened things up a bit and thought the filling tasted fantastic! The texture was grainier than I expected but I loved the flavor! I gave the finished cannoli's a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips and I sent them on their way.
The recipient (MA) and her friends and family were very impressed with the results so I guess I did ok! MA is old school Italian and mentioned that she had an authentic recipe that she dearly loved and perhaps I would like to try that one next time? Bring it MA! Bring it.
Thanks again to Susan and Becke and everyone else who offered up advice and suggestions!