The Casserole Queens were recently in the Kansas City area to present at the 2013 Hen House Market Holiday Celebration! We are big fans of the Hen House Market and all the terrific folks of Kansas. Everyone is always so welcoming and they truly makes us feel like royalty.
In preparation for the event, our dear friend Jasper Mirabile, the owner and proprietor of Jasper’s in Kansas City AND one of the nicest guys you’ll meet, had us on his weekly podcast. It was just on the heels of National Cannoli Month and Jasper was still on a cannoli high! During the entire month of September, Jasper was on a mission to spread his love of the cannoli by hosting events at his restaurant, going on local TV and radio shows, as well as holding a cannoli recipe contest for his guests. The grand prize you ask? Well, cannoli’s for a year of course! Oh, and did we mention that Jasper’s also displays the world’s most expensive cannoli, designed by cake designer Cary Iennaccaro? It’s true, and the value is over $26,000. It features an antique diamond necklace from Tom Tivol Jewelers. Now that is one dazzling cannoli!
So naturally, it comes to no surprise that while we were on the show, Jasper challenged us to create a Cannoli Casserole! We were nervous about creating a cannoli casserole for a man who loves the cannoli so, but we accepted the challenge and think he will be proud of the end result.
We walked into the challenge knowing that we needed to capture all the flavors of the classic cannoli, but still work within our beloved 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. We made certain to have all the traditional ingredients present and accounted for, but also switch it up a bit (as we like to do) to make this version our own. You’ll see that we replaced the crunchy cannoli outer shell with a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie base, infused with traditional cannoli flavors of orange, chocolate, and ricotta cheese. Then, we perfected our casserole-friendly cannoli by adding a sweetened ricotta cheese mixture on top, with toasted almonds and Maraschino cherries – super tasty and easy to whip up!
CQ Cannoli Bars
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 recipe Cannoli Cream (see recipe below)
- 5 maraschino cherries (more if you love’em)
- ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and ricotta on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, orange zest, and vanilla; beat until blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, add the egg and beat until blended. On low speed, add the flour until mixture comes together. Pour in the chocolate chips and continue mixing until just incorporated.
- Pour cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula
- Bake cookie bars for 45 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan
- Allow bars to cool completely
- Frost the top of the cookie bars with the cannoli cream (recipe follows)
- Top with cherries and toasted almonds
CQ Cannoli Cream
- 3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 ounces chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest – until smooth.
- Stir in chocolate chips until incorporated evenly into cream
JASPER J. MIRABILE JR.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s commands the helm of his family’s 59-year-old restaurant, consistently rated one of Kansas City’s best Italian restaurants. In addition to running the restaurant with his brother, Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He hosts many famous chefs on his weekly radio show Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM, authored two cookbooks and sells a line of dressings and sauces.