Southern Mom Loves: Reconnect With a Special Date Night at Home + Black and White Cannolis Recipe

Reconnect With a Special Date Night at Home + Black and White Cannolis Recipe

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MangiaTonight #CollectiveBias

Sometimes a hectic life can throw you for a loop. We get so busy taking care of the mundane that we forget to nurture the important, and our connection with our partner is one of the most important relationships in our lives. Reconnecting can be as easy as taking the time to make a date, and it doesn't have to be complicated. You can have a special date night at home, and it can be as simple or as elaborate as you have time to plan for, and what cuisine is more romantic than Italian?

I recently went all out for a romantic meal, just my husband and I, and although it looks fancy it didn't take that long to plan or to make. I picked up flowers, wine, a crusty loaf of french bread, and a Bertolli frozen meal at Kroger (Mangia, y'all!), then went to work creating a delicious Black and White Cannolis recipe to help you wow your partner without spending a lot of time.

I love an excuse to pull out the fancy dishes, and a date night at home is a great reason to break out the wedding china. Ours has been rarely used, so using it signals a very special occasion, which is the feeling that I wanted for our Italian date night. Making your partner feel special is the #1 priority here! Add in your favorite bottle of wine if you like!

I chose a chilled white to go with the Bertolli meal I picked: Chicken Florentine and Farfalle. I am a sucker for a creamy pasta with spinach, and this meal is quick and easy, but absolutely delicious! You can Mangia ("eat") a romantic Italian dinner in 10 minutes flat!

It literally takes 10 minutes in a skillet and it's done. It is a complete meal in a bag, so you don't have to add anything unless you'd like a sprinkling of parmesan. They have so many meals to choose from, you're sure to find a new favorite every time you pick one up. 

A great accompaniment to any pasta dish is a loaf of crusty bread, and for me there is no better accompaniment to crusty bread than a dip made with olive oil, sea salt, and spices, and it too is super-simple.

Just pour Extra Virgin Olive Oil into a shallow dish and sprinkle on your flavors of choice. My favorite mix is garlic, italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, fresh-cracked pepper, and sea salt. You can mix it completely to your taste with your favorite herbs!

Those two dishes alone are perfect for a special night, or even an impromptu get-together, but if you have a little more time to plan, you can plan on making a dessert that looks complicated, but takes only about an hour to make from start to finish: Cannolis.

Cannolis are an Italian pastry filled with a sweetened Ricotta cream. You can dip the ends in chocolate and nuts or have them plain. I came up with a Black and White version using semi-sweet and white chocolates and then dipped the ends into slivered almonds. You can choose any nuts you like, and I have seen pistachios most often used, but chopped pecans, walnuts, or macadamias are all fair game. 

This version has 2 types of cream as well. I piped a white chocolate cream in one end and a semi-sweet chocolate cream in the other for the ultimate try-me. Don't worry, you don't need fancy pastry bags for this recipe.

You can follow my directions to make the shells using puff pastry or you can buy ready-made Cannoli shells which will cut the prep time down to about 10 minutes. If making the shells yourself, I also give you directions to make the baking tubes, and all you need is aluminum foil! 

Black and White Cannolis

Makes 8
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 52 minutes


  • 1 (30 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, divided
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, divided

  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Parchment paper
  • Aluminum foil

  • confectioners sugar
  • Sliced almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. To make the filling: Stir together the ricotta cheese, confectioners sugar, and lemon zest. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls.
  3. In another microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/2 oz. (2 pieces) of the semi-sweet chocolate by microwaving on high in 30-second increments until melted. Quickly stir the semi-sweet chocolate into half of the filling mixture.
  4. Melt 1/2 oz. of the white chocolate and stir into the other half of the filling mixture.

  5. Spoon each mixture into the corner of a gallon ziplock bag, twist the top and close with a rubber band. You can place the ziplock into a sturdy glass to help you while spooning in the filling. Refrigerate until needed.

  6. For the shells: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Cut 8 12-in. squares of foil. Fold each square in half and roll into a tube about 1-in. in diameter. Spray the tubes well with cooking oil spray.

  8. Unfold your puff pastry sheets and cut each into 4 even pieces, making 8 total pieces.
  9. Use the edge of a cup or glass to round off the edges of your rectangles.

  10. Place one of your pastry squares in front of you and wet the top edge with water. Using one of your foil tubes, roll the pastry up around it and gently press the top edge to seal. Place on your parchment-covered cookie sheet, spacing each one out. Continue for a total of 8 cannoli shells.

  11. Bake shells on cookie sheet about 10-12 minutes or until shells are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. If shells unroll or come open, you can rotate them while they cool to help them stay together and compress areas that puffed open. To speed the cooling process, you can also pop your cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes.
  12. Once completely cooled, remove the foil tubes from the shells. If they don’t slide out, you can compress and twist the foil to help remove them.
  13. Divide your almonds into 2 shallow dishes.
  14. In your semisweet chocolate bowl, microwave the remaining 3-1/2 oz. of semisweet chocolate in 30 second increments until melted.
  15. Dip one end of each shell into the chocolate and then into the almonds, then place onto your baking sheet. You can place individual almonds onto the chocolate to cover any empty spots. Place in the freezer.
  16. In your white chocolate bowl, microwave the remaining 3-1/2 oz. of white chocolate in 30 second increments until melted.
  17. Dip the other end of each shell into the white chocolate and then into the almonds, then place onto your baking sheet. Place in the freezer for a few minutes while preparing the filling bags.

  18. Snip the corner off of your white chocolate bag and pipe the filling into the semisweet chocolate-dipped end of the shells from the center to the end.
  19. Snip the corner off of your semisweet chocolate bag and pipe the filling into the white chocolate-dipped end of the shells from the center to the end.

  20. Dust the center of the cannoli with confectioners sugar.

These will wow your date for sure! They seem more complicated than they are, and are so customizable. You can deep-fry the shells for a crunchy addition, add pumpkin pie spice into the filling, dip the ends into dark chocolate and chopped cashews, or even dust with cinnamon sugar. Have fun with it! I hope you take the time to make them and have an amazing date night!

Find Bertolli items at some of the lowest prices of the year in a Kroger or Kroger banner store near you. Kroger banners include Fred Meyer, Smiths, Frys, Dillions, King Soopers, City Market, and QFC. Find a store near you. Don't just eat, Mangia!


How do you Mangia? What do you think of an at-home date night? Could you use a reconnect? How will you customize your Cannolis? I love to read your comments!

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