A Taste of NYC

I can't believe it's already been a week and a half since our wedding! It was a wonderful, special day we will always cherish!

We are now back at work and it seems odd not having something to be planning. As we are getting settled in the house, though, I am excited about having some more time for baking again. I am really enjoying having more counter space in our kitchen than in my apartment.

For our honeymoon, we went to my favorite city, New York City. This was my fourth time to NYC, but my husband's first. We did quite a few tours that I hadn't done before. It was also exciting to see Tyler experience the major tourist places I had already been to. We went to see the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July, a great way to celebrate!

I had done well dieting before the wedding, but I definitely slacked off on the trip. We went on a wonderful Food on Foot tour where we had some of the best pizza I've ever had. Being huge Food Network fans, we had to try Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Candace Nelson's Sprinkles cupcakes. Neither one disappointed! They were both as good as I was hoping and expected! We also tried Justin Timberlake's restaurant, Southern Hospitality. Our tour guide recommended it. Tyler was excited about the restaurant, but I'm pretty sure it had more to do with the Memphis style ribs and sweet tea rather than Justin Timberlake. :)

One of the things I was most excited about eating, though, was a cannoli. I had my first cannoli on my first trip to NYC and loved it! Every time I've gone, I've tried cannolis at different places and have never been disappointed. There aren't many cannolis around our home, so I was pretty excited to get one. It took us until our last few hours in NYC before we found one though! We had struck out all week, but my husband was determined to find one before leaving for the airport. We finally found that there was a Cake Boss cafe in Times Square near our hotel. We hurried to get there when it opened, but no cannolis. Tyler asked the guy at the counter though, and they made some for us. They were definitely worth the wait! :)

Yesterday we were craving one of those cannolis, so I decided to try to bring this flavor to some cupcakes. I was surprised at how many cannoli cupcake recipes I found online! I searched around not sure which one to use. Finally I decided to combine a couple different recipes. I'm using the cake and frosting from one site, and the cannoli filling from another. The cannoli filling recipe for the cupcakes was pretty different than most traditional cannoli recipes. So I decided to go with a more traditional cannoli filling. I ended up with a lot more filling than I needed, but I'm not complaining! It tastes pretty good on graham crackers. :) You could definitely half this though.

First, I started with the cannoli cream filling. One thing I overlooked was to buy some cheesecloth to drain the Ricotta cheese. Thankfully the tub we got wasn't too runny. But as it sat, it definitely separated. I would drain it with cheesecloth, even if it doesn't seem real runny.

Cannoli filling ingredients:
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, optional

Cannoli filling directions:

1. Drain ricotta cheese over cheesecloth.
2. Mix ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
3. For a lighter filling, whip 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to form stiff peaks, and fold into filling mixture.
4. Chill until cupcakes are cooled. I found that chilling it longer than the recommended 30 minutes helped with the taste.

Next I worked on the cupcake batter.

Cupcake ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Cupcake directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl than what you will be using.
3. Using a mixer, cream the sugar and butter (room temperature) on medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Slowly add the eggs one at a time to the sugar/butter mixture. Mix well after each egg.
5. Add the vanilla.
6. On low speed, gradually alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mix until smooth.
7. When the mixture is smooth, divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. I highly reccomended foil wrappers such as Reynolds Foil Baking cups.
8. Bake until lightly browned and fully cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

While the cupcakes were baking, I began working on the topping.

Whipped Cream topping ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup mini semisweet morsels, for garnishing

Whipped Cream directions:

To make the frosting, put the cream and the sugar into bowl and beat on high speed until the cream is whipped.
Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Once the cupcakes are out and have completely cooled, cut a hole in the center. I used a Wilton icing spatula to create a cone shaped hole in the cupcake. Just make sure you don't go too far in, you want cake below the cannoli cream. To make it clean and easy, I filled a piping bag with the cream and used a large tip. Here's a picture of the filled cupcakes.

Finally, put the whipped topping into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes. I sprinkled additional chocolate chips on top as a garnish.

Here's the final product.

Hope you enjoy a taste of cannoli!

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