February 5th marks World Nutella Day….a highly anticipated event in our family.  The event began in 2007 when two fans ( Ms Adventures in ItalyBleeding Espresso) designated a day to honour the hazelnut spread.

It’s rare that I have a jar of the stuff in the house so when February 5th rolls around it provides a very legitimate excuse to pick one up.  Its research and as part of my job I have to eat the Nutella.

We’ve made crepes, cakes, cookie sandwiches, cheesecake, French toast, Nutella filled wontons.  One of our most popular posts on the site is a recipe for a Nutella brownie from 2008.  No joke. Each month, regardless of what else we’ve posted on the site, it is always one of the top viewed posts.  Just goes to show you the power of Nutella.

This year, to mark the occasion, Adriano and I decided to each come up with a recipe.  It’s very difficult to come up with something original.  Look up “Nutella recipes” and you’ll see what I mean. It’s all been done.  So we decided to take a favourite treat and add a chocolate hazelnut twist to it.

Our family loves cannolis.  On special occasions my mom purchases a dozen from the local baker.  Half filled with the traditional ricotta cream and half with tangy lemon curd especially for six year old Evan.  Since he was just a wee lad, he’s loved all things lemon.  I mean, the kid literally sucks on lemons.  It’s weird.

Growing up my mom used to make her own homemade shells but as we can all relate, sometimes, there isn’t enough time in a day.  On a trip to Sicily, she tried packing a carton of premade shells to bring home.  Of course, being as fragile as they are, the shells came back as crumbs. Don’t worry they didn’t go to waste. We used the crumbs as toppings for ice creams and cakes.

Sicilian cannolis are the quintessential Italian treat and this recipe is a union of two of my favourite indulgences.

A ricotta based Nutella filling in cannoli shells.

This is an quick and easy dessert.  Whipping up the filling takes no time at all and there’s no need to make your own cannoli shells.  The shells can be found at La Stellas on Erie Street.  I’ve also used baked phyllo cups and piped in the filling, adding a sprinkle of chopped, toasted hazelnuts on top.

For the filling:

  • 3 cups of ricotta, drained
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 -1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped into small pieces (optional)

Line a colander with cheesecloth and place the ricotta inside.  Place the colander over the sink and allow the ricotta to drain overnight. Beat the ricotta on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth.

Add nutella, ½ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla.  Beat until fluffy and very smooth.  Taste the mixture, if you would like it sweeter add the remaining confectioners’ sugar. If you feel like it needs more Nutella, then just add more Nutella. Beat until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

The filling can be made 1 day in advance.  Just place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When you are ready to serve fill a piping bag with the mixture, pipe it in shells then dip the ends in the ground hazelnuts.