Skinny Cannoli Cones


A couple of days ago, I received some terrible news: my doctor had informed me that I had gained four pounds.

Okay, so gaining four pounds is hardly life-changing, terrible, or considered a tragedy by most people’s definitions, and I mean, I did just get back from NYC where I did eat my weight in food, so I guess it’s somewhat justified? Anyways, he didn’t make me feel any better when he informed me I had gained ten pounds over the last year. I mean, I kinda wanted to go choke and die on a maple bar when I heard the news. Awful, right?

So when my mom told me she had joined this local high-tech gym and she could bring a buddy along, I jumped at the chance to sweat out the sugar. But there were two problems with this gym excursion. One, I was terribly out of shape and three minutes running at a moderate pace on the treadmill nearly did me in (but my dignity died first), and Two, I am new to this whole gym thingie.

This particular gym is HUGE and has sanitizing stations with towels and Purell dispensers at like, every other machine. And as I huffed and puffed my way on the treadmill, I’d notice most of the people would wipe off their machines when they finished so their sweat wasn’t all over another person’s ish. However, some people didn’t wipe off the machines and I didn’t think much of it because they weren’t disgustingly sweaty or they weren’t on the machines very long to warrant a huge deep-cleaning.

But when I machine-hopped, I instantly felt people judging me. I’d do MAYBE fifteen leg lifts and then get off the machine. I’d examine the equipment: my short stint doing half-assed leg lifts left nary a mark, stain, or appearance that anyone had even thought about working out, much less actually used the machine. But when I’d look up at people ellipticalling the night away, I’d see them boring their judge-y gym-people eyes into me with a look of disgust. Is she really not going to sanitize that machine? Helloooo, she sat on it for like, six seconds. That’s so gross!!

So ultimately I got really self-conscious of these gym people and began sanitizing the living heck out of everything in my path. I’d stand on a machine for one second, realize I didn’t want to use it, and race over to the sanitize station to thoroughly saturate a paper towel with solution and douse the machine in antibacterial-ness so people wouldn’t think I was gross. I repeated this over and over and over because I’m fickle and hate working out, thus this combination results in me working at an average machine for aboooout 1 minute.

But then, I started noticing that people were looking at me weird for sanitizing OMG, she is TOTALLY wasting paper towels and sanitizer! She wasn’t even on the machine that long; does she really think she’s even sweating enough to warrant a run to the sanitizing station every 32 seconds? This girl is obviously an OCD freak.

So I stood there, uncertainty flooding me as I toed the border of sanitation guidelines in modern-day gyms. And then I went home and ate frozen yogurt with sprinkles on it for a reward. Those legs weren’t going to kick themselves without incentive, psh.

Baaack to NYC for a sec: while I was there, I had to promise my dad I’d eat an authentic cannoli. I mean, I was basically told I’d be homeless if I didn’t try one. I really enjoyed the cannolis from Martha’s Bakery in Astoria. The ricotta filling was sweet but not cloyingly so, and the pastry was crispy, flaky and absolutely perfect. Plus, I loved that it wasn’t TOO overwhelming with the chocolate chips since I am weird and don’t like too many chocolate chips in my desserts.

DSC_0441And since I couldn’t very well transport a suitcase full of cannolis home for my family, I decided to make them at home. But the easy way. And skinnified, because my doctor intimidates me. The result was every bit as authentically delicious as a traditional cannoli, just with lower fat and less calories, and done WAY simpler.

If only the gym could be simplified.

DSC_0450Skinny Cannoli Cones *adapted slightly from Hungry Girl’s recipe 

Skinny Cannoli Cones
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Enjoy the taste of cannolis guilt-free with these skinny cones!
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp fat-free ricotta cheese
  • ⅔ cup Cool Whip Free, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free/fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp miniature chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 sugar cones (like by Keebler or Joy brand)
  1. In a medium bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, Cool Whip, pudding mix, sugar and vanilla extract with a handheld electric mixer until combined and fluffy. Stir in THREE (3) Tablespoons of the miniature chips by hand to incorporate.
  2. Using a quart-sized Ziploc baggy or a pastry bag, gently spoon the filling into the bag, sealing out the air. Snip off a corner tip of the bag and gently pipe the filling evenly among the cones. To make this easier, I used small cups to hold two cones each while I work, keeping the cones upright.
  3. Sprinkle the tops of the cones with the remaining miniature chips, and serve! Store leftovers in the fridge for a day or so. If you'd like, you could even dust the tops with powdered sugar, or drizzle the cones with sugar free chocolate syrup!


DSC_0445Um, holy cannoli! I really hope you enjoy these as much as my family did because they’re SO good. Usually, the idea of making the cannoli pastry seems daunting. The fact that you use a sugar cone as the cannoli “cone” makes things so much easier, yet tastes similar enough to the pastry that you won’t miss it. And the filling is sweet and slightly tangy, whipped to a light and dreamy perfection and mixed with the right amount of chocolate chips to keep things interesting without neither the ricotta or the chocolate from being too overpowering. I also LOVE that this recipe is so versatile: you could totally make different flavored cannoli creams by switching out the pudding mix and extracts. Imagine using banana cream, butterscotch, pistachio.. the list goes on!

And be sure to stay tuned for another yummy & skinny cannoli recipe coming soon!!

Have a wonderful day!

xo, Hayley

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  1. Gyms are totally overwhelming and intimidating. I feel you on that one!

    These looks awesome! And using a sugar cone for the pastry? Total genius!!

  2. This is such a super idea!!! My kid is always asking me to make cannoli and it just seems like a big laborious mess so I make up excuses. But he will totally love these!
    I know exactly all the judginess you are talking about. I always feel like I missed some required class for all people etiquette and am sure I am doing everything wrong. WRONG. Like over the weekend I was shoe shopping with my sisters and I looked for those little stocking footies EVERYWHERE and the saleslady just kept bringing out more shoes and I asked my sister (shoe shop pro) and she just kinda shrugged at me and I never got a straight answer and in my head I was totally freaking out about it and… and… yeah. See? You’re not flying solo on this one girl.

    • Right?! I see people trying on shoes sans-foot thingies all the time and never think twice. But whenever I try a pair on without them, I feel like people are staring at me like EW YOU FREAK. WHERE ARE YOUR MANNERS?! Ugh. We are scarred for life.

  3. I’m looking for a recipe for Cannoli creme the one you have to use cream, milk ,cornstarch, vanilla, and cinnamon sticks. I have the one for the shells. but in all the moving I lost the good one you cook on the stove in a double boiler. can any one help. I well be trying these for the kids.

  4. I rely on skinny sweets so I can avoid the judging eyes at the gym as much as possible! These look delicious. Such a great idea to use sugar cones!!

  5. Gyms scare the bejeezus out of me. And girl…I don’t even wanna know how much weight I’ve gained *sigh*

    But oh these skinny cannoli cones! They look awesome! I totally need to try these (and I am so happy you loved Martha’s cannoli too)!

  6. Sounds like you had a great time in the Big Apple! Love a dessert that is lower in cal and fat! And Hey you won’t find me at any Gym! : )

  7. Oh Hayley dear, you make me laugh at myself. When I was your age, I too thought that my metabolism would handle everything:) 20 years and 25 pounds later, I’m not so sure that worked out for me! But, I love me some good food:) exercise is over-rated. It’s for people who have ADHD, like my husband. It gives him the ability to remain in control of bouncing off the walls at any moment. For me, I just want to go home, eat a cannoli, and take a nap. I’m with ya on the no thank you to exercise club!

    Love your blog. My blogging friends love your blog too:)

  8. These cannoli cones are soo cute. What a great idea. Frying actual cannoli terrifies me

  9. Lol and this is why I never want to join a gym

  10. I loath gyms. All those sweaty people panting away, breathing in each others germs makes me sick to my stomach. I’m in the same boat as you though. My pants are suspiciously tighter so I have been running every morning. And nearly killing myself in the process. I am gonna drown my sorrows in these skinny cannoli.

  11. These look delicious Hayley! I’ve always wanted to make cannoli but am reluctant to because of the pastry too but this I think I can handle! Perfect 🙂

  12. haha…love the gym story! And these cannolis – a must try (I’ve never had one before…but shh!)!

  13. Oh how brilliant with the ice cream cone! I need to make these! Like NOW!

  14. Gyms are gross! Sanitizer and paper towels are NECESSARY! Great little cannoli’s! My problem is I’d go work out then eat a dozen of these!

  15. Okay this recipe is great. And you can never sanitize too much! I just joined that gym. I wonder if I can bring guests? We could go together!

  16. This recipe is perfect for me. I haven’t made a cannoli cone like this.

  17. I go to the gym but it freaks me out. I am terrified from anyone’s sweat touching me it GROSSES me out! EW! But damn these cannolis I am not scared of!! TOO GOOD!!

  18. I don’t think there is any such thing an over-sanitizing at the gym. I can’t say for sure, though, since you’ll never, ever, ever find me at a gym. You will, however, find me eating a ton of these skinny cannoli cones.

  19. Back for Seconds says:

    You are better than me! I don’t even go to the gym…
    I heart cannoli’s and I super heart skinny cannoli’s Yum!!

  20. I pretend I don’t go to the gym cuz I’m grossed out by those machines (which I am) but really it’s cuz I just loathe the gym. Kudos to you for even giving it a try Hayley. 🙂 I’ll just stick to lifting bags of flour and sugar, and eating just ONE of these adorable cannolis! OR maybe three. Let’s not kid ourselves here they look ahmazing.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  21. omg this is so awesome! it’s such a nice shortcut to not have to make the little cannoli shells – and i LOOOOVE that this is skinny!! just one tiny cannoli is so horrible for you (but it’s so hard to resist!) but youuuu my friend have a place in my heart for creating a skinny version!

  22. Must, must try! These look amazing, Hayley… love that you made ’em skinny!

  23. CANNOLI FILLING ; 2 quarts half and half ,1-1/4 cup corn starch, 2 cups sugar and cinnamon or cinn stick what ever I have handy . mix all together in sauce pan tell well blended ,cook on stove just till you start to see it boil take off heat let cool stiring a couple of times then put in fridg. over night . if you have cooked it to long and is stiff, beat with mixer till smooth. you may add in your chocolate chips I prefer like my mother did and chopped Hershey bars with almonds till coarse and then mixed them in by hand. fill shells and dip ends in ground or chopped almonds

  24. Pinned these babies!! 🙂


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