Cannoli Mini Cheese Balls
These amazingly tasty cannoli cheese balls are yummy on their own, but if you prefer to serve them like a chip and dip, pair them with Deconstructed Chocolate Cannoli Cookies , as pictured.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or mascarpone cheese (Kite Hill brand cream cheese style spread if dairy-free), softened
½ cup ricotta cheese (or Kite Hill brand cream cheese style spread, softened, if dairy-free)
½ cup Swerve confectioners’-style sweetener or equivalent amount of liquid or powdered sweetener
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (or coconut oil if dairy-free), melted
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup Swerve confectioners’-style sweetener or equivalent amount of liquid or powdered sweetener
1 teaspoon almond extract (omit for nut-free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
* chocolate drizzle
¼ cup heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk if dairy-free)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Swerve confectioners’-style sweetener or equivalent amount of liquid or powdered sweetener .
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (about 8 inches long), or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the cannoli balls, place the cream cheese, ricotta, sweetener, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well with a hand mixer. Using your hands, form the mixture into eight 2-inch balls and place on a rimmed baking sheet or tray. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm.
2. To make the chocolate chunks, place a piece of parchment paper in a 9-inch pie pan. Place all the ingredients for the chunks in a blender and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking. Pour the mixture onto the parchment and place the pie pan in the refrigerator or freezer to set, about 20 minutes in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer. Once hard, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a shallow bowl.
3. To make the drizzle, place the cream, chopped chocolate, and sweetener in a double boiler or in a heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat on low, stirring, just until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 8 minutes or until thickened, but still a bit warm; if the chocolate hardens too much, return it to the double boiler and reheat gently.
4. Remove the cream cheese balls from the fridge and roll them in the chocolate pieces. Drizzle the chocolate-coated balls with the chocolate drizzle.
5. Store extras in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.