Cannoli Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

If there's a certain dessert you really love, it's only natural to look for all the ways to combine it with other ingredients and make new creations. Tasting Table recipe developer Jessica Morone did exactly that with these cannoli thumbprint cookies. "I love putting the flavors of one kind of dessert into a different type of dessert," shares the self-proclaimed cannoli lover. "I've been trying to put cannoli cream in a bunch of other foods, like cupcakes and pancakes, and in this case I went with thumbprint cookies." 

We're glad her experiments led to this result, because these cookies are seriously delicious. "I think these are so fun in general," Morone comments and describes, "The crispness of the cookies is balanced really well with the creaminess of the cannoli filling." The rich filling, subtle sweetness, and burst of chocolatey goodness make these thumbprint cookies an all-around winner. As Morone remarks, "They are cute, easy to make, and people love them."

Gather the ingredients for these cannoli thumbprint cookies

For this recipe, you'll need softened unsalted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt. For the creamy cannoli filling, get out some ricotta cheese, softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, and mini chocolate chips.

Make the cookie dough

First, create the foundation of the cookies by making the dough. Add the softened butter and both sugars to the bowl of a stand mixer, and cream together until the mixture is smooth. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer for the same result. Next, crack in the eggs, add the vanilla extract, and keep mixing until the ingredients are combined. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine. Then, slowly add the dry ingredients into the creamy mixture, about ⅓ at a time. Keep mixing while you add the flour, until the dough is properly combined and there are no more dry streaks.

Chill the dough, then bake the cookies

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls and place them on the pan. Use your thumb or a rounded surface, like the bottom of a wooden spoon, to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Transfer the cookie sheet to the freezer for 15 minutes "so that cookies hold their shape better while they bake," Morone explains. In fact, if you want to make these well ahead of time, you can leave the unbaked cookies in the freezer (wrapped) for up to 3 months.

While the cookie dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 F. Once hot, bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. However, at about the 7- to 10-minute mark, you'll want to remove the baking sheet and check to see if the cookies have puffed up in the center. "Without a filling in the center of a thumbprint cookie, the centers can puff up," Morone says. Don't worry if they look a bit puffy — just push the center back down with the top handle of a wooden spoon, then continue baking. When the cookies are done, remove the tray from the oven and let them cool completely.

Make the cannoli filling

While the cookies cool, make the filling using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Cream together the ricotta, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the lemon zest and cinnamon to distribute the aromas into the filling, and finish by folding in the mini chocolate chips.

Frost the cookies, and serve

Transfer the cannoli filling into a piping bag, or add it to a plastic bag with a corner cut off. Carefully pipe the creamy filling into the center of each cookie, then garnish with extra chocolate chips if desired. Done! Morone recommends serving these "with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of wine." 

"After making these once, I think I might start serving them for lots of occasions," Morone shares. "The only place I wouldn't want to serve them is if they had to sit outside for a while in the heat, since they need to be kept chilled." Indeed, any leftover cannoli thumbprint cookies should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you don't want to assemble them all at once, Morone adds that "you could also keep the cookies unfilled in an airtight container at room temperature and the filling in the fridge."

Cannoli Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
5 from 55 ratings
If you love cannolis, why not put their ricotta and chocolate flavors into adorable thumbprint cookies?
Prep Time
Cook Time
cannoli thumbprint cookies on plate
Total time: 50 minutes
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for topping
  1. Cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and continue mixing until combined.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, about ⅓ at a time, and mix until well combined and no dry streaks remain.
  5. Scoop the cookie dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Use your thumb, the back of a teaspoon, or the bottom of a wooden spoon to press an indentation in the center of each ball.
  6. Transfer the cookie dough to the freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  8. Bake the chilled cookies in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown. (Check on them halfway through. If the cookies have puffed up in the center, use the back of a teaspoon to press the centers back down, and continue baking until done.)
  9. Let the cookies cool completely.
  10. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to combine the ricotta, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until fluffy.
  11. Mix in the lemon zest and cinnamon, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  12. Transfer the filling into a piping bag, then pipe the filling into the center of each cooled cookie. Top with additional mini chocolate chips, if desired, and serve.
Calories per Serving 250
Total Fat 13.7 g
Saturated Fat 8.2 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 54.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 13.2 g
Sodium 93.2 mg
Protein 4.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe