I’ve kind of been sucking at breakfast lately. It’s my favorite meal of the day and I just can’t get inspired. I was pretty stuck on smoothies all summer long but-news flash– it’s averaging 20 degrees these days, and frozen blueberries aren’t going to do it. Oatmeal, my usual winter staple, has been met by my stomach with a lackluster response as of late and I haven’t often had the forethought to make something like the brown bread or English muffins freezer ready. I’ve honestly been at a huge loss.
Then, after a delicious dinner at Gene & Georgetti’s for restaurant week and after one bite of tiramisu, I was struck with a craving for all things Italian which, if you know me, is hella weird. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling and figured I’d do my best to turn one of my favorite Italian desserts, the cannoli, into something I can eat for breakfast on the reg, or at least until it is once again smoothie season and I came up with a Cannoli Granola Breakfast Bowl.
Auntie Betty used to make cannolis every Christmas, and since the Buddhas have been holiday-ing without the extended family, I haven’t had one in years. Well, a good one. I rarely ever buy them out because I know they’ll never be as good as Auntie Betty’s, and rather than get mad about it, I live a cannoli-free life. I’m not even going to pretend that this bowl of goodness is any sort of adaptation of that, but figured I’d share with you my cannoli history.
Auntie Betty’s made her cannoli shells from scratch, and stuffed them with a mixture of sweetened ricotta. Half were filled with that weird fruit-cake-dried-fruit mix (no thanks) and the other half were plain. Each had green or red dyed coconut on each end to keep them festive. Other variations I’ve had boast chocolate chips, citrus, almonds or pistachios. They really are very versatile.
I turned all these wonderful cannoli flavors into a granola, and with some ricotta and yogurt, turned that into a breakfast bowl.
The granola is simply flavored with honey, cinnamon and ginger, all mixed to coat the oats, wheat germ, hemp hearts (just because I had them), almonds and shaved coconut. Once baked to golden, the granola is served over my cannoli “filling” of ricotta and yogurt, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. The whole shebang is topped with dried cherries and chocolate shavings.
A little sweet, a little crunch, lots of protein, all of which keep the stomach full and happy well into lunchtime. Breakfast success!
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup shaved coconut
- 1 cup whole or slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts (optional)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TB unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the honey and butter. Mix well.
- In a small saucepan on the stove, mix together the honey and butter and heat until the butter is melted. Pour over the oat mixture and coat everything well.
- Divide the oats between the cookie sheets and bake about 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes until all is golden brown. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.
- 1 cup homemade granola (recipe follows)
- 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 TB sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1 ounce dark chocolate, shaved
- Mix the yogurt, lemon zest, ricotta, sugar and vanilla thoroughly. Divide into two bowls.
- Top each bowl with 1/2 cup granola, 2 TB dried cherries and 1/2 ounce chocolate.
- Don't like cherries? Use whatever fruit you fancy.
Written whilst listening to If Ever You’re In My Arms again by Peabo Bryson. My cool kid streak continues.