Cannoli is the plural of cannolo, coming from the Italian word for tube and describing the shape of the pastry dough. Historically cannoli were first made in Sicily as treats during the Carnival season but soon were made year round. Their popularity quickly spread to the Italian mainland and the world. Today many variations exist, both in size and ingredients. Some cooks use only ricotta cheese from a cow’s milk whereas other prefer ricotta from a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk. In eastern Sicily, cooks add pistachios while in western Sicily they add chocolate chips.
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