Your place for traditional Italian recipes
Lace Cookies
Lace cookie formed into a cannoli
and filled with sweetened whipped cream
Lace cookie formed into a cannoli
Lace cookies are made from a dropped batter that spreads and separates as it bakes into lacy,
brittle, see-through wafers.  These cookies crunch when you bite into them and then melt in your
mouth with the rich flavor of butter and brown sugar.  The best feature of these cookies is that
they can be shaped to form tubes, cones, and cups to which fillings may be added.  If you love
homemade cannoli but not the idea of deep frying the shells, lace cookies are an alternative. 
You can use a pastry bag to fill them with ricotta cannoli filling, pastry cream, or whipped cream. 
There are a few tricks to shaping the cookies but once you get the hang of it you will love the
results.  Fill the cookies right before serving or they will get soggy.  Lace cookies are best
served the day they are made but they can refrigerated 'uncovered' for a day for two.
Tips for making lace cookies:

Using a re-usuable nonstick baking liner, such as Silpat, makes a tremendous difference in how well the cookies come off the sheets.  Parchment paper also works although it does not offer the same degree of easy release as the nonstick liners.  Careful timing once the cookies once the cookies come out of the oven is also important.  We recommend only baking 2 or 3 at a time to start and you learn how to work with them.  After cooling on the baking sheet for a minute or two, try to slide a wide metal spatula under one cookie.  If you can do so without disturbing the shape of the cookie, it is ready to remove.  If the cookie bunches or tears when you try to remove it, let it cool for another 30 seconds.  If you are going to shape the cookies, you must work within this limited time frame, for even one extra minute will make them too firm to work with.  If the cookies cool on the baking sheet too long and become too brittle to shape, place the entire sheet back in the oven for a minute or two until the cookies are soft again.  If any of the cookies shatter while you are shaping them, save the crumbs to sprinkle on ice cream. 
Lace Cookies

(Makes about 48 cookies)


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoon heavy cream
(Optional) 1/2 cup coarsely chopped semi-sweet chocolate to decorate


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with a nonstick liner or parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil.  Remove from the heat; stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter about 3-inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet.  For larger cookies, use a tablespoon and only make 2 to 4 cookies per sheet.  Bake the cookies for 5 to 6 minutes.  The cookies will bubble and spread thin, to a deep golden brown.
Cookie batter on non-stick liner on
baking sheet before baking
Baked cookies right out of the oven
Remove from oven and place the baking sheet on a wire cooling rack.  Let the cookies cool and firm up slightly on the baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack with a wide metal spatula or shape as desired.  Repeat with the remaining batter.  If the batter starts to thicken, reheat it on the stovetop.

To decorate flat lace cookies with chocolate:
After the cookies have cooled, place them on a sheet of waxed paper.
Melt the chocolate over simmering water or in the microwave.  Use a pastry bag or a fork dipped into the chocolate to drizzle it over the cookies.
Shaping Lace Cookies

Cannoli Shells:
To form cannoli shells, you need to make large lace cookies.  Place only 2 tablespoons of batter on a baking sheet at a time.  Bake them for the same amount of time, 5-6 minutes.  Let the cookies cool and firm up slightly on the baking sheet for about 1 minute.  Hold one edge of the cookie against a metal cannoli form.  Roll the cookie around the form as quickly as possible.  Hold the cookie in place until it is set, which is just a few seconds.  Gently pull out the metal form. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
To form mini cannoli shells, you make the lace cookies the same size as in the basic recipe.  Let the cookies cool and firm up slightly on the baking sheet for about 1 minute.  Hold one edge of the cookie against the handle of a wooden spoon.  Roll the cookie around the handle as quickly as possible.
Lace cookie wrapped around metal
cannoli tube
Lace cookie removed from
cannoli tube
Mini Cannoli Shells:
Hold the cookie in place until it is set, which is just a few seconds.  Gently pull out the spoon. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.  Drizzle with melted chocolate and use a pastry bag to fill as desired.
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Soft, moist brown sugar is simply granulated sugar that has been mixed with molasses.  Light brown sugar has less molasses and a milder flavor than dark brown. The types are interchangable in most recipes, depending on your taste.  In a pinch, you can make your own brown sugar by blending 1 cup of granulated sugar with 4 teaspoons of molasses for light brown sugar, or 1/4 cup molasses for dark. 

Once you open a box of brown sugar, transfer it to an airtight container or a tightly sealed zip-top bag to prevent it from hardening.

When a recipe calls for packed brown sugar, scoop it into a measuring cup, then press down firmly.  The sugar should be packed tight enough so that you can unmold it like a sand castle.
Brown Sugar
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Silicone baking mats have a non-stick surface that helps baked goods release easily.  Use silicone mats for any recipe that calls for parchment paper.  The mats never needs greasing, which saves both time
and money.  They're also easy to clean, simply wipe them off using hot water and dish soap.
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