Kid-friendly Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting + Chocolate Milk Shakerato Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting + Chocolate Milk Shakerato + Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

Family Meal Plan: Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting + Chocolate Milk Shakerato

Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting + Chocolate Milk Shakerato + Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Natasha McCone and Kate Bezak
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
3 minutes
1-2 servings

Fun Food Story

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Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting

For a very long time, I thought cannoli were pretty underwhelming until I had "The Cannoli that Changed My Life!" It was just the right degree of sweetness, and the texture difference of the slightly crispy shell surrounding a tunnel of lusciously soft, lemon-kissed cream was ethereal! It is the cannoli that inspired this mug recipe. We're infusing our Ricotta Frosting with a little lemon, the SFC way, because we want kid chefs to try a flavor combination they may never have thought of and to inspire them to think outside of the box when they're in the kitchen (and outside of the kitchen!). A little tart, a lot sweet, and a ton of love: That's the gist of this recipe! Enjoy!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • Parents: This meal plan requires a microwave, a 2 or 4-cup glass measuring cup, like Pyrex, to cook the CUPcake, and a 16-oz glass microwave-safe jar with a matching lid for the Shakerato.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch fresh chopped parsley (or dried parsley/dried dill)
  • Kid Chefs' Choice for “Crudités:”
  • 4 to 5 baby carrots or carrot chips
  • 1 to 2 celery stalks
  • 1 mini cucumber or 1/4 large cucumber
  • 3 to 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 red radishes
  • 2 to 3 jicama sticks
  • 1/2 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
  • 3 to 5 mini sweet peppers
  • 2 T full-fat plain Greek yogurt **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 T heavy cream **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T ricotta cheese **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/4 C whole milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 egg **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T cocoa powder **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 tsp shredded or grated coconut **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 T sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 3 T mini or regular chocolate chips **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp water
  • ice (a few cubes)
  • SOLUBILITY ACTIVITY (Instructors only)
  • 1 1/2 C warm water
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • crack :

    to break open or apart a food to get what's inside, like an egg or a coconut.

  • dip :

    to briefly put a solid food, such as chips, fries, battered fried fish, hot sandwich (French dip), or veggie slices, into a liquid, like beef broth or a thicker sauce, like ketchup, dressing, or a dip to impart moisture and extra flavor to the solid food.

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • microwave :

    to heat or cook food or liquid quickly in a microwave oven, which uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the food's water molecules.

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • pour :

    to cause liquid, granules, or powder to stream from one container into another.

  • shake :

    to rapidly and vigorously move a covered container filled with food up and down and side to side to combine ingredients and create a different consistency, such as shaking whipped cream to make butter.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • sprinkle :

    to scatter small drops or particles of an ingredient evenly or randomly over food. 

  • stir :

    to mix together two or more ingredients with a spoon or spatula, usually in a circle pattern, or figure eight, or in whatever direction you like!

  • taste :

    to put a bit of food or drink in your mouth to determine whether more of an ingredient is needed to improve the flavor.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces instead of cutting with a knife; cutting breaks cell walls more, so herbs can discolor faster.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Microwave-safe glass jar (16 oz) with matching lid
  • Potholder
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Soap for cleaning hands
  • Cutting board
  • Kid-safe knife (a butter knife works great)
  • Small bowl
  • Citrus zester or box grater with small zesting holes
  • Citrus juicer (optional, but encouraged)
  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe glass measuring cup, like Pyrex (2 or 4-cup)
  • Metal spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Whisk or fork
  • Small bowl for frosting
  • Plate
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife (a butter knife works great)
  • Citrus squeezer or juicer (optional)


Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting

  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T water—more info below)**
  • 1 T cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1 T all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free flour blend with xanthan gum)**
  • 2 tsp grated or shredded coconut **(Omit for COCONUT ALLERGY)**
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub coconut cream or dairy-free/nut-free heavy cream or creamer)**
  • 1 T mini or regular chocolate chips, divided **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob chips, and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**
  • 1 T ricotta cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt)**
  • 1 pinch powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

Chocolate Milk Shakerato

  • 1 1/4 C whole milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 handful mini or regular chocolate chips **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob chips, and for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • ice (a few cubes)

Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

  • Kid chefs' choice for “Crudités:”:
  • 4 to 5 baby carrots or carrot chips
  • 1 to 2 celery stalks
  • 1 mini cucumber or 1/4 large cucumber
  • 3 to 5 cherry tomatoes **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • 1 to 2 red radishes
  • 2 to 3 jicama sticks
  • 1/2 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • 3 to 5 mini sweet peppers **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE ALLERGY)**
  • Ranch Dip:
  • 1 pinch fresh chopped parsley (or dried parsley/dried dill)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 T full-fat plain Greek yogurt **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free plain Greek yogurt)**
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 pinch sugar, optional

Food Allergen Substitutions

Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting

  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T warm water. Stir and soak flaxseeds in warm water for 5 minutes or until fully absorbed and thickened.
  • Chocolate: Substitute carob powder for cocoa powder. Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free flour blend with xanthan gum. 
  • Coconut: Omit shredded coconut.
  • Dairy: Substitute coconut cream or dairy-free/nut-free heavy cream or creamer for heavy whipping cream. Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt for ricotta cheese.
  • Nut: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Chocolate Milk Shakerato

  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk. Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Nut: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One

  • Nightshade: Omit optional cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet peppers.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free plain Greek yogurt.


Holy Cannoli Mini Mug CUPcake + Rich Ricotta Frosting

important note

This recipe will rise over a standard microwavable mug as it cooks in the microwave, so it’s necessary to use a 2 to 4-cup microwavable glass measuring cup!

crack + whisk + add

Crack 1 egg into a large microwavable glass measuring cup and whisk it. Add 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 teaspoons shredded coconut, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, and 1 teaspoon mini or regular chocolate chips. Mix with a spoon until all ingredients are well-incorporated!

cover + microwave + cool

Cover the measuring cup with a damp paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly before carefully removing with a potholder. Next, make the frosting.

measure + whisk + taste

Measure and whisk together 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese, 1 pinch of powdered sugar, and 1 pinch of lemon zest in a small bowl. Taste! If you’d like your frosting a bit more lemony, add 1 small squeeze of lemon juice and whisk again.

top + sprinkle

Upend the CUPcake on a plate and top with Rich Ricotta Frosting and a sprinkle of chocolate chips!

Chocolate Milk Shakerato


A shakerato is a cold, frothy Italian drink traditionally made with coffee! It’s perfect for hot and steamy summer days, and this kid-friendly version made with chocolate milk is equally delightful.

add + pour

To a microwavable glass jar, with a matching lid, add 1 handful of mini or regular chocolate chips, then pour just enough milk (about 1/4 cup) to cover the chocolate chips.

cover + microwave + stir

Cover the jar with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute. Carefully remove the jar using a potholder and stir the chocolate until it melts.

add + shake + count

Add 1 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (make sure to measure over a bowl in case you spill), and a few ice cubes to the microwavable glass jar. Secure the lid, place one hand on top of the lid and one on the bottom of the jar, and shake! Count to 5 in Italian as you shake: 1 uno (OO-noh), 2 due (DOO-eh), 3 tre (treh), 4 quattro (KWAHT-troh), 5 cinque (CHEEN-kweh).

Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks + Cool Ranch Dip for One


Each of our SFC Sweet Mug Recipes also include this section of the lesson, where kids snack on raw veggies and dip. All veggies are good for the brain! The purpose is to reinforce and encourage kids to eat veggies and have them learn a little about what each vegetable does for the body! Kids will show which veggie(s) they’ve chosen and share the benefit below. Snack on veggies and encourage kids to eat at least 3 pieces to power up their brains before making the mug cake! Green veggies help keep you from catching a cold! White veggies give you energy! Yellow veggies help make your bones strong! Orange veggies are good for your heart! Blue and Purple veggies are good for your memory! Red veggies are good for your blood!

tear + zest + juice

To make the dip, tear 1 pinch of parsley leaves into tiny bits! Add the parsley to a small bowl. Zest 1 lemon and add a pinch of zest to the parsley. Slice the lemon in half and add a squeeze of juice. Watch for seeds!

measure + mix

Measure and add 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt, 1 pinch of garlic powder, 1 pinch of salt, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of water to the bowl with the parsley and lemon. Use a spoon to mix! Taste! What does it need? Add more lemon, salt, pepper, or garlic powder a little at a time until your dip tastes great to you. Add 1 pinch of sugar to balance flavors if you wish.

slice + dip

Have kid chefs slice up their raw vegetables of choice into sticks or bite-sized pieces, and then dip their Rainbow “Crudités” Veggie Sticks in the Cool Ranch Dip! Delightful!}

Surprise Ingredient: Chocolate + Cocoa!

back to recipe
Photo by New Africa/

Hi! I'm Chocolate!

"Hello! Let me introduce myself! I can be dark brown, light brown, or even white. I'm sometimes bitter, sometimes a little sweet, and often very sweet. I add flavor and excitement to many other foods! Have you guessed yet? I'm Chocolate! You may be familiar with me from candy bars or chocolate sundaes, but I can liven up many other foods, too, including chili, butter, and milk!"


  • The cacao (kahKOW) tree is native to equatorial South America and the rainforests of Mesoamerica. It was first used 5,300 years ago by indigenous people in South America. Mesoamericans who lived in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America domesticated the tree about 1,500 years later. They drank chocolate as a bitter beverage—far from the sweet treat most of us are familiar with today. 
  • The Mayan people of Central and South America used cocoa as currency and as medicine: it was very valuable, just like vanilla! In fact, it was so precious that they made counterfeit cocoa beans out of clay and avocado seeds!
  • The Aztec people are a nomadic tribe in Northern Mexico. When the Aztec empire began to expand, they demanded that the Mayan people pay tribute to them through gifts of cacao. 
  • The Aztec people ruled until Spaniards arrived and conquered the land and its people. The Spanish explorers took cacao beans back to Europe, where they experimented by adding cinnamon and sugar to sweeten it. For a long time, only aristocratic people enjoyed chocolate.
  • Princess Maria Theresa married Louis the 16th from France and gave him chocolate as a wedding present! Demand for chocolate soon grew very fast, and as a result, people were enslaved on plantations to grow cacao to meet the high demand.
  • In 1847, Joseph Fry invented the first chocolate bar. By 1907, Hershey was manufacturing millions of chocolate kisses each day.  
  • Cacao trees grow best in the rainforest underneath the branches of taller trees. However, they won't bear fruit until they are at least three to five years old. 
  • Most early Spanish sources refer to chocolate as "cacahuatl" (cah-cah-Hwat), which translates to "cacao water."
  • The word chocolate comes from a combination of a Mayan word for hot, "chocol," and an Aztec word for water, "atl."

How Chocolate is Made

  • All chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree. Cacao trees produce pods containing pulp-covered seeds. Before cacao is processed, it would be hard for most of us to recognize it as chocolate! This is because the pulp-covered seeds taste bitter and raw and look nothing like the chocolate products we see in stores.
  • The seeds go through a process called fermentation, and then they are dried and made into nibs before being turned into chocolate. 
  • A cacao pod contains about 30 to 50 almond-sized seeds—enough to make about seven milk chocolate candy bars! 
  • After roasting and grinding cocoa beans, chocolate liquor is left, which is about equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. After the cocoa butter is mostly extracted, the result is dry cocoa solids. Cocoa powder is the powdered form. Natural cocoa is a light brown color and tastes bitter. 

  • Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten created the "Dutch process" method in the early 19th century to reduce the acidity in natural cocoa powder by treating the beans with alkaline salts. As a result, Dutch process cocoa is less bitter and has a dark brown color.

How to Enjoy Cocoa & Chocolate

  • You can add unsweetened cocoa to milk with sugar, honey, or stevia for a delicious and warming beverage. You can also add it to smoothies for a delicious chocolaty taste and an extra hit of magnesium and polyphenols. 
  • Chocolate comes in many forms: bars, kisses, chips, powder, shavings, puddings, syrups, and sauces.
  • Unconventional chocolate flavor pairings: cardamom, lavender, wasabi, chili, chipotle, sea salt, lime, matcha, curry, ginger, mint, figs, fennel, sesame, parmesan, and Earl Grey tea. Seriously, what doesn't go well with chocolate?! Can you think of any other fun and delicious pairings?


  • Dark chocolate helps protect your heart, blood, and brain! To get the full health benefits of chocolate, choose at least 85% cocoa content or higher. The higher percentage makes the chocolate more bitter, but those bitter compounds, called polyphenols, are antioxidants that provide several health benefits. Many people prefer very dark chocolate!
  • Polyphenols help prevent heart disease by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, keeping vessels flexible and allowing the blood in our body to flow easier (good circulation), and reducing inflammation. In addition, they help control blood sugar levels, lower cancer risk, and boost immunity. Polyphenols also promote good digestion.  
  • Cocoa is a great source of magnesium. We need magnesium for good health! For strong bones, healthy teeth, and as a building block for proteins within the body.
  • Cocoa can protect our teeth?! Cacao contains antibacterial elements that fight tooth decay. However, this is true with unsweetened cocoa only, as most mass-produced chocolate has a lot of sugar. We know what sugar does to our teeth—it causes decay! 
  • One study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain!

History of Cannoli!

Photo by anna.q/
  • Cannoli is a dessert that some food historians believe came from the Palermo and Messina regions of Sicily, Italy, where they were made for Carnivale. Others claim that cannoli originated in Caltanissetta, a commune in Sicily. 
  • The word "cannoli" means "little tube" in Sicilian Italian. It comes from the Italian "canna," meaning "cane" or "reed."
  • Traditional cannoli consist of a tube-shaped fried pastry dough with a sweet ricotta filling. They are a staple of Sicilian cuisine.  
  • When Italians immigrated to America in the 1900s, they had difficulty finding sheep's milk ricotta cheese and modified their cannoli using mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese. Today, fillings might also include cow's milk ricotta, custard, pastry cream, or whipped cream.
  • In addition to the ricotta filling, various toppings can be added to both ends of the cannoli, including chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and candied fruit!

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a cannoli in Venice?

A canal-i.

That's Berry Funny

What weighs more: a pound of milk or a pound of ricotta cheese?

A pound of milk. The ricotta is "whey" lighter.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call an island populated entirely by cupcakes?


Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a sheep covered in chocolate? 

A Candy Baa!

The Yolk's On You

My friend dropped his box of Italian pastries on the floor. 

I cannoli imagine what he must be going through!

That's Berry Funny

What is a Jedi's favorite dessert? 

Obi Wan Cannoli.

The Yolk's On You

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who’s there?" 


"Imogen who?" 

"I can’t imogen life without chocolate!"

That's Berry Funny

What did the cupcake tell the frosting?

"I’d be muffin without you."

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