What's this in my mailbox? It's definitely a book with an envelope attached to the front of the box. But, I didn't order a book. Alright, I've seen this before. The envelope will disclose that I have two options; 1) keep the enclosed book and pay the shipping cost; or 2) send it back within so many days or else receive a new book every month until I cancel the subscription. I let the box sit on my shelf unopened for several days. Last Sunday I passed by it for the last time. I opened the envelope to see what my options were. Here's where the excitement comes in!
The enclosed letter began with, "Greetings and good news! We are delighted to inform you that you are receiving a copy of the Taste of Home Christmas 2011, which includes your recipe on page 138. This complimentary copy is yours to keep free of charge. It's our way of saying "Thank you!" for contributing to this one-of-a-kind holiday collection." You never saw anyone open a box quicker than I did. This is the book I received!
I had absolutely no idea which one of my recipes they were referring to, so in a flash I flipped to page 138. This is what I saw! My Cannoli Martini recipe! At this moment I am just stunned. All I could do was gaze at page 138.
When I showed my son, Joseph, he pointed out that my Cannoli Martinis are showcased in the "Enchanting Endings" photo and that it's the first recipe in this section of the book. Unbelievable!
I created this recipe back in December 2009 to compete in the online “Make it Fabulous with Fillo” Recipe Contest! sponsored by Athens Foods, the world's largest producer of fillo dough. I wanted to come up with a fancy dessert that incorporated my family's authentic vino cotto (Italian cooked wine syrup). Out of 10 Finalists my Cannoli Martini recipe came in 1st Place, and it came in 3rd Place as the Fan Favorite in the Athens Foods' online vote. This was the first time I ever entered a recipe that I created into a contest. I was completely amazed to win the competition. Two years later, who knew this recipe would appear in the distinguished Taste of Home Christmas 2011 cookbook? Taste of Home is a registered trademark of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
In the Taste of Home Christmas 2011 cookbook, a couple of variations were made to my original Cannoli Martini recipe. To get the same results that made this an award-winning dessert, I recommend using vino cotto rather than reducing 3 cups of dry red wine. The other variation made was the garnish they used. I simply inserted a square of Lindt® Intense Orange dark chocolate at an angle into each Cannoli Martini. Kumquats were used as their garnish choice. A kumquat is a small, oblong fruit whose taste is similar to that of a tangerine or clementine. Their thin skin is sweet and edible, which is definitely a perfect complement to this dessert.