STRUFFOLI, also known as HONEY BALLS, has to appear in our house sometime during the Christmas holiday, or someone will complain!
These little fried nuggets of dough, sweetened with honey are in many bakeries in December. But we don’t like the bakery kind! LOL
Our family’s homemade version has a sweetened dough, the honey mixture is softer, and the little nugget balls are made smaller compared to most strufoli you will find. Made this way is truer to the Naples version where it originated, rather than the way you will find it in the rest of Italy and in the bakeries here in America.
We shape them into a wreath, a tree, or a bell. Typically bakeries pile them into a high mound.
Lately I have been serving Strufoli in individual paper or foil cupcake liners. Better!
See some of the steps in the slideshow below.
Struffoli ~ Honey Balls
- Deep fryer
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 15 ounces honey
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- sprinkles to decorate on top
- 2 quarts oil for frying
- Pour oil into the deep fryer and heat the oil to 400°.
- Cover cookie sheet pans with paper towels.
- DOUGH: In a large bowl mix the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and flour until a crumbly dough forms. Do not over mix.
- Working on a floured surface, take a small lump of dough and with the palms of your hands roll the dough into a long rope, about one-quarter inch in diameter.
- Cut the rope into little nuggets about the size of chick peas.
- Lightly flour a cookie sheet and spread the nuggets of dough so they won’t stick together.
- Heat the oil for frying in a deep fryer to 400º. When the oil begins to bubble, place one nugget into the oil. If it floats to the top within five seconds, you know the oil is the correct temperature.
- Place the nuggets of dough into the pan to cover the bottom and let them fry until they are a light golden brown.
- Remove the strufoli from the oil and lay them out onto the prepared cookie sheet pans to cool.
- SYRUP: In a very large saucepan on top of the stove, stir together the honey, ¼ cup sugar, and cinnamon. Put the heat on medium and stir constantly until it just begins to boil.
- Pour the fried strufoli balls into the pan with the syrup and mix well to coat all the strufoli balls.
- Transfer the strufoli to a serving plate and form it into whatever shape you want.
- Alternatively, you can mound the strufoli into cupcake liners for individual servings.
- Decorate the top with sprinkles.
- Store the strufoli covered on top of the counter.