Are you looking for a delicious-yet-traditional Christmas treat? Or perhaps a sweet centerpiece for your holiday dessert table? If so, look no further – because today we're showing you how to make a true Neapolitan classic right at home; Struffoli.
Struffoli are bite-sized deep-fried doughballs, glazed with a decadent honey syrup, topped with sprinkles and cherries. Their unique texture, a combination of crunchy and doughy, and unmistakable flavor, make these a true holiday crowd pleaser. With each bite, you'll be rewarded with a burst of sweetness to tantalize your taste buds, and a pleasant crunch that gives way to tender goodness. These delectable little morsels are simply irresistible.
When serving struffoli, consider pairing them with a specialty dessert coffee, such as Turkish Coffee, or with a scoop of Eggnog Ice Cream to truly complete the scene.
In today’s post, we’re going to show you how to make this delicious Christmas delight at home. We’ll walk you through each step, from making the dough to frying, to glazing and topping the finished struffoli. I’ll also be providing you with some tips and tricks for making sure these delights come out ‘just right.’ So, let's get started!
- AP Flour. We’re using all-purpose flour as it holds up better during frying.
- Baking Powder. This is a two-phase leavening agent, and the recipe simply doesn’t work without it.
- Sugar. Plain granulated sugar is all you need.
- Eggs. These are a binding agent, as they help to hold ingredients together. Additionally, eggs help to add structure, texture, and flavor to baked goods. Curiously, eggs play a secondary role as a leavening agent by providing ‘lift’ as the struffoli fry. The more you know.
- Honey. Use a decent quality honey, preferably raw. The honey is pretty much the entire glaze, and so you want as much ‘honey goodness’ as possible.
- Vanilla. While I’m using vanilla extract, feel free to use paste or beans. These substitute at a one-to-one ratio by volume.
- Shortening. Butter is the best shortening for baking, as it adds flavor, moisture, and flakiness. However, if you prefer something like vegetable shortening, feel free to use that in place.
- Vegetable Oil. We’re using plain vegetable oil for the frying.
- Sprinkles. Simply for garnish. Red and green for the season.
- Cherries. Here again, simply for garnish. I’m using jarred maraschino cherries, but feel free to slice up fresh if you prefer.
Nine Tips and Tricks for Making Struffoli
- Don’t Overmix. Use a light hand when mixing the dough. Overworking the dough will make the struffoli tough.
- Flour as you Go. Use a light dusting of flour when rolling out the dough to keep it from sticking. However, if you use ‘too much’ flour for this purpose, you risk over-flouring the dough, resulting in dry, tough struffoli.
- Temperature Matters. Be sure to bring your oil up to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. If the oil is cooler than that, the struffoli will take too long to fry, and become oil logged. they’ll be too oil-logged. If the oil is hotter than that, the sturffoli will cook too quickly, burning.
- Submersion. Make sure you use enough oil, and a deep enough pot, such that the struffoli are fully immersed during frying.
- Equipment. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the struffoli from the hot oil. This might sound obvious, but using a solid spoon results in lifting out some of the boiling oil with the struffoli. No need for that mess.
- Prep For the Finished Product. Have a paper towel-lined baking sheet ready to transfer the struffoli onto from the oil.
- Let Them Cool. Be sure to let the struffoli cool before coating them in honey.
- Decorate. Add a variety of decorations such as nonpareils, chopped nuts and/or sprinkles to the struffoli to make them look festive.
- Storage. Struffoli keep nicely for about three days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Struffoli (Italian Honey Balls)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 dozen honey balls 1x
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Honey, for coating
- Sprinkles, for garnish
- Maraschino cherries, for garnish
- In the bowl of your mix master with paddle attachment, blend together flour, sugar, baking powder, shortening, and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time until a soft dough comes together.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest for about 30 minutes or up to an hour.
- On a well-floured surface, divide dough into quarters then the divide the quarters in half.
- Roll out each dough ball into 1/2-inch rolls then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
- In a medium frypan, heat enough oil for frying. Carefully drop the dough balls into the hot oil, about 1 dozen at a time. Fry until each is golden and crispy. Transfer the fried balls to a paper towel lined tray.
- While the stuffoli is still warm, transfer to a large bowl. In a small saucepan, heat about 1 cup of honey and drizzle it over the stuffoli, gently tossing until each is coated.
- To plate, carefully pile the stuffoli into a mound and garnish with sprinkles and maraschino cherries. Serve immediately or let the honey balls set before serving. Enjoy!
*Prep Time does not include Inactive Prep Time
- Serving Size: 1
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Those sound like such a delicious treat! I've never heard of these before. I can't wait to try them!
Sonic exe says
It could be the sound of crunchy when biting this dish.
Catherine Santiago Jose says
These is absolutely tasty and very tempting in the eyes. Such a great recipe to share with us, will definitely try to make this at home.
Surekha Busa says
That looks so yummy, i could compare it to my country's delicacies called 'bicho bicho' the only difference is that it is dip on a generous amount of milk powder and sugar.
I am definitely saving this recipe for later, it sounds utterly delicious!! I would love to enjoy this right now 🙂
Not heard of these before but they look and sound so tasty
this is a great new recipe to me thanks so much for sharing I appreciate you sharing this recipe I am so wanting to try it soon
These look marvelous; your recipes are clear and concise and your photos are amazing!
I’ve never heard of this before but they look amazing! They sort of remind me of the french beigne.
Yeah Lifestyle says
Oh wow these sound absolutely incredible; I hadn't heard of them before. I know my family would love them though!
Ooh I have never heard of these but they sound like a delicious treat! I think my kids would think they were so cute 🙂
Terri Steffes says
These are beautiful. I have a friend who laced these with sugar string. So beautiful!
Alma P says
OMG those sound amazeballs! 😉
DAVID J MYERS says
Catherine, I don't remember seeing these luscious looking honey balls anywhere... Even our old Italian friends never served them to us! These little treats are just the kind of thing that I like during the Christmas Season. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave
connie danielson says
these sound so delicious! can't wait to try them!
This reminds me of donut holes! I love this recipe minus the cherries. Can’t wait to try it!
Bella aand Dawn at Dear Mummy Blog says
We love dough balls but only ever had garlic ones so these sound very intriguing especially as they are sweet. Love the decorative display too - very festive x
katherine ellis says
These looks scrumptious! Growing up our neighbor, Ms. Papini, was an older Italian woman and she would bake us a huge plate of Italian cookies for Christmas. I have such fond memories of those days!
Yum these honey balls look so good. We would love to make them ourselves. We love to bake and cook with our stand mixer.
More than Italian honey ball I better say Neapolitan since it is only from that area! 🙂
Struffoli looks really yummy. Hope you had an amazing time cooking those.
I love trying all the holiday foods of the world. These sound and look delicious. Bet they are addictive too. What a great brunch, and of course with my afternoon latte too.
Elaine Benoit says
How fun that you could trace ancestors back! I want to do that, as I'm sure it will be fascinating. My grandmother used to make Struffoli, though I haven't made them myself. I used to love eating them. I'm glad I found your recipe, so I can make these delightful honey balls and of course, eat them.
Oh my goodness these look absolutely delicious. I can just picture them now as the centre piece of my Christmas dinner table 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Kiki Johnson says
This would make for such a fun shared Christmas dessert! Love how dainty these are - no problem to fit in a couple of those - even after a rich dinner!
I've never even heard of this delicious sounding treat! I must try them, I know my husband would love them.
Chef Markus Mueller says
Yum...these look so good. I need to try these. Live how easy the recipe actually is!
Those little balls look so airy ans sticky! Lovely and oh so great for little kids too!
Marisa Franca says
Coming from Northern Italy I've never tasted Struffoli. My mamma never made them although we got Christmas treats that she was familiar with. You mentioned Ellis Island - my name is listed there along with my parents and brother. I wish I'd known my grandparents and I wish I'd asked my mamma and papà more questions. Anyway, getting back to your Struffoli - they sound a bit like frittole. That's what I'm used to but they didn't have honey. I'm definitely going to try these out.
Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli says
How gorgeous are Struffoli on a Christmas table? They just make Christmas. I make them, love them, and had them every year. Beautiful traditions to keep alive.
I've never heard of these before, but these definitely sound like something that's right up my alley. I love snacky kind of desserts!
Oh wow, this sounds soooo good. I love little these little bites. I bet my kiddo would love it to. Must give this a try.
Christmas Decor says
This looks so so good!!! I love meatballs. I can't wait to make your recipe, it is very easy to follow.
I've been looking for a new sweet to make this Christmas, and I just found it. These look amazing!
Jupiter Hadley says
I have never heard of these before! They look really delicious and sweet - I love the idea and will have to try them.
Rhian Westbury says
I'm not the biggest cherry fan, but ignoring that the rest of this sounds tasty. I've never really made anything like this before x
Oh these really sound delicious, would definitely like to give this a go
Lavanda Michelle says
Those look irresistible, I'd love to make some with my family for the holidays. Thanks for sharing!
Laura Side Street says
Ooh these look so delicious!! I love anytng Italian and I love honey so this is going on the list of things to try make this month! Thanks for sharing