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A very traditional Italian holiday and/or special occasion treat, always made at Christmas time, these little, ball-shaped cookies are a holiday favorite for many Italian families. Struffoli originated in the Naples area of Italy, which was influenced by the Greeks who once controlled Naples. The name “struffoli” comes from the Greek “strongulos” which means “round in shape”. Traditionally, the dough is made on a table top by putting the flour and eggs on the table and mixing with the hands.

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  • 6 eggs (regular size)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • flour
  • for dusting
  • 1 quart canola oil (for frying)
  • 1 (1 lb) jar honey (clover or orange blossom)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind
  • 4 oz. slivered almonds
  • toasted
  • Tiny round
  • colored sprinkles for decorating
  • Chocolate chips or mini chocolate Chips
  • .


Servings 15
Level of difficulty Difficult
Preparation time 60mins
Cost Average budget


Step 1

Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

In separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, lemon and orange zest, and 1½ teaspoons oil until foamy.

Add egg mixture to well in center of flour. Using hands, mix and knead the mixture well, forming a dough. Knead until smooth. (A mixer with a dough hook may be used for mixing/kneading the dough.)

Step 2

Form dough into ball and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide dough into 8-10 smaller balls.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a “rope” about ½” wide and 10 inches long.

Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1/3 inch pieces and hand roll into balls the size of marbles.

Dust cut pieces with a bit of flour.

Heat 1 quart canola oil to 350 F.

Shake off excess flour and drop the balls into the oil a few at a time. DO NOT CROWD the frying pan.

Step 3

Cook until lightly golden, turning them constantly with a wooden spoon.

Remove each batch of balls with a slotted spoon or wire mesh and place on heavy brown paper or paper towels to drain.

Continue frying until all balls have been fried.

Place drained, fried balls into a large mixing bowl or roasting pan, separating each new layer with a cooked balls with more paper towels.

Pour the honey into a large frying pan, and heat until bubbly; remove from heat.
Honey may be thinned with 2-3 Tablespoons of water to make a less sticky/sweet coating, if desired.

Stir in grated orange peel and pour honey mixture over the fried dough balls.

Step 4

With a wooden spoon, gently stir and toss the balls until all are evenly coated with honey.

Allow to cool completely then stir in chocolate chips, toasted almond slivers, and colored sprinkles to decorate.

Step 5

Optional: Before adding sprinkles, use hands to place honey coated balls and chocolate chips on to a large plate, mounding them into a cone/pyramid shape. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles.
NOTE: If struffoli are too sticky to handle while shaping, slightly wet hands with cold water to help keep them from sticking to your hands while shaping.

Struffoli will stay fresh if they are stored tightly covered in a cool, dry place.

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