Struffoli Fried Honey Balls Recipe

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Here's the story behind them:

Struffoli are an absolute requirement at the end of a Neapolitan Christmas day dinner. For centuries they were prepared in convents by nuns and then distributed to noble families at Christmas as a thank you for their generosity.

Each convent had its own closely guarded secret recipe. The sugary aromas drifted from the convent ovens Neapolitan's would gather near the convent gates waiting to purchase them through a barred window or the convent wheel which may explain the long held preference for buying desserts rather than making them at home.

These deep fried balls of dough are the size of marbles, crunchy on the outside, light inside. Some are decorated with colored sprinkles, pieces of candied orange rind or candied pumpkin.
An amazing honey glaze over delicate puffy fried dough rounds...

An Italian tradition at Christimas Time. So many names for these. We just called them honey chichers. They were little soft balls of delicious honey coating cookies, it wouldn't be Christmas without them!


Struffoli 2014

Struffoli ( Honey Balls, Honey Cookies )and Italian Traditions

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons marsala wine or favorite white wine
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups honey
2 1/4 ounces colored candy sprinkles

Melt the butter or margarine over low heat.
Mix together in a large bowl 2-1/2 cups of the flour. Add sugar, flavoring and salt. Make a depression in the middle.
Drop in the eggs, wine, vanilla and the melted butter or margarine. Mix with a wooden spoon and then with the hands until dough leaves the sides of the bowl.

Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour as needed just until it holds together and don't over work the dough. Knead dough on floured surface with any additional flour left until it isn't sticky anymore and rolls out easily.
Break off pieces of dough and roll into ropes about the size of a pencil. Cut into pieces 1/4 inch long using plenty of flour so they don't stick together. Roll these pieces into little balls and set aside on a floured cookie sheet with wax paper. Do not stack on top of each other.

In deep frying pan, heat oil about 2 inches deep or in a wok style pan fry on medium heat (it is number 3 or 4medium heat on my range). Try one to see how fast it browns, if its still raw in the middle, lower heat. Every stove top is different. Always experiment to see if the oil is cooking these all the way through before placing many in the pot.

 Fry balls until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring 1-1/2 cups of pure honey to a boil. I add 2 teaspoons of sugar.  Let honey boil gently until it looks a little darker almost a light caramel color and coats the spoon, approximately 5 to 7 minutes,  before adding little dough balls, stirring gently with wooden spoon until they are well-coated.

Remove balls from honey with a slotted spoon and place in a deep dish or mound them on a platter. Sprinkle surface evenly multicolored sprinkles. Cool



  1. ohh these are a christmas tradition in our house too!

  2. This is something tasty good! It looks almost like doughnut huh!

  3. That looks yummy! Did you make some for me?

  4. Oh my gosh! We used to go to an Italian bakery in Cicero years ago and they had these. Love love, I know they have to be delicious!

  5. I make these every year for Christmas, like my mother before me and her mother and so on. You forgot to write when to add the wine?


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