A traditional Neapolitan dessert comprised of fried dough circles the size of marbles, Struffoli have become synonymous with Christmas. A cookie meets fritter, and smothered in honey, these have always been a very popular dessert the whole family typically gathers to make together. The balls of honey are customarily arranged on a plate in a wreath shape or in a cone shape to simulate a Christmas tree. Adorned with multicolored sprinkles, candied cherries, or nuts, they are a traditional and longstanding family favorite since I was a little girl.
- 4 cups of self rising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 6 small eggs or 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil plus more for frying
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract(OPTIONAL: If you prefer citrusy – Zest of one large lemon and/or 1 orange optional and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice)
- 2 cups honey @gldnblossomhoney
- 3 cups toasted hazelnuts, for garnish (optional)
- Rainbow non-pareil sprinkles for garnish
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla & flour then add oil sugar and pinch of salt (& the zest if you decide to). Work the dough well – the mixture should end up being a large ball. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough until 1/4" thick. Cut each piece of dough into 1/2" wide strips. Cut each strip into 1/2" pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball, smaller than the size of a marble (since they will swell when fried).
- Lightly dredge dough balls in flour, shaking off excess. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way.
- Heat over medium heat until the thermometer reaches 375°F. (If you don't have a thermometer, drop in a test one – should be done in about 2-3 mins.).
- In batches, fry the dough until lightly golden, about 2-3 mins. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Continue with other 3 logs.
- In a large saucepan, combine the honey, and (optional) lemon juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the balls and (optional) hazelnuts & stir until coated in the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in pan for 2 minutes, than arrange into a wreath form (I use an orange or a glass to work around for the wreath) then remove when finished) & garnish with sprinkles, cherries, nuts or whatever you like.
If your dough is really sticky, add a little flour and mix again. Repeat the process until the dough soaks up all the ingredients from inside the bowl and on the sides.