When we went over my maternal grandmother's house (whom we respectfully referred to as "Nanny"), she always had the table lined up with the most delicious Italian treats and the house would smell like baked goods. One of our favorite things she would make is Struffoli, which are small Italian fried pieces of dough drizzled with honey. Unfortunately, after she passed away I did not get the recipe that she would use each Christmas, although I wish I did because my family still talks about them to this day.
Last Christmas, I was determined to try to find a recipe that would replicate my Nanny's recipe, but I couldn't find one that sounded right. I mixed and matched a few ingredients from a few different recipes I found through Google and finally came up with the right concoction. The tower of fried cookie balls are drizzled with honey and topped with sprinkles, and I wouldn't have this holiday season any other way. It reminds me of my family and all the memories I have of spending time with them up in New York. I hope you all enjoy these as much as my family does!
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp. butter, softened, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 cups honey
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Colored sprinkles
In a food processor, pulse the flour and butter until well combined. Add the vanilla, eggs, sugar and baking powder and pulse until the dough comes together in a large ball. Remove from food processor and divide dough into 4 pieces.
On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long. Cut the ropes into small pieces. Roll each piece into a tiny ball.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F in a deep fryer or large pot. Fry the struffoli a few handfuls at a time until they puff up and are golden brown, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain.
Add honey in a large saucepan over low heat until thin. Keep warm over low heat. Add the fried balls, a few at a time, and turn them with a wooden spoon to coat on all sides. Transfer the balls to a large platter and mound them into a pyramid, shaping with wet hands. Cover with remaining honey. Add sprinkles on top and allow to cool completely, about 1-2 hours. Enjoy!