Ah, struffoli! This is a Neapolitan confection that consists mainly of bite-sized  balls of fried dough. Doesn't sound as festive as it looks, does it? It is though, these are those tasty little jewels on the holiday dessert table. When done right, they're not greasy, just a little crispy and light as air on the inside.

Years ago, after moving to the west coast, we tried to recreate them but over-worked the dough. Don't do that. Boy, were they tough! As with all dough, handle it as little as possible and follow the directions. You'll do fine. 

My cousin, Grace, makes struffoli every year and she was kind enough to take over the blog duties for me on this one. Count this among those recipes that are passed from one generation to the next. Grace's Aunt Lisa passed this one on to her. Many thanks for sharing! 

Time: 2 hours
Yield: Approx 24 individual cups
Level: Average

Ingredients of struffoli are added to the food processor4 large eggs
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs half and half (or heavy cream)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick butter
4-6 oz Honey
Vegetable oil
Struffoli after processing should have a large grainy consistencyCandied citron, multi-colored sprinkles and/or confectioner's sugar for decoration

Add all ingredients except honey and oil in the bowl of food processor. Pulse until the consistency of large grains of sand. Turn onto floured board, press together and knead for 2-3 minutes until dough begins to show signs of elasticity. Dough will be quite firm and have the feel of play-dough. Form into ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Break off a piece of dough and roll into a rope approx 1/2 in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cut the rope into 1/2 inch pieces, approximately the size of a marble - a square marble.

Step-by-step process of making struffoli, formed into a ball, then into ropes, then cut into 1/2 inch squares.
Image of struffoli frying in oil at 350 degrees.Heat oil in heavy-bottom pan to 350 degrees. Drop one piece of Struffoli into hot oil to test -- it should float and turn golden brown quickly. Fry struffoli in several batches, draining on paper towels.

Place struffoli into a large mixing bowl once they are drained. Heat honey over low heat in saucepan until it has thin consistency, then pour over honey balls and toss to coat. Arrange into a dome shape on a platter and finish with your choice of multi-colored dots, bits of candied citron and confectioner's sugar.

NOTE: If individual gifts are desired (as shown above), put struffoli into a foil muffin "paper", then decorate with sprinkles, citron and confectioner's sugar.


  1. I haven't had struffoli in years! Thanks for sharing the memory Grace and Ghio!

  2. Make the memory come true! Go ahead, make some!