Lions Plate: Classic Italian Struffoli

By Shannon Deady
Columnist 

While Halloween lovers sadly pack away their cobwebs and candy bowls until next year, Christmas fanatics are anything but upset as the weather gets colder. For many, the first day of November means it is finally socially acceptable to turn up the volume on the holiday music they have been quietly listening to, light up their winter candles they had stashed away and cuddle up to watch “A Christmas Story.” While I am still looking forward to my favorite holiday this month, Thanksgiving, I had to share one of my favorite recipes for those already in the Christmas spirit.

Struffoli is a traditional Italian dessert enjoyed on Christmas. (Instagram)

Struffoli is a December staple in my house. For those who aren’t familiar with the Italian dessert, which some recognize as honey balls, it consists of small pieces of deep fried dough about the size of a marble. The dough is covered in honey and sometimes garnished with cinnamon and orange rind or sprinkles, although I prefer them plain. Forming the small dough balls is a tedious practice, but can be fun to do with family and friends, especially with your favorite holiday tunes in the background. If you don’t have a deep fryer, never fear— an old fashioned pot and some oil on the stovetop can get the job done just the same!

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

4 eggs (room temperature)

1 ½ t baking powder

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Honey to taste

Optional: Sprinkles, cinnamon or orange rinds

Canola oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Combine sugar, vanilla, eggs and oil in a mixing bowl and stir before adding flour and baking powder.
  2. Once formed into a ball, put on wax paper and refrigerate for half an hour.
  3. Cover your hands and rolling pin in flour and roll out before forming cold dough into small balls. Each one should be about the size of a marble.
  4. Fry in canola oil for approximately four minutes at 350 degrees, turning each ball halfway through or once browned.
  5. Remove from fryer or pot and let cool before adding heated honey to the dessert.
  6. Optional: add sprinkles, cinnamon or orange rind before serving. Enjoy!