Saturday, December 9, 2017

Totoro Family Recipes: Strufoli (Italian Honey Balls)

My husband's grandmother, Cora McKee, was from a small region about one hour east of Naples. The Feast of Seven Fishes is typically a southern Italian custom, and most of the peasant-style dishes Cora prepared for the Christmas Eve feast find their roots in Neopolitan cuisine.

Strufoli, bite-sized balls of dough fried to a golden brown and drenched in honey, is no exception.

None of the family particularly enjoys Strufoli - the mild flavor is almost boring. But it is my husband’s favorite. So I willingly set aside the three-hours to prepare this dish on Christmas Eve morning. It is my way to honor his Italian ancestry and a true labor of love.

4 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3+ cups flour

1.    In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla and half the flour.
2.   Add more flour until the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
3.   Take dough out of bowl and knead a minute or so… adding more flour as needed. Dough should be stiff and only slightly sticky.
4.   From the dough… cut small pieces (about the size of a dime) and roll out to a long thin pencil-shape.
5.    Cut pencil shape into small 1/2 inch pieces. Put pieces on paper plate.
6.   Repeat the process until all dough is cut.
7.   In a large skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover bottom of pan.
8.   Bring oil to 250-300 degrees and fry dough in small batches.
9.   Once a batch is complete - remove from skillet with slotted spoon and let drain in colander lined with paper towels.

Honey Sauce:
1.    In a large saucepan, bring to boil 1 cup honey and 1/2 cup sugar.
2.   Add dough balls and stir until thoroughly coated with honey mixture.
3.   Turn balls onto a platter - mound slightly.
4.   Add colorful sprinkles over top and sides.

Additional Note: Strufoli pairs well with a cup of hot tea. The extra honey from the Strufoli can be used as a sweetener for the tea.

This post is part of BethFishReads Weekend Cooking LinkUp. For more delicious recipes, please visit her weekly blog feature.


  1. Aren't you kind! these sound pretty good, actually.

  2. You are wonderful to keep a family tradition going.

    Best... mae at

  3. It's lovely that you take the time to make them for your husband--definitely a labor of love. ;-)

  4. These look wonderful- my mother in law makes these and everyone loves them

  5. Fabulo9u7sly festive. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter


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