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Struffoli o Cicerchiata (Italian Honey Dough Balls)

Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars

"This traditional Italian sweet has different names in different regions: Struffoli in Naples area, which are among the most popular Christmas sweets; Cicerchiata in Abruzzi region, where you cannot miss them during Carnival time. The concept is simple: fried sweet dough balls, coated in caramelized honey. Tasty and long lasting, as you can make them at the beginning of the holiday season and offer them to friends and relatives coming over for holiday wishes. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Garnish with candied orange or lemon peel if desired."
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57 m servings 636
Original recipe yields 10 servings


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  1. Mix flour, eggs, butter, sugar, egg yolk, lemon zest, rum extract, and salt together in a large bowl to create a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll dough into a thin log the width of your pinky finger, about 1/4 inch. Cut log into small pieces; roll into balls. Dust with flour to prevent from sticking.
  3. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan. Place a few balls of dough in a sieve to shake off excess flour. Cook in the hot oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
  4. Pour honey into a saucepan over low heat. Cook until a small amount of honey dropped into cold water forms a soft ball. Add fried balls of dough to the hot honey; stir gently with a wooden spoon until coated.
  5. Rinse a serving plate and shake off the water. Pile dough balls onto the serving plate in the shape of a dome or ring using damp hands or a damp wooden spoon. Garnish with sugar sprinkles. Let cool completely.


  • Cook's Note:
  • You can also shape the struffoli on a wet work surface and then transfer to a serving plate. Or you can make a ring shape using a ring cake mold lined with parchment paper. Some water will help with the shaping and prevent too much sticking.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 636 calories; 19.1 110.8 9.3 112 94 Full nutrition

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I thought these were supposed to be more like little doughnuts, but they turned out to be little cookies. No matter, though, they were delicious! I made them for my son’s ancestry holiday progra...