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Growing up in an Italian family, Honey Balls were always a part of the holiday dessert ensemble that also included Italian pastries, cakes and cookies. The Italian name for these delicious honey balls are known as “Struffoli“. I will show you how to make honey balls in an easy recipe below.
I have fond memories of my Grandma having this delicious dessert in her house during the holidays. The candied fruit was an accessory on these platters that you either ignored, or ate… I really would like to know who actually liked this candied fruit?! I think my Grandma was the only one I knew who ate this!
Hosting a traditional holiday baking day
Every year I host a baking day with the women in my family, they are known as “The Vanchieri Ladies”, and one very close friend. I won’t mention names, but some come over to actually bake with me. Some come to just enjoy the prosecco and general fun we have on this occasion. Honey balls are one of the desserts we make every year. We will be taking a break this year because of world events. However I look forward in resuming my tradition next year.
So because of this break in tradition, I am taking the opportunity to write about it here and share with everyone this delicious recipe that is easy to make. You can also check out my other post here for some really fun baking decorations and the list of other desserts we make on our holiday baking day. These decorations can add just enough sparkle for the holidays.
Steps on how to make my Honey Balls
So I have made a few updates to my recipe over the years. One, I leave the candied fruit out. Secondly, I warm my honey in a pan and add the zest of an orange w some juice. The warm honey makes a huge difference when coating the fried dough balls. The orange also gives just a hint of citrus that I may be missing from that candied fruit!
With anything I create I always find it important on how you display your finished product. I sometimes add a paper doily. A pretty plate, I use these crystal plastic plates, clear cellophane and holiday ribbon. I love to hand out to select neighbors and friends during the holidays as a warm gesture of the season.
I have to be pretty quick, because my kids hover over these and will start eating before I get them packaged up. Just fried warm dough balls are irresistible! I usually make these a few days before Christmas Eve. They can last a few days on the counter. If you feel like the honey has soaked in, you can drizzle additional honey on the mound of honey balls and add extra sprinkles before serving.
Honey Balls ( Struffoli)
- Slotted or mesh spoon
- Deep frying pan
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp Baking Powder
- 4 tbsp Wesson Oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Orange for zest & juice
- 16 oz. Honey I use Golden Blossom
- 2 oz. Sprinkles
- Mix eggs, oil, salt and sugar. Then add flour and baking powder. Knead dough. Sprinkle flour on surface and roll out into thin tube, cut even pieces and roll into balls. Place balls on plate. Heat up pan with oil (enough to cover dough balls), once oil is heated, drop dough balls into hot oil and turn as they fry, using a slotted, or mesh spoon. Once cooked, transfer onto pan, or plate lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat this process until all dough is cooked.In separate pan pour about 16 oz of honey into pan, ( you can use more or less depending on what you like) heat on a low flame. Zest orange into honey, then squeeze orange juice from orange into heated honey. Stir to mix. Pour heated honey over fried dough balls, fully coating them. Arrange coated balls on doily lined plate in a cone shape. Shake sprinkles generously on coated balls.
This recipe is so simple and yet so gratifying. Ingredients are basic and this is a great project to do with your kids, a partner, or a few friends. They can roll the dough, cut, and make the balls. The most time consuming part of this project is rolling, cutting and preparing the balls before frying. With help, you can just fry up the completed balls as they are prepared.
Supplies for Honey balls
- Chinet Cut Crystal Clear Plastic 10 inch Plates
- Clear Cellophane Wrap Roll
- Royal Medallion Lace Round Paper Doilies
- Wide Christmas Ribbons
- Wilton Rainbow Nonpareils Food Decorative
- Golden Blossom Genuine Natural Pure Honey
These platters make for a yummy gift for neighbors, or friends.
Check out these other seasonal posts!