Just in time for Christmas, I'm sharing the DH's family's holiday recipe for struffoli, or as they call them, honey balls.What's great about this dessert is that it's all made on the stove top, freeing your oven for the holiday ham, or perhaps a cake. Plus, it's fried and, as the DH says, even an old shoe would taste good if it were fried. (I assure you, these tiny cookies taste much, much better.)
Honey Ball Day (yelled loudly and enthusiastically by certain family members), the day where the entire family gathers to make these treats (and also drink wine and beer), is a tradition begun in 2000 by Lucy, matriarch of the clan who passed away in February. The event was usually held at her Queens apartment, but in recent years, it has been graciously hosted by my brother- and sister-in-law in New Jersey. My BIL also makes the dough -- he shares his recipe at the end of this post.
Take small pieces of the dough, made in advance, and roll into long strands.
Cut into small pieces.
The fried balls are stored in a bowl, until the remainder of the balls are fried. This seems to take hours, but it's really not that long (especially if you're not the one frying them and instead enjoying a glass of wine nearby).
Pile the honeyed balls onto plates (struffoli are often arranged to resemble wreaths to Christmas trees) and sprinkle liberally with colored nonpareils.
Wrap them in cellophane and, voila, you're done!
Family portrait, with honey balls! (We finally figured out the timer on the camera, thanks to Josh.)
Apparently the recipe changes each year (so much for tradition!), and this is the one we used this year.
Method (courtesy of Bob, my BIL)