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Not Your Nana’s Strufoli

Have you heard of today’s recipe? Hailing from Naples, Italy, strufoli is considered the quintessential holiday dessert. But honestly, it’s so great you can make it anytime.

Not Your Nana's strufoli. These deep fried honey balls are made different with a maple bourbon glaze and tossed with pecans.

So what exactly is strufoli? Simply put, they’re deep fried honey balls. With a dough similar to sugar cookies, it is rolled out into long snakes then cut into small balls and deep fried in oil, then receives a sweet honey coating. But that’s what it would be if this was your Nana’s recipe. With my version, I decided to change things up. These delectable little reindeer poops are coated in a slightly different mixture of maple syrup and pecan bourbon. If you’d like to stick to the traditional version, it’s super easy. Omit the glaze and use honey instead, then toss with some festive sprinkles.

Melanie, one of my best friends and whose Nana I got this recipe from, has been making this for years. Now, I’ve known her since I was an awkward pre-teen so that means I’ve had plenty of opportunity to try this dish, but I hadn’t until recently. She made strufoli for one of our sleepovers once and used green sugar sprinkles, which then dissolved in the honey and turned the entire thing green. Imagine five 15-year-old girls screaming “Ewww, they’re green!” And that was the life and death of strufoli among our friends. I could kick myself for not trying it then, as it truly is delicious. Moral of the story: don’t use sugar sprinkles.

But you wont have to worry about that if you make my version, as they’re tossed with pecans instead. It adds a lovely crunch and pairs amazingly with the maple syrup and bourbon.

Until next time. X

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Not Your Nana’s Strufoli

Not Your Nana's strufoli. These deep fried honey balls are made different with a maple bourbon glaze and tossed with pecans.

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Not Your Nana's strufoli. These deep fried honey balls are made different with a maple bourbon glaze and tossed with pecans.

Not Your Nana’s Strufoli

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  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • flour, for dusting
  • vegetable or canola oil, for frying

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 oz pecan bourbon, or other smooth bourbon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks together with the sugar, oil and salt until combined.
  2. Slowly stir in 2 cups of the sifted flour, baking powder, vanilla and lemon juice.
  3. Knead in the remaining flour with your hands, adding an egg white if mixture is too dry.
  4. Flour your hands and a flat work surface, then separate a handful of mixture and roll into a 1/4″ wide tube.
  5. Cut into squares and set aside.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough until complete.
  7. Fry a handful at a time in oil heated to 350°F, about 1 minute or until golden brown.
  8. Remove to a paper towel lined plate using a slotted spoon.
  9. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and bourbon.
  10. Transfer the fried balls to a large bowl and pour the maple bourbon mixture over it.
  11. Add the pecans and toss to coat.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

tools

  • large bowl
  • deep skillet or deep fryer
  • instant read thermometer
  • slotted spoon or spider
  • small bowl

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Refrigeration will cause the strufoli to harden.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Not Your Nana's strufoli. These deep fried honey balls are made different with a maple bourbon glaze and tossed with pecans.

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