I don’t know what my obsession with balls is lately. First my MIL’s potato balls and now I can’t get my Aunt June’s sticky balls out of my brain.
Aunt June would make her famous honey balls for every special occasion and they were always a hit. (Since my mom and her sister are NYC girls, you have to respect the ball and pronounce it as “bawls”.) Basically, Struffoli consists of small dough balls fried and slathered in honey. So simple and yet something about these balls always made mouths happy.
I have such fond memories of holidays gathered around Aunt June’s dining table and everyone huddling over a large bowl of honey balls. My sister and I would always scrape extra honey off the bottom of the bowl before popping a ball into our mouths, which of course, is the proper way to handle my aunt’s balls.
Aunt June passed away two years ago this September after a battle with lung cancer. Tomorrow I run 5 Miles for Moffitt in her memory. Today, I share her Struffoli recipe with you in her memory.
Aunt June’s Struffoli (Honey Balls )
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Canola oil for frying
1 ½ cups honey
Multi-colored sprinkles (Rainbow colored nonpareils)
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and pulse a few times until crumbly. Add the eggs and vanilla. Pulse until sticky.
Remove and form into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough until ¼ inch thick. Using a knife, cut each piece of dough into ½ inch wide strips.
Then cut each strip into ½ inch squares. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about ½ inch in size. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess.
Using a small fryer, pour enough oil to fill about a third of the way and heat oil to 375°. Fry the dough in batches until lightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate line with paper towels to drain excess oil. Once cooled, transfer balls to a large bowl.
In a large saucepan, heat honey over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally (about 3 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the honey on top of the fried dough. Stir until evenly coated in the honey. Allow the mixture to cool for 2 minutes.
Serve in family style in a large bowl or scoop a few honey balls into cupcake liners. Decorate with sugar sprinkles and allow to set for 2 hours. Struffoli can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for at least a week.
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