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Italian Holiday Cookies Recipe

Italian Holiday Cookies Recipe

Many of our holiday traditions center around the foods my mother made while I was growing up. These cookies, which we called "Strufoli", bring back wonderful memories. —Sue Seymour, Valatie, New York
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 15 min. YIELD:90 servings


  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • 1 cup honey
  • Candy sprinkles


  • 1. In a bowl, combine sugar, lemon peel, vanilla and salt. Add eggs and 2 cups flour; mix well. Turn onto a floured surface and knead in remaining flour (dough will be soft). With a floured knife or scissors, cut into 20 pieces. With hands, roll each piece into pencil shapes. Cut "pencils" into 1/2-in. pieces. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 350°. Fry pieces, a few at a time, for 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place in a large bowl. Heat honey to boiling; pour over cookies and mix well. With a slotted spoon, spoon onto a serving platter and slowly mound into a tree shape if desired. Decorate with candy sprinkles. Cool completely. Yield: about 15 dozen.

Reviews for Italian Holiday Cookies

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cmille9209 User ID: 8082919 215584
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2014

"I've been making this since I was a little girl. We only made this on Christmas Eve for dessert. Keep in mind that some of these balls can get very hard. (Watch your teeth) The only difference with my mom's version is that we did not add lemon peel. We also added almonds to the honey and shaped ours into a wreath shape and sprinkled almonds and sprinkles on top. Try to serve warm if possible they taste sooooo good! As with every version, depending on where you are from the ingredients can change so make the basic version and add your own twist."

msbigbaker User ID: 3940801 215577
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2014

"Almost exactly the way it should be made, but a couple of key ingredients are missing. Before heating up the honey, 1 to 2 cups of candied fruit should be added, as well as Cinnamon to taste. Also, many Italians add either slivered almonds or walnut pieces to this as well. When heating the honey, to the one cup of honey add 2/3 cup of sugar and 1 tbs of lemon rind and heat over a low flame, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is clear in color at this point. Now you can pour this honey mixture over the Struffoli and mix with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a plate and with hands that have been moistened with cold water, shape into a tree shape, if desired. Having wet hands keeps the Struffoli from sticking to your fingers and it is easier to work with them. Lastly, sprinkle the non-pareils over the whole pyramid. Cover with clear plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator if you prefer a hard honey or keep in a cool place such as the garage for a softer honey coating. I put mine in the garage and it works well.

I have been making these for 55 years now and it is my Mom's recipe which was carried down to her by my Grandfather who was a Pastry Chef in Italy. I hope you will enjoy these as much as we do, as it is just not Christmas without STRUFFOLI."

luvbug14 User ID: 2404628 19885
Reviewed Dec. 22, 2007

"i was so excited to find this recipe and can't wait to try it. My grandmother always made these at Christmas time and this recipe is a little me "exact" than her " a little of this" and a "pinch of that"! Hopefully this will give me great results!!)"

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