Monday, December 23, 2013
makes 8 to 10 servings
Struffoli, Italian honey cookies, are a traditional Italian Christmas cookie.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large lemon, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 large orange, zested (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon white wine, such as pinot grigio
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola oil, for frying
1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Multicoloured sugar sprinkles, for decoration
Powdered sugar, for dusting, optional
create the dough:
Pulse together 2 cups of flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor until evenly distributed. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs, wine, and vanilla and continue pulsing until the mixture forms a ball. Remove the dough ball from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
form the cookies:
Divide the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces and, one at a time, roll out each piece of dough into ropes about the size of a pencil, 1/4-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch long pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a hazelnut. Lightly dredge the dough balls in flour, shaking off any excess.
fry the dough balls:
Fry the formed dough balls until golden brown in a deep pot or frying pan in which about 2 inches of the oil has been heated to 375 degrees F. (or use a deep fryer filled with the manufacturer’s dictated amount of oil heated to 350 degrees F), about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the fried dough balls to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
coat the cookies in honey:
In a large saucepan over medium heat combine the honey, sugar, and lemon juice, bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the drained cookies and stir until the cookies are coated with the honey mixture. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
Using a large slotted spoon remove the cookies from the pan and arrange the struffoli, in layers, in a Christmas tree shaped pile generously sprinkling each layer with the multi-coloured sprinkles before adding the next level. Dust the pile with powdered sugar if desired.
Struffoli are normally served accompanied by dark espresso coffee generously laced with anisette and served on a small plate for each person to eat with a spoon (to keep your fingers from getting sticky).