CNYEats A Taste of Utica Strufoli (Honey Balls)

by Joanne on January 20, 2013

It’s well after the holiday season and the desire to make cookies has finally returned, but not for “best if eaten same day” type cookies.  We don’t like that kind of pressure around here.  After all,  our freezer has barely recovered from all the holiday stash we accumulated.

The Strufoli, or honey ball cookie is a classic Christmas treat.  Since that holiday has come and gone, I decided to turn this recipe into more of a pancake and so embarked on a different honey ball mission.  Honey balls are best eaten the same day otherwise they get hard.  Try my version of the honey pancake and keep it in the freezer to reheat later.

But first, the traditional honey ball!

honey balls

Honey Balls posted by Chris page 198 of our book A Taste of Utica

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 TBS sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 TBS oil
  • 1 jigger rum, brandy, or whiskey
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Honey coating:  1 1/4 cups honey + 1/2 cup sugar + some fine chopped nuts and/or colored sprinkles.

Cook the honey with the sugar about 2 minutes, stirring until the sugar melts.

Mix all the dough ingredients from the eggs to the salt and allow to stand 1 hour. Roll the dough into ropes, cut off small pieces and roll into pea size balls. Deep fry (if you want) until golden brown.  Don’t crowd the pan!  Drain on paper towel.  Add balls, 1 cup at a time to the honey syrup.  Let soak briefly for 1 minute, lift out and drain over the pot. Place on a small flat plate. Sprinkle with decorations (nuts/sprinkles).

The Apple Crumbles version – Honey Pancake

I made a honey patty/pancake/donut by cutting the recipe in half, reducing the sugar slightly and using 1/2 whole wheat flour with regular flour.  I added 1 jigger of coffee brandy, simply for the coffee flavor not because we have brandy with breakfast.  I allowed the dough to sit one hour then rolled it into a 1 3/4 inch x 10 inch log, cutting slices 3/4 inch in size for 14 pieces.

The honey syrup was made up of half honey, half maple syrup with a touch of sugar. It was heated to melt the sugar.

CNYEats Honey Balls1

I fried the slices 4 at a time in 2 TBS of coconut oil for 1 1/2 minutes on one side and 1 1/2 on the other side.  Once my oil got too hot, I had to reduce cooking to 1 minute each side.

Removed to a paper towel lined plate although they weren’t too oily.  Then I dipped the cooked patties into the honey-maple syrup and allowed to drip into a wax paper lined pan.

CNYEats Honey Balls3

I think the “pancake” would have been lighter with regular flour rather than wheat. The honey topping was so good but the texture of the cake was dense.

CNYEats Honey Balls2

After giving them a few hours to relax after cooking, I topped one with ice cream and whipped cream which resulted in a truly decadent, completely sinful delight.

CNYEats A Taste of Utica Stufoli3

Sometimes you need a little honey in your life.  You know, it helps the medicine go down Smile

Have you made honey balls?

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    • At 2013.01.21 10:18, Colleen, The Smart Cookie Cook said:

      I love the no-pressure version with the pancakes! And that super fluffy texture is right up my alley. It looks like a Utica-fied version of a donut. Yum!

      • At 2013.01.22 16:36, Hannah said:

        Mmm, strufoli are one of those recipes that I’ve been meaning to try veganizing for years! I think of it every time the holidays roll around, but then get too busy. Maybe now it the perfect opportunity to give it a go. I even have an excellent vegan “honey” on hand, too. Maybe if I cover them in heart-shaped sprinkles, I can pass it off as a Valentine’s Day dessert. 😉

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