Desserts / Holidays / Pastry and Pies / Writing

Struffoli Italian Confetti Honey Balls

Struffoli Happy Easter Honey Balls

Struffoli, strufoli, struffoli—Italian Honey Balls! A Neapolitan dessert my Grandma Micaletti brought to every Easter Sunday family celebration I can remember—since I was a little girl.

Grandma Micaletti, my dad’s mom, didn’t cook. She was a bakery girl. There never was a Struffoli recipe handed down in our family.

My mom’s family was from Abruzzi. The Easter lamb cake and baskets made of braided bread with eggs still in the shell covered with the braided bread, Ricotta pie and Shattone. We watched, helped and learned. But never Struffoli!

This year, in honor of Grandma Micaletti, I wanted to make the sticky honey balls covered with colorful candies. I didn’t even know the name Struffoli until Thursday, when Tara told me Struffoli in Italian means confetti! Duh. It looks like confetti convention!

Taking a lesson from Grandma… I called D’amato’s Italian Bakery on Grand Avenue in Chicago, they knew what I was talking about… they sell the ready-made Struffoli like Grandma used to bring on Easter. Sorry to say they don’t have a website, but I called them after a request from Toni on the East Coast and they said I could post their phone number and they would work with you. D’amato’s phone number is 1-312-733-5456.

I asked if I could just order the deep-fried puffballs for my assemblage? Motivated by my “fear of frying!”

They were a little surprised at my request but said OK!  Jeanette, D’amato’s baker told me how to make the honey coating and an ancient cookbook of my mom’s guided me through the steps.

“Struffoli? You’re making sticky honey-balls?” Some of those sticky honey-balls were so hard… to quote my sister Carmen, “You were afraid you could break a tooth!”

Not these. The deep-fried dough balls from D’Amato’s were like tiny cream-puff pastry balls, not dense and hard.

But the finished Struffoli, like our memories is still sweet and sticky!

Clusters of Honey Balls

Struffoli Italian Honey Clusters

Order the deep-fried balls from an Italian bakery.

3 bags, (1½ pound bags) They are very light. (I had extra)

3 cups liquid honey

3 tablespoons sugar

3  (3 oz.) jars of Rainbow Nonpareil candies


Preheat oven 300˚ F.

Tiny Deep-Fried Cream Puff Shells

Place balls in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 minutes. Repeat until all deep-fried balls are warm.

In a 2 quart saucepan or skillet, cook the honey and sugar over low heat about 5 minutes.

Heated Deep-Fried Balls In Honey

Remove from heat and add deep-fried pieces.

Stir constantly until all the pieces are coated with the honey-sugar mixture.

Remove Coated Pieces With Slotted Spoon

Remove the coated pieces with a slotted spoon into a bowl.

Sprinkle With Rainbow Nonpareils

Sprinkle with Nonpareils.

Start Base Layer Sprinkle Nonpareils

Remove to a large serving platter and arrange in large cone shaped mound.

Sprinkle layer.

Build Layers Sprinkle Each Layer With Nonpareils

Add more layers and sprinkle each layer.

Chill in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.

The recipe says it will last up to a month.

Don’t you believe it…unless there are no kids around!

Struffoli Honey Clusters

Happy Easter!


33 thoughts on “Struffoli Italian Confetti Honey Balls

  1. Now that looks like Spring!! Wow, I can just see all the sticky fingers and happy faces.. Thanks for sharing your memories with us, I love them.

  2. I’m wondering if you live near D’Amato’s, or if they shipped to you? I’d love to find some of these, but can’t locate any at a bakery near me (East Coast). Thanks.

    • Dear Toni, D’amato’s is in Chicago. I called them 1 312-733-5456 and asked if they would ship. They said they are soooo busy, but if you called and made arrangements with them, they would be happy to work with you! Good Luck! Enjoy. Adagio

    • Dear Don, you can purchase the balls through D’amato’s in Chicago.Their number is 1 312-733-5456 they said if you called and made arrangements with them, they would be happy to work with you! Good Luck! Enjoy. Adagio

  3. They look wonderful, but there’s no recipe! Go to an Italian bakery and BUY them? That’s like having a meatball recipe which instructs: “Go to the delicatessen and buy the meatballs and a jar of sauce. Remove lid from jar, pour contents into pot over medium flame, add meatballs and cook until heated. Transfer to a colorful platter and serve. Mmmm delicious. Prep time: 90 seconds.”

    • Anthony! You are too funny. I hate frying…Which is what you have to do to make these…but there is a recipe and in the spirit of Christmas I will write out the recipe and post it in pages… just for you! Monday.Thanks for your funny comment. I grin everytime I think of it.It’s comments like yours that make blogging fun.

      • I wait anxiously for the struffoli recipe and I thank you for your thoughtfulness. In the meantime I will attempt ro rationalize how an Italian cook gets through life who doesn’t like to fry. How do you make veal cutlets? Let me guess…you put them in a pop up toaster. How clever! An Italian cook who doesn’t like to fry is like a German baker who doesn’t like to use the oven! Maybe a quiet week away in the country will help you conquer the frying phobia. Anyhow I will send you my family recipe for cuchidada, a fig, raisin, and nut filled Christmas cookie which you will love or hate. Don’t worry it’s fry free.

  4. Pingback: Struffoli Balls Not From the Bakery For Anthony « Italian Handful

  5. No not at all. On Monday two friends of mine and I travelled 67 miles (one way) to go to Espositio’s, a pork store in Brooklyn to buy the world’s best Provalone.(We all live in Wilton, Connecticut) Then we went for lunch at the Queen Restaurant and polished off our shopping with a stop at Fortunatos for some freshly baked Sfogliatelle. All three of us come originally from Brooklyn. I met Frank on Sept 9, 1939 on the first day of 1st grade. We have been each others closest friend ever since, best man in each others wedding godfather to our children etc.His wife, a French Canadian, makes the best Pizza Rustica in the world using Frank’s mother’s recipe with a few twists. I met Mike years later in business, but he went to my high school in Brooklyn,St. Michael’s, now known as Xaverian High School.
    I am planning to make the struffoli today! and I thank you for your christmas-present recipe! I am having trouble opening it up but I will figure it out. I will let you know how it turns out! I have any number of people awaiting the results!

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  7. Hello everyone,
    Wow – I didn’t realize that there was such an interest in Honey Balls (Struffoli). Turns out – I grew up on these as my grandmother was originally from Naples and the recipe that I have is the one her mom brought to the US in the late 18oo’s – this recipe is over the top- amazing.I have been very careful in sharing this recipe – in fact I have only given it to a life long best buddy of mine. You can say that it’s a family secret!! After trolling the web and reading others recipes I see that there are some minor details and ingredients left out that make a big difference in taste and texture. I don’t believe that it was purposely done or maybe I’m being naive but my recipe is different from all that I have found.

    In any event I’m thinking about turning my kitchen into a “Honey Ball factory” this holiday season and selling them on the internet – my wife has been after me for years to do this and I’m seriously considering it.
    I am open to any ideas as to how to go about marketing them as I am old school and have very little internet marketing experience.
    Any thoughts?

    • Wow! is right! What a great idea! Some of my readers have asked where they can purchase the balls ready made for shipping. My Grandmother was from Naples also… and she was the one who always brought the beautiful dessert that enchanted me as a child. I love the name, Honey Ball Factory. I also was new to the web when I started my blog… and am delighted with the response and thoughts from readers like you.
      I suggest you register Honey Ball FActory as a website,only costs about $12.00 a year on Go When you go to register, have your credit card next to you and be ready after you put you name in.Only buy a .com they try to sell many others- .net, .me, etc.( People surf for good names and buy them intending to charge you in reselling.) Then you have secured your web name for orders!!!! The marketing is something I haven’t explored yet. I hope this helps. The library has great books on it though and look for a Community college or class offering internet marketing, take it, it’s fun! And keep me posted. Best of luck to you! Adagio

    • Thank you Riccardo, how right you are… But we loved the Struffoli in all it’s glorious stickiness so much we had the Tree for Christmas and Easter! Tradition indulged by my Neapolitan Grandmother! You “gotta love it!”

  8. Pingback: Easter Reveries | Notes from a Jersey Girl

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