Italian Cookie Recipes – Struffoli

It’s that time of year when we yearn for the comforts we find in our kitchen. With memories of cookies piled high and relatives sitting at our table, we are drawn to recreate the scents and tastes of our childhood. I recall when visitors would bring a plate of cookies they had made and I would get to taste the many varieties of pizelles, butter cookies and if I was lucky, Struffoli. In exchange, we would bring a plate of our homemade goodies to friends and relatives.

We may not be able to visit friends and relatives this year, but we can still enjoy the warmth of our kitchen when cookies bake in the oven, the sweet scent of chocolate and the comfort that following a treasured family recipe can bring.

Baking cookies is an art form, passed down from generations of grandmothers who huddled in their basement kitchens, mixing, rolling and cutting big batches of cookies. And everyone knows the way an Italian shows their love is to feed you!

We start the season with Struffoli and a simple recipe from Taste of Home. I admit, my favorite part of Struffoli is the sticky honey. In fact, we called these honey balls when I was growing up. After you make a mountain like this photo, drizzle a little extra honey on it. Enjoy!

Italian Holiday Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home


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


  • In a bowl, combine sugar, lemon zest, 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.

If you have a favorite Italian cookie recipe that you want to share, please send it to me at along with a brief story behind it. You can also include a photo of the cookies or of your family enjoying them!

Angela DiCicco

The Italian Grandmama

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