Call them what you will. Around the same time every year, I start to get cravings for these little Italian cookies deep-fried and coated with an abundance of honey and sprinkles. Why, just a few short months ago, I was still stink eying last year’s batch in the Christmas tupperware. I don’t recall ever running out of struffoli. In fact, you’ll never hear me say, “Man, there are no more struffoli. The struffoli have all been eaten!” This never happens. However, around the first week in December, all knowledge of last year’s rejects escapes my memory and I am left CRAVING this year’s batch, which I know will be even more delicious than its predecessor.
I pulled out my cookbook, full of egg splatters and family recipes, and checked off the ingredients. It had been a few years since I personally made these cookies but was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach someone else how to make them. So, as with many recipes, we started with an empty bowl.
This year (having been visiting another branch of the family) I assumed the role of Grandma, supervising all honeyball productivity. Between me, my cousins, their children and my sister, we had our own sweatshop of bakers. At this point, 3lbs of flour needed to be added to the dough. I know, 3lbs is a lot. Too much, you might say. This was everyone’s concern since getting recipes from anyone in my family is like a game of telephone. However, the amount was confirmed and the troops carried on.
Very much like Grandma does, once I was sure everyone was cutting the dough into the correct size, I made my way to the kitchen to heat up a large pot of oil. Needless to say, I earned another battle scar to add to my collection. This is why Grandma is in charge of the oil…
Of course, the most important step of all, the namesake, honey is poured on top of the fried dough. It’s important to remember to be generous here. Months down the line, the extra honey will be appreciated.
Moral of the story? Give someone a batch of cookies, they’ll eat for a day. Teach someone to make struffoli, you’ll play “grandma” for the rest of your life.