Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hazelnut Struffoli

All images © Valery Rizzo

Happy New Year everyone! another year has passed and as we look back at all the things we have achieved we also look forward to starting the next year with new and even better goals of achievement, exploration and expansion, whether they be personal, career or family focused goals. 

For the New Year I made my first ever Struffoli, to enjoy with friends and a nice bottle of Prosecco. The urge came to me while shopping with my father for our Thanksgiving feast and we came across these bright Castella neon rainbow sprinkles in one of his favorite Italian specialty shops in Bay Ridge, Coluccio. Traditionally Struffoli are a Neoplolitan Christmas dessert which are little balls of dough (think of doughnuts) which are fried and drenched with a mixture of honey, sugar and lemon juice, formed into the shape of a wreath and then showered with colored sprinkles. I also had a jar of Brooklyn Honey left over from my CSA share this year which I thought would be perfect to use. I found a nice video and recipe from Giada De Laurentiis which I liked because it mixes roasted hazelnuts with the dough balls to give it that extra special something and also adds lemon and orange rinds, vanilla and dry wine wine to the dough mixture for flavor and tones of citrus. I then substituted organic cane sugar found in bulk at the Park Slope Food Coop, instead of the white granulated sugar in the hopes of somehow making it a bit more healthy. I also highly recommend a deep frying thermometer as well as making it with family and some good music as the rolling of the dough balls can be tough without help. I heard my aunt Tina had a team of people helping her and I seriously was in the need of a team!

I also made the Struffoli in memory of my beautiful zia Carmela who I have fond childhood memories of with me seated in a highchair in the upstairs kitchen watching her make her Struffoli. I will truely miss her letters from Italy she would try to write to me in the English she remembered after moving back to Italy and so this was also for Carmela who passed away last year at the age of 96.


  1. Your struffoli look absolutely fantastic! I like the idea of using hazelnut instead of candied peel (I don't like it that!) I love nuts!

    Lovely photos! I like the way the child's bracelet matches the neon sprinkles! I decorated my struffoli with sprinkles and sugared almonds (confetti) which was novel, but looked good!

    It was my first time, too, and I think the little "balls" tasted good. An expert told me so!

    Well done, Valery! Good stuff!


  2. Ciao Anna, thanks for your great comment!! I know who your expert was :)) I have to go look at your blog and see your struffoli...
    xo Valery