Struffoli aka HONEY BALLS! are a traditional Italian delicacy that you most often find around Christmas-time. There’s nothing better than waking up on Christmas morning, opening presents around the Christmas tree with your family, and then digging into a mountain of honey balls.
At 28 years old, I’ve probably eaten THOUSANDS of honey balls throughout my life hehehe. Sticky, sweet, lightly fried dough, garnished with cherries, Jordan almonds, candies, and sprinkles. Ugh. Just amazing. It’s a miracle that I don’t have any cavities… gimme all dat sweetness!
To make vegan struffoli, we used BeeFree Honee instead of traditional honey. The ‘honee’ is made from apples and tastes SO GOOD, just as sweet and sticky as bee honey! In Colorado, I find it at Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. You can use the store locator on their site to find it near you or you can always order online. Also, this is NOT a sponsored post–we just really love their honee.
Usually, struffoli dough is deep-fried until golden brown but I came up with a recipe that you can bake instead. Now, you can still deep-fry the dough balls if you so please and I will leave notes in the recipe on how to do that too. I just find that baking the dough is much easier to do, much less work, and less dangerous because hot oil can be tricky to work with.
The dough comes together in minutes. Just measure all your ingredients into a food processor and mix until a sticky dough forms. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and use a rolling pin to flatten them out. You can either cut or rip pieces of the dough and roll between your hands to form a ball. Bake (or fry) the balls and then cover with sticky, sugary, vegan honey! I like to roast hazelnuts and mix those in but you can garnish with sprinkles, candies, cherries… your choice!
I hope you like this recipe for Vegan Struffoli. If you make it, take a photo and tag us on Instagram @pastabased or leave a comment/rating below.
Sticky, sweet, vegan struffoli aka Italian honey balls made with Bee Free Honee and baked instead of deep-fried.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest from a large lemon
- 2 teaspoons orange zest from half a large orange
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter at room temperature*
- 3 large flax eggs
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine or water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Bee Free Honee
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup hazelnuts roasted**
First, make your three flax eggs by mixing 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 9 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes until thick and gloopy.**
In a food processor, pulse flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt and baking powder until combined.
Cut vegan butter into 1/2-inch thick pieces and add to food processor with dry ingredients. Pulse until coarse.
Add flax egg mixture, white wine (or water), and vanilla extract. Pulse until a sticky dough forms. Remove the blade and use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to smush the dough together until it sticks and is smooth.
Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.*
Once dough is ready, remove from the refrigerator and separate into four equal pieces. Roll each quarter until 1/4-inch thick. Then, cut the flattened dough into 1-inch squares. Roll each squash into a ball, about marble-sized.
Then, cut the flattened dough into 1-inch squares. Roll each squash into a ball, about marble-sized and place them on your baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, roast raw hazelnuts for about 10 minutes.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, pour vegan honee and lemon juice. Let the honee heat up until it's more watery than sticky. Transfer dough balls and roasted hazelnuts into the saucepan and use a spoon to mix and coat.
Place honey balls onto a large plate, pouring excess honey on top. Let cool and serve.
- To fry instead of bake
**One flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water