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Italian Honey Clusters

My mother made these treats flavored with cinnamon and anise for neighbors, teachers and anyone who stopped by. Make sure the honey doesn’t boil longer than a minute or it could burn.—Sarah Knoblock, Hyde Park, Indiana
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. + standing Cook: 5 min./batch
  • Makes
    about 2 dozen


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon aniseed, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Nonpareils, optional


  • Line 24 muffin cups with paper or foil liners. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, aniseseed and salt. Stir in eggs and milk. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Shape into a disk; wrap and let stand 1 hour.
  • Divide dough into 6 portions. Roll each portion into 1/2-in.-thick ropes; cut crosswise 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 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place dough pieces in a large heatproof bowl and keep warm in a 200° oven.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, combine honey and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil 1 minute. Immediately remove from heat and drizzle over dough pieces. Stir to coat. Immediately spoon into prepared cups. Sprinkle with pine nuts and, if desired, nonpareils.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 161 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 31mg cholesterol, 27mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

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  • MsB2
    Feb 3, 2020

    My girlfriend’s mother used to make these at Christmastime. Although, their family did not use the anise seed, they are wonderful and sticky and fun to eat. She called them by a traditional Italian name which escapes me.

  • lindaaiello
    Apr 30, 2019

    My mother in law made this struffoli for holidays, and like Ellen said, we made a tower of the crunchy little balls with everyone breaking off pieces. This recipe is close to hers. A little easier I think. WE leave out anise (kids dont like) and add almond and vanilla. I had forgotten about this recipe so thank you for reminding me we were missing something for the holidays. Lindy

  • Ellen
    Mar 26, 2019

    This is the Italian traditional dessert called Struffoli where the balls are placed in a wreath or tower and served as a centerpiece on the dessert table at Easter or Christmas. We always had this on our table when I was a child. It is so delicious. My recipe calls for additional lemon and orange zest and pignoli nuts.