Cozonac is a traditional Romanian Easter Bread that is fun to make and ridiculously delicious!
What is cozonac?
Cozonac is a slightly sweetened yeast bread that is traditionally served around Christmas and Easter.
It is filled with various ingredients. Orange, lemon, rum extract, cocoa powder, nuts or Turkish delight. Like many traditional recipes, it varies between regions.
The dough itself is a simple yeast dough, which is similar to Gugelhopf. That is flavored with citrus.
The filling is very easy and contains the cocoa powder, nuts, powdered sugar and rum extract. Raisins are soaked with rum extract or vanilla.
Once the dough and filling are made, the bread is rolled cinnamon roll style to make swirls in the bread. It is a fun effect.
What you need
- warm milk
- lemon zest
- melted butter
What you need for filling
- powdered sugar
- cocoa powder
- ground walnuts
- Warm milk. Add milk, butter and vanilla to mixer bowl. Allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
- Mix dry ingredients in bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix thoroughly. Knead about 6 minutes by hand or with dough hook. Place dough in greased, clean bowl. Allow to rise 1.5-2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Add vanilla and water to raisins in a small bowl. Soak about 10 minutes.
- Add filling ingredients to another bowl.
- Mix well.
- Remove dough from bowl to floured board.
- Cut dough in half.
- Roll one half of dough into long rectangle.
- Drain raisins.
- Beat egg.
- Sprinkle half of filling on rectangle. Sprinkle with half of raisins. Brush top edge with egg.
- Begin to roll dough along long side of rectangle, tightly.
- Pinch seams.
- Repeat with second piece of dough.
- Twist the two rolls together. Place in bread pan lined with parchment paper. Let rise about 1 hour.
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until bread is golden brown and internal temperature is above 190°F. Cover bread with foil loosely, if it is getting too brown. Cool completely before cutting.
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Cozonac – Romanian Christmas & Easter Bread
To assemble bread
- 1 egg
- brown sugar or turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top
- Warm milk, according to package directions, 105-120°F, (43°C)
- Add milk to mixer bowl with eggs, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, vanilla, rum extract and yeast. Stir. Allow to bloom 5 minutes, until bubbly.
- Add remaining ingredients, about 1 cup and mix. thoroughly.
- With dough hook of mixer, or by hand, knead bread 6-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Add more flour 2 tablespoons at a time if dough is very sticky.
- Place dough in oiled, clean bowl. Turn dough over so all sides are oiled. Cover with kitchen towel.
- Place in warm spot. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Add raisins to a small bowl. Cover with water mixed with vanilla, or rum extract.
- Combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
To assemble bread
- Once dough has risen, cut dough in half. Then cut each half in half again.
- Roll one piece of dough into a long rectangle, about ½" thick.
- Sprinkle dough with ¼ of the filling. Then sprinkle on ¼ of the raisins, leaving ½" from the top edge of dough without filling.
- Roll along the long edge of dough, tightly, into a log. Whisk the egg add brush a layer of egg along the top edge. Pinch ends and seams to seal.
- Continue with the other 3 pieces of dough.
- Line bread pans with parchment paper.
- Twist 2 of the logs together. Place in bread pan.
- Continue with the other 2 logs. Place them in another bread pan.
- Cover bread. Let rise for 40 minutes to 1 hour, in a warm place.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush top of breads with remaining egg. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake 40 minutes to 1 hour, until golden browned and internal temperature reaches 190°F
Originally published 4/10/20