I grew up eating Cozonac every year around the holidays so I figured it’s time for me to master this delicious sweet bread so that one day I can pass along the tradition to my kids. I’m determined to perfect this recipe! Thanks to modern technology I used a bread machine for the kneading, but I definitely have to attempt this recipe by hand like my grandma and great grandma used to do. Either way, the flavor is delicious and it satisfies my Cozonac craving!
Yields Two Loaves
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 oz melted butter cooled
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 6 cups flour
- 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Zest from one orange
- Zest from half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons yeast
For the filling
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
- Milk (enough to make a paste out of the mixture)
For the glaze
- One egg yolk beaten
- Dissolve sugar in lukewarm milk. Add honey, butter, vegetable oil, lemon juice, orange juice, lemon zest, orange zest, vanilla, and whisked eggs.
- Place your mixture in the bread machine pan. Next measure out your flour and place on top. Add yeast and salt.
- Turn your machine to the dough setting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- During the last few minutes make your filling by placing all the ingredients into a bowl and mixing enough milk in to make a paste.
- Once dough is done, take it out onto a work surface and divide it into two equal pieces. Put some oil on your hands to make the dough easier to work with. Spread dough out into a rectangle the length of your loaf pan and about triple the width. Spread your mixture onto dough. Roll it up and place into a greased loaf pan. If you want a braided Cozonac, do the same process but with three small pieces of dough and then braid them together.
- Cover the loaf pans with a dish cloth and let dough rest for about 30 minutes to an hour. Right before baking, brush dough with egg yolk.
- Bake in oven for about 40-50 minutes, testing the dough with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.
- Let bread cool completely before cutting.
This sweet bread keeps very fresh and gets more and more moist if you wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap and store in a plastic bag.