Cozonac is a classic, simple, sweetened yeast bread with origins in Romania. Traditionally made during Easter and Christmas, this citrus-scented sweet dough is twisted around a nutty filling, creating a spiral design when baked. The result is a festive loaf bread with a tender and soft crumb.
200gramswalnuts or almonds finely ground, about 2 cups
1/2teaspoonground espresso powder
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and sugar.
Add the butter and stir until butter is almost melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl of stand mixture, with the paddle attachment, combine about 1½ cups of flour with the yeast.
Add the milk mixture and combine on low speed for 2-3 minutes. Note: liquid ingredients should be lukewarm
Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes.
In the meanwhile, grate the orange and lemon zest and set aside.
With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs. Scrape down bowl and mix for about 1-2 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract, rum and salt.
Switch to dough hook.
Add the rest of the flour and knead for a few minutes.
Add the citrus zests and continue to knead for about 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. NOTE: If you find that the dough is still sticky, add a few more tablespoons of flour.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl (with butter). Make sure to turn the dough over in order to completely coat the dough with the grease.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise for about 2 hours or until double in size.
In the meanwhile, prepare the filling.
Over medium heat, in a small sauce pan, whisk together the milk and sugar.
Add the almonds and stir until a paste-like consistency is reached. This should take about 15 minutes. Stir often.
Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to stir until a paste like consistency is achieved.
Set aside to cool.
To make the cozonac:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place oven grate to bottom third. Line 2 (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough and divide into four equal parts.
On a lightly floured wooden board, roll out each section into a large rectangle (about 11 x 14) and spread out the nut mixture to within 1/2 inch from the ends.
Starting from the long end, roll the dough to form a log. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Pinch the ends and the seams together.
Twist two pieces of log together and place in prepared loaf pan.
Brush the tops with a beaten egg and allow to double in size. This can take 45- 60 minutes.
Sprinkle a little sugar over the top and bake for about 45 minutes. Feel free to place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the tops to prevent over browning.
Allow to cool completely before slicing into them.
Recipe will yield two loaves.Can use a mixture of ground nuts for the filling. I have used almond flour with great results.Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used. *adapted from Home Cooking in Montana