~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Romanian Cozonac (nut filled)

Romanian Cozonac (nut filled)...My Husband and I both grew up on this sweet bread that was often filled with nuts, rahat/lokum or raisins. I think our favorite was the nut filled ones...the more filling the better! Both our moms would make them on special occasions, usually Christmas and Easter. It always smelled so comforting in the kitchen with the aroma of orange/lemon peel, rum , butter , etc. It was especially warm in the kitchen... the windows were foggy and we kids had to be careful when we opened the door so as not to get any drafts of cold air. Watching mom "beat" the dough was especially entertaining! What great memories linger....

Since I got married, I ventured out to find a recipe that would work for me. Mom's recipe was her own.... a basic cozonac recipe with the additions of a little of this and a little of that until it felt just right. I tried many recipes and have finally come up with my own version. This version works for me , though I am always on the lookout to better improve it! My husband loves this version as it has quite a bit more nut filling than others.

This sweet bread dough recipe makes 2 loaves. This time I doubled the recipe and made four loaves. I also doubled the filling. I find that freezing the loaves makes them moist and not dry. So, I freeze mine before cutting into it. Though we have often had them warm, right out of the oven as well.

Update 1: Please check my revised version by clicking HERE

Update 2: I sort of felt the need to update a few photos of the cozonac I make now( still left most of the old photos for memories sake:)... but I now make the jelly roll in 2 pieces and twist...top photo is of 2 jelly rolls(from 1/2 of the dough), twisted and formed in an oval(the shape of the letter O) before placing in pan. 

Update 3: Took a photo 11/19/12  for clarity:)
NOTE: Cozonac, in general, isn't such an easy recipe. I have to say that my version has quite a bit of filling...so there might be the chance of having the cozonac "fall" or have a hole in the middle. I haven't deviated from this recipe for years....but there are a few tips worth mentioning(some are mentioned throughout the post as well)...to help you out, especially if you are making it for the first time.
  • make the filling a day before....this allows it to cool completely... and you aren't rushed when making the dough., just bring the filling back to room temp.
  • try not to double the dough recipe and cook 4 loaves of cozonac on the same day...unless you have a professional oven that can take all four loaves at the same time and you have extra help( basically while the first couple of loaves bake, the subsequent loaves can over-rise)or stagger the baking through out the day.
  • the dough sometimes takes a bit longer to rise than what I listed.... time is written only as a reference, you want the dough to be doubled in size.
  • braid the dough...this helps quite a bit with minimizing "tunnels".
  • don't let the dough over-rise after being placed in the forms...this is quite important...it will continue to rise in the oven
  • try to really cook down the filling...you don't want it too wet....
  • recipe uses instant yeast so if your house is especially warm, the dough will rise much faster, so keep that in mind...especially after it has been placed in the loaf pan.
  • you might want to use less filling.... or use another filling ....the traditional egg white, sugar and ground nuts
  • try not to underbake...cover the cozonac(lightly) with tin foil so that it doesn't burn...leave it in the oven a bit more rather than less...if in doubt, lower the heat towards the end, if need be.
  • have the kitchen warm.... changes in temperature can cause the cozonac to fall.
  • bake the cozonac in the bottom third of oven(especially when you have an electric oven) ...as baking it close to the top heating element will make the top of the cozonac dough rise too fast and can cause the cozonac to fall later.
  • leave the cozonac to cool down in the pan...at least most of the cooling down. I most often use a butter knife to release the the sides of the cozonac as well.
  • lay the cozonac on its side for a few minutes when cooling the cozonac....and then switch it on its other side for a few more minutes.
Even after abiding by these tips...things can happen... even to experienced bakers. So, don't expect perfection. But hopefully, you will enjoy it. Regardless if there's a hole in the middle or you have tunnels. The cozonac will still taste delicious:).

Nut Filling: for 2 loaves

You will need:

10 oz (or about 2 1/2 cups) ground walnuts(or a mixture of nuts you have on hand)
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup real rum( I use .5 oz extract) *
1 tsp orange extract
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp ground espresso(optional...just intensifies the chocolate flavor)
1/4 cup cocoa (optional)
* I used extract and cut down on the amount... I will use .5 oz rum extract for the bread dough and .5 oz rum extract for the filling...that is a total of one bottle(1 oz) of rum extract. I sometimes add a splash or two of vanilla as well:).

1. In a saucepan, melt sugar in milk.

2. Add walnuts and keep stirring every so often... until thickened (10-15 minutes)

3. Add cocoa and flavorings. Cook some more to the point that the filling is paste-like. (I think that if the filling is too wet it can cause quite a bit if steam in the final baking stage...causing the cozonac to fall).

4. Set aside to cool....it should thicken even further as it sits.

5. Since I doubled the recipe, I split the filling into 4 equal parts...but you should have 2 equal parts....if you are not doubling it.

~You may play around with the flavorings to your liking. Amounts are approximate.~
If you want, you can limit the amount of filling you use, and keep the rest for another time.... or use your favorite filling.

Sweet Bread Dough Recipe: for 2 loaves

4-5 cups bread flour( more like 5 cups)
1 cup milk
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsps instant yeast(you could use rapid rise)
3/4 cup (170 grams/6oz) butter*
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt, ( I have started using 1/2 tsp )
lemon/orange zest( I use about 1 TBS orange and 1-2 tsp lemon zest)
rum/vanilla extract( I use .5 oz rum and a splash of vanilla extract)
* I like to use salted butter

~1 beaten egg (for brushing the top of the loaves)

1. Prepare your loaf pans by buttering and placing a piece of buttered parchment paper at the bottom to ensure that the loaf will not stick in the final baking stage.

2. In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar... and salt.

3. Let cool till just warm.
4. Add beaten eggs and blend to incorporate. Add flavorings lemon/orange zest, rum/vanilla.

5. In mixer bowl, add 2 cups flour and instant yeast. Mix to incorporate the yeast into the flour. Add the wet ingredients and knead for 3 minutes on medium speed.

6. Add rest of flour and knead for an additional 7 minutes using a dough hook. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till almost doubled... in a warm environment. I usually let mine rise in a warm oven. this can usually take from 1 1/2- 2 hours or so....keep in mind to let it rise to almost double in size.

7. Oil your counter space and plop the dough onto it.

8. Cut the dough in half to yield two equal parts.

9. Roll one part into a large rectangle( 11x14 approximate) and spread nut filling to within 1/2 inch of the edge.

10. Roll dough in pinwheel fashion....I now, just braid the dough.

11. Place rolled loaf in prepared pan and repeat with the remaining loaf. Brush the top of the loaves with a beaten egg.

12. Let rise in a warm oven till the dough reaches the top of the pan...approx 40 minutes or so...this definitely depends on how warm or cold your house is. You don't want it to over rise as it will deflate in the final baking stage from all the heavy filling.

13. Bake in a preheated 375 deg. oven for 10-12 minutes , then place a sheet of aluminum foil lightly covering the tops. They will over brown and burn if you don't do this. Bake for an additional 30-35 minutes...or until nicely golden brown all over. Let cozonac cool down a bit in the pan and then remove from pans... you can lay the cozonac on its side* to cool completely.... and switch from side to side.

14. Sprinkle with powdered sugar....totally optional.

15. Cool completely and wrap well in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze the loaves. Or you can cut a few slices and eat it warm:)!


Ashleyta said...

Oh mama! Does that look YUMMMMYYY. So many happy memories :-)

Ellie said...

Aren't they happy memmories!! Thanks....

Liliana said...

I remember eating this delicious sweet bread in Romania! I was so happy I found the recipe on your blog. I made Cozonac for the Culinary around the World event I particpated in using your recipe and linked it back to your blog.

Thanks for sharing the recipe. My family LOVED it and I will definitely make it again.

Bloggin' Mama said...

Okay before I go ahead and say how wonderful your recipe is and how thankful i am that you took the time to post this on your blog, I just want to say that I have been on a hunt for a good cozonac recipe for YEARS and I am so glad that I finally found one! :) I spent the afternoon making my 2 wonderful loaves and when I took that first bite it was pure HEAVEN!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You make a pregnant woman in Michigan very very happy today! :)

Ellie said...

Thanks for the very nice comments! I am so glad that the recipes worked for you....isn't it nice to be able to share our recipes?!

Unknown said...

Just stumbled over your blog, because I'm trying to make "cozonac" for Easter. One question: what flour is best, if you buy in the US? All-purpose or cake flower? They have different protein levels and I think they behave somewhat differently. Thank you! The pics look amazing.

Ellie said...

Monica, I use all purpose flour and sometimes use bread flour,depending on what I have on hand. I never use cake flour for this type of recipe... You want to have a higher protein flour so that it will withstand the amount of filling.

Unknown said...

Thank you Ellie! I'm starting right now. Wish me luck :-)

Unknown said...

I love this recipe! I found it because I am currently trying to learn the Romanian language and was searching for more information about the culture. I had never made bread before in my life (and I only started cooking about two months ago), but this came out so delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe! I tried the cozonac when it was cold, but I think that I like it much more when it is warm and will continue to eat it that way.

Ellie said...

Thanks so much for your comment. It is wonderful that it came out for you...wow, and you have just started cooking! I am really glad that you liked it.

Anonymous said...

I also just happened across your site and was so happy to see the Romanian recipes and all the great step by step instructions! Thank you for sharing all this. Just two questions: what size of loaf pan is best for this, and I don't have a good mixer, can I just kneed the dough by hand in place of mixing it? How much kneeding would you recommend for this? Thanks again and Domnul cu voi! :)

Anonymous said...

I also just happened across your site and was so happy to see the Romanian recipes and all the great step by step instructions! Thank you for sharing all this. Just two questions: what size of loaf pan is best for this, and I don't have a good mixer, can I just kneed the dough by hand in place of mixing it? How much kneeding would you recommend for this? Thanks again and Domnul cu voi! :)

Ellie said...

Thanks for dropping by...
I use a 9x5 loaf pan. As for the kneading part, I always use my mixer. But, If you are going to knead it by hand, I would probably knead it for 12-15 minutes. I know that it may seem like a lot, but it is best if you knead it more rather than not enough. The dough should feel soft and pliable. Try not to add too much flour, if it becomes sticky. The more flour you add, the more heavier the loaf. I hope it will work out for you:)~Ellie

Anonymous said...

I posted in the wrong section--

My Romanian daughter and I would like to make this bread together for a church supper that is featuring foods from 'home' countries (we have quite a few immigrants in our congregation, but our daughter is the only child born in another country)--

We are VERY excited about finding a bread with chocolate in it, because all in our family love chocolate, and our Romanian family member especially loves chocolate--


Is this traditional? To have the chocolate? I am not sure we care; we are already excited about doing it--


But it would be helpful to know. We both like your instructions; they are extremely well done, and the pictures are wonderful--

Do you use King Arthur bread flour for this? I know it wouldn't be authentic to put whole wheat in this (we use Montana gold), and we wouldn't do it for the church supper anyway--

but have you ever tried part whole wheat?

Again, thank you very much--

Also, some sites we have googled show that in Romania Turkish Delight (or lokum) was served as well--

is this something with which you are familiar?

Thank you--

My daughter has a festival dress from her province and birth city, which was made for her by a dear friend--

We are thinking that she might wear it that night, IF she wants to. She looks so beautiful in it; it was made specifically for her area; our friend did a lot of research--

it's not easy finding things Romanian; we had to study a long time to find a language program for her, but we succeeded in finding one that pleases her--

THANK you--

mom of and Romanian

Ellie said...

Sorry, it has taken so long to answer. I have been out of the country for some time and haven't had the time to post anything or even respond. I was excited to read a bit about your daughter and was touched with your love for her. Was even more excited that you are a Christian.
Anyway, about the Cozonac.
1. Adding chocolate/cocoa to the filling is common...though you see more of the ones without.
2. Also, the lokum is also popular...you just dice the turkish delights in small pieces and sprinkle them on the dough before rolling it up. You can make the turkish delight at home or use store bought. I am sure there are some great recipes on the internet.
3.You could use King' Arthur flour but any bread flour would work.
4. I highly recommend using the instant yeast...if you can't find it, you can also use the rapid rise version found in small packets.
5. Using whole wheat is not traditional. I have not used it...but,if you want to bring in the whole grains, you can definitely do so. That is what is so neat about cooking at home...you can tweak your recipe to your liking. I would recommend only substituting about 1/3 of the flour with the whole wheat, otherwise, it would be too dense and it would not rise too much.

I hope that helps, and I am happy for you that you were able to bring your daughter into a loving home. God bless you for that!

Let me know if you have any other questions~Ellie

Anonymous said...

HI! I'm a Romanian living in Germany, i stumbled over your blog while looking for instructions on Cozonac baking. Really appreciated your step by step details and tips, this makes life much easier. I hope my kids will enjoy it. Happy season greetings!

Ellie said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment...glad you came by for a visit. I hope your family will enjoy the cozonac. Merry Christmas to you!~Ellie

Antoanela said...

I am so happy you have converted this wonderful comfort food recipe to a N American recipe (ie. cups, regular flour and oven temperature).This is my first time making it for my famiy. My mom doesn't make it, and I left Romania when I was 12, so I was afraid I would never be able to make it. All the other recipes I've come across are cumbersome to use. Wish me luck!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for posting your Romanian Cozonac recipe. My husband is Romanian but has been living in the US for 40 years. He says your recipe is the most authentic he's every had, second only to what his grandmother used to make! It is true that kneading the dough for 12-15 min is a good idea. I've had success every time I've used your recipe. It's very clear and easy to follow..love the pictures too!

Ellie said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and give me your feedback! On top of that, you made my day with the kind compliments received on the cozonac. I am so glad that you and your husband like it! It truly is an honor... so very glad that I could help:)~Ellie

Anonymous said...

I am having my Romanian daughter-in-law over for Christmas dinner. I am so excited to make your bread. I wanted to make something special for her because it is her birthday (Christmas Day) as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made two loaves in the morning and started a second batch as soon as I tried the first one. This is by far the easiest, no fuss, best tasting Cozonac I ever made. Reminds me of my Grandma...
Craciun Fericit.

cristina said...

Thank you for posting this, I have been struggling to make cozonac using Romanian measurements for a long time.
Craciun Fericit! =)

Ellie said...

I appreciate you taking the time to comment, even more so to know that the cozonac came out for you! Happy to know that you liked it, I remember how much I struggled to get it just right. Thank you again for your sweet comment that made my day!~Ellie

Ellie said...


I know exactly what you mean about Romanian measurements:)!... It took me awhile to get this right, and I am happy to be able to share it with you. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!~Ellie

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for the recipe. It came out tasting great!!! one problem i had was that while it was baking a fair amount of the filling came out. i am not sure what i did wrong...do you have any suggestions to help me?
thank you again Lucy

Ellie said...


Hmmm, I am not sure why a fair amount of filling fell out.
1. I am wondering if you sealed the edge of the rolled dough. That helps the filling to stay inside...and the sealed edge should be placed down
2. Also, you might want to seal the side edges of the rolled cozonac.
3. Another reason might be that you rolled the dough too thin and the top swirl layer can break as it bakes and some of the filling might leak out...though the filling shouldn't be runny. But, that would only be a problem for the top swirl layer. Everything else should stay within the cozonac.
4. As I am writing this, I am also thinking that maybe the filling wasn't cooked long enough...maybe it was a bit more on the watery side? The filling should be a paste-like consistency, when cooled.

I really hope that helps.~Ellie

madeinbelgium said...

Hi ellie,

How would you make a cozonac with only chocolate in it due to nut allergies?


Ellie said...


If you have a nut allergy, you can probably replace the nuts with some chocolate chips. I have never made it without the nuts, so what I am suggesting, I have not tried before.

Having said that, I think you can replace some of the nuts with some chocolate chips. You probably would not want to use more than 1 cup of chips.

You can cook the filling.... milk sugar and cocoa until it thickens.(10 -15 minutes) You can then add some chocolate.
I would start out with about 1/2 cup. It should thicken even more. If you feel the consistency is too watery, add a bit more chocolate, not too much(maybe 1/4 cup). Let the filling cool completely. It should be spreadable and thicker.

Another option is to make a ganache filling(basically cream with chocolate) and then just add the flavoring.

Having said ALL this...I have to mention that the if the filling is too heavy, the cozonac can fall. So, try to spread the filling thinly....sort of like making cinnamon rolls.

I hope I haven't confused you too much...these are just suggestions, since I've never made it without the nuts before. But, I hope this works out for you.~Ellie

ps. I am not sure if you are allergic to coconut, but you might want to substitute some finely shredded unsweetened coconut for the nuts...it wouldn't be traditional,but it would taste good:)

madeinbelgium said...

Thank you so much Ellie, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Look forward to playing around with the recipe!

madeinbelgium said...

PS. Would you have a recipe for ciorba?

Ellie said...

Madeinbelgium, Have fun with the cozonac recipe! Make sure you look at my revised version as well. It has a few more tips.

As for the ciorba recipe, I am not sure what kind you would like to make (vegetable? meat?)... Let me know and I'll try to come up with a general recipe for you...~Ellie

madeinbelgium said...

Ellie, I thought that maybe you had one in your repetoire of Roumanian recipes. Ciorba de periciore (I am spelling it quasi phonetically) would be great.
Thank you and have a great weekend.

Ellie said...

Madeinbelgium, Please see my comment under the Faqs Tab...I responded to you there. Hope that helps.~Ellie

Corine said...

Multumesc pentru receta de cozonac! I wanted to make a traditional sweet for Easter and this is perfect! Love the way it looks and the step by step is extrememely helpful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so so much for this recipe. I was so discouraged before finding your blog. My cozonac recipe (original from my Romanian grandmother) called for yeast cake....that I couldn't find anywhere...thank goodness your recipe has instant yeast. We are going to have a great Easter thanks to you!!! God Bless you and Happy Easter!!!

Ellie said...

Thanks so much for stopping by...and for your kind comment. I so hope you like the cozonac recipe. My mom used fresh yeast as well, but I never seem to find it. I prefer the instant yeast...it works for me. May you have a wonderful Easter. May God bless you and your family.~Ellie

Anonymous said...

Oh, arata minunat!!! Am nevoie de cineva care sa il faca pentru mine... Dar poate incerc cand am mai multa energie... Multumesc de reteta.

Ellie said...

Mihaela, Multumesc ...si cu placere. Sper sa iti placa. ~Ellie

Corina said...

I just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe for Easter like I planned to share with my American In-Laws and they were hooked. They loved it so much and fought over who was going to keep what...LOL! Thanks again Ellie. I am now a devoted follower of your blog ;)

Ellie said...

Hi Corina,
Thank you so much for your feedback on the cozonac recipe...I am so glad you and your family enjoyed the cozonac....Thank you for taking the time to write and to let me know...you made my day! It is always neat to find out when someone tries the recipe and likes it too:). I appreciate it! Have a great day.~Ellie

sol bragadiru said...

I am very excited to make this cozonac bread for our christmas dinner. I am a filipina,my husband is a romanian and my friends want me to prepare something different that they never tried, that's why i will try making this special bread.Looks really yummy and that is my husbands' favorite.

Ellie said...

Sol, Thanks for stopping by...I sure hope you like it! Do check the revised version for more info...better photos:) and better technique. I actually prefer the braiding method.
It is especially nice of you to try making this for your family. Have a great Christmas!

sol bragadiru said...

Hi Ellie, I just finished mixing my dough and ready to bake my first Cozonac bread, So exited on how it will come out.Actually my husband is helping me. I'll let you know how my bread came out.Thank you! HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

Ellie said...

Hi Sol, I'm excited to hear how your cozonac came out. Love how your husband is helping:)...hopefully, it will turn out alright:).
Thanks for taking the time to let me know ...
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends...and a Happy New Year! ~Ellie

Anonymous said...

Ellie, my mom and I are trying this for the very first time for Christmas. As we speak, we are waiting for the dough to rise. I wonder how long it typically takes you? I'm finding the dough a bit thick/heavy. Not rising very quickly. Any suggestions for next time? We followed your recipe step by step. Thanks for sharing!!!

Ellie said...

Marina, Thanks for stopping by and trying out the recipe....I have a revised( more info post) do check that out also(if you haven't already:))...
As for the dough being too heavy could you have added too much flour, too packed? I am not really sure why it would be too heavy, aside from that, was it sticky? It should be on the stickier side...
If your liquid(milk, butter, sugar and eggs)is too cold( less than 110 degs.) when adding it to the flour... the dough might take a lot longer to rise.
Also, I am not sure what yeast you used... but I use instant yeast which speeds things up a bit. Hopefully, it was still viable?

The rising time can vary ... I am guessing maybe an hour to 1 1/2 hours.
It is very important to have the dough rise in a WARM environment. I usually just warm my oven for a few seconds and then place the dough to rise there... free from drafts.

I really am hoping the dough will rise for you:)... Do let me know how your cozonac fared... ~Ellie

sol bragadiru said...

Buna Ellie!
The outcome of my first attempt for my Cozonac bread was great! It was a big heat to everyone.My friends really liked it.Thank you so much for your recipe it helped me alot. And everyone said it's really delicious!
Again,Happy Holidays!
Thank you and Hoping for more recipes to come....Blessings to your family!....Te Sarut!

Ellie said...

Wonderful, Sol! So very glad to hear that the cozonac came out for you and that your friends enjoyed it. I am proud of you. Romanian food isn't necessarily the easiest to prepare...so, great job!
Thanks for taking the time to write and to let me know. I am sure that now you can be creative and make your own version:)

Have a wonderful day,
La Multi Ani tie si intreaga familie!
Numai bine

jane said...

When I first came here in Ramania I like to eating a delicious sweet bread and my Husband told me that I should have to learned to make this kind of bread...and till then I always reaching the recipe for that and thanks God that I found the recipe in your blog...And I was so happy that I make it perfectly....thank you so much more power....

Ellie said...

Jane, I am so glad you like the Cozonac recipe...glad I could be of help:). I am sure the cozonac from Romania are a bit different... everyone has their own recipes. But I am glad you enjoyed it!

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback...means a great deal!

Have a great day!

mihaela said...

I have been making this every Christmas and Easter ( and sometimes in between) since 2009 when I discovered your site. I have to thank you again. I send warm thoughts your way....Cozonacul e ca cel facut de mamaia in Teleorman. Multumesc.
Craciun Fericit.

Ellie said...

Oh, Mihaela ...You simply made my day!...Your comment means SO much. What a joy it is to hear that you like the cozonac... as much as we do:). Thank you so much for taking the time to write and let me know your feedback.
Ma bucur ca cozonacul iti aduce aminte de mamaia ta... It doresc tie si intreaga familie un Craciun fericit!

Anonymous said...

Hi there - I'm getting ready to make this cozonac today to take to my parents' house tomorrow for Christmas. I'm going to also make one with turkish delight or Liberty Orcharts Fruit Delights since that was my fave when I was little. Thanks so much for your blog, it's great! I'd be lost if you took the cozonac down. It was a bit hit last year.

Ellie said...

Anon, You have no idea how much your comment means to me:)! I SO appreciate you taking the time to let me know that you enjoy the cozonac recipe. So happy it was well received last year!
I, too am getting ready to make the cozonac today...as my parents are spending Christmas with us:). I'm wanting to make a different variation this year...like you, may substitute some turkish delight/raisins. I would love to braid the cozonac like a challah...
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

eck said...

Good morning. I recently made Hungarian kuglopf - a nod to childhhod memories of my Hungarian grandmother. My parents - both Romanian - pronounced it a huge success but it made them homesick for cozonac. (They emigrated in the 1950s.) My attempt at your recipe will be on the table for New Year's tomorrow along with sarmale and mamaliga!

I've kind of gotten away from these over the years - probably because so few recipes seem to exist in English, with proper cooking times/temps and measurements (e.g. Cook in hot oven until done, lol).

Thank you for helping to keep this wonderful ffod culture alive for people like me and others who want to discover Romanian food. Happy New Year.


Ellie said...

Good Morning Eck,

Thank you SO much for your sweet and kind comment! I'm happy to share my recipes, as I have also learned the hard way:)...mix dough until it feels right, bake until it's done and so on:). If I can be of help to someone else, then it makes my day! And even though I love cooking other cuisines, my hope is to keep the Romanian recipes alive...

I'm thrilled that you would like to have a full-fledged Romanian Dinner for the New Year... I recently made some homemade sausages:), a typical Romanian addition to any meal:).

I'm hoping you will enjoy the cozonac...and if you've made the Hungarian kuglopf, you should have very little problems... as the cozonac is very similar.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful New Year!...and thank you so much for stopping by...

Alina said...

Hello Ellie. I just wanted to say thank you for all the work you put into your blog. The recipes are delicious and so easy to follow. The pictures of every step REALLY help.
I knew exactly what the Cozonac dough should look like at every stage. I made the cozonac for my mother-in-law for Christmas and she ate one whole loaf in a few days.
I even got brave and made the Brazilian cheese balls and they were a hit with my husband. Serious arm workout if you don't have a kitchen aid! But well worth it.

Thanks again!

Ellie said...

Alina, THANK YOU! I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and write such kind words. I'm thrilled the blog is of help to you... I, personally, do so much better when I see step-by-step photos of a recipe. And even though taking the photos is a bit of work for me, I do want those trying out the recipe to see what I have done so that they can replicate it at home themselves.

I was happy to hear that you tried the cozonac recipe:)...and that it was enjoyed!

And yes, I agree the Brazilian Pao de Queijo does take a bit of muscle to work the dough....which is why I switched to using the mixer halfway through:). Glad your husband enjoyed them:)...

Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Ellie for taking the time to post this amazingly picture-ful recipe! I am no Romanian, but lucky me married a wonderful Romanian man who was utterly awestruck when he came back to a home infused with the delicious fragrance of his childhood memory. He said no one had ever made this delicacy for him since his bunica passed away. I can't tell you enough how deeply grateful I am for your generous sharing! :)

Ellie said...

Oh, Abby... you simply made my day! I'm so happy to know I've been of help through the pictures.. sometimes I think I overdo it:)!

But, I'm thrilled you made the cozonac for your husband... I am sure it was extra special for him, and super-sweet of you to bring back those wonderful memories for him. Glad it was a success:)!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback... really means a lot to me! I love knowing that others are enjoying this recipe as much as we are:). Thankful for your sweet and kind comment. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

A big 'hi' and 'pace' from down under! Thank you for your cozonac recipe - my daughter and I made a double batch before Resurrection Sunday - 2 filled with your wonderful walnut filling and 2 with mac. I have made cozonac only twice before, and have to say that this recipe turned out the best. I'm Romanian, born in Serbia, and have lived most of my life in Australia. I had the wonderful privilege of driving through beautiful Montana many years ago - God's creation is magnificent! Thank you for your lovely inspiring blog. Hristos a inviat!

Ellie said...

Anon, Pace! Glad to hear from you... and am thrilled you enjoyed the cozonac. I'm always happy to hear the cozonac is a success to others:)... as my purpose in posting the recipe here( probably too detailed and too busy in verbiage:)) was to help and inspire others to make it at home and enjoy it with loved ones.
But thanks so much for taking the time to write and share your feedback. I really appreciate it. I was thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the recipe.
Glad you were able to visit Montana... God's beauty never ceases to amaze me! I would love to one day make it to Australia , myself:).
Intradevar, Hristos a inviat! ... ce mare har sa fim a Lui!

Anca said...

I just start working on my cozonac. This in my firt time making it. Hope it come out yumiii.

Ellie said...

I sure hope it comes out yummy for you too, Anca:)! Wish you the best...

Anonymous said...

Wow i had to do this for a school project and made it for the class and they loved it! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

Ellie said...

Anon. That's wonderful! So glad the cozonac was a success for you ... and that the class enjoyed it( that's always a plus:)). That sure was a project:)!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop and comment... and letting me know how it went for you. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Andrea said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this cozonac recipe. I have been looking for a recipe to match my grandmother's and have not been able to do so. I am very much looking forward to seeing what other Romanian recipes you have on your blog.
Thanks and God Bless!

Ellie said...

Andrea, Oh, you are very welcome! I am not going to promise that the cozonac will be like your grandmother's ... because, well, you know, grandmother's have that special touch and love that goes into their baking:). But I sure hope you enjoy it... at least a little bit anyway.

And do enjoy your visit here... hopefully you can find another recipe you might want to try.

I sure appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment.

Have a blessed day!

Haseena said...

Hi Ellie, Happy New Year!
I'd been afraid to make cozonac for a long time, because I'm not so good with dough. For Christmas, I made a chocolate swirl bundt cake (Emeril's recipe), because when you cut it, it looks like the cozonac with cocoa swirls :) I figured I would try cozonac on a regular day when the pressure to get it right wouldn't be so high... but it was your featured recipe and I saw it all week when checking out your blog for putting together the Christmas menu. So finally, I decided I would make it for New Year's. All your tips, revisions, photos and detailed steps were so, so helpful. Thanks for taking the time to share this special recipe with others! I've tried different kinds of cozonac during holidays with my in-laws, and my favorite was the cocoa swirl with nuts. So happy that's what you show here! I over-baked mine a bit - I left it longer than you said because the filling that bubbled out of the top still looked wet - and the bottoms were too crispy. I also didn't grind the walnuts the whole way because usually I like walnut chunks. Next time, I'll grind the walnuts more and leave the loaves in the oven for less. But I'm glad I tried making it and got off to a good start. It was still yummy with coffee this morning!
New Year's blessings to you and your family!

Ellie said...

Haseena, Oh, you don't know how much it means to me that you tried the cozonac! I'm really touched that I was able to inspire you to make it. I'll be honest, it took me years to work with yeasted dough and then to be finally comfortable with it. And even now, I have my moments in the kitchen where I feel everything is a failure and nothing seems to come out right. But I've learned that I have to accept those moments to .... it humbles me:). And in actuality these "failures" help me to feel with others that may also be struggling with cooking/baking. I think that's why I take step-by-step photos and write lots of tips and notes:). Maybe it's overload, but my desire is to help my readers to have success.

In any case, I'm rambling on , but I truly appreciate you sharing your feedback, that you enjoyed the cozonac... and that you are willing to try it again:).

Wishing you God's wonderful blessings to you and your family this New Year!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Amazing recipe!!
My born-and-raised ROM husband said I scored 10/10 on this one... I just followed your recipe lol!! I had been wanting to try this one for years and felt too intimidated since i dont have a wondrous mixer, but tried it by hand and it was not that bad! For some reason I had to add like half a cup or a little more extra flour and also bake it for like 12-14 more minutes, but it came out stunning (I braided it) and just a tad gooey and soft in the middle which is my favorite part!! I also sprinkled granulated sugar on after wiping the top with egg right before the second raise, and my husband requested that I again wipe the tops with egg whites only after they came out to give them a glazed look, he said "that's how my grandpa always made it" and he was right, they looked completed! May try throwing in a few raisins next time, but I'm afraid it might get too heavy... Do you think I should substitute them for a bit of the nut filling or just keep the same amount of filling and just not go overboard with raisins??

I have been following you for a couple years now, and you're always my go-to for a great ROM meal recipe!!! ;)
MULTAMESC draga lol! God bless from our home to yours!

Katie, in MN

Ellie said...

Katie, Thank you so much for your kind and sweet comment. It simply made my day!! Thank you for taking the time to write and share your feedback, it means a ton to me that you actually tried the recipe and enjoyed it:)... even better that your husband approved it! Am sure you made your husband proud:).

I LOVE how you tackled the recipe by hand... such determination! I'm very proud of you,and it seems to me that you've done some baking as you knew how to handle the recipe. Adjusting the flour and baking time...oh, and then the sugar glaze:). Love that addition, it does make it look perfect... gives it that Romanian look and the egg white at the end is brilliant! Your husband is a true Romanian:)...

As for adding raisins, I think you are on the right track... you can add a few in the filling.... Just don't add too, too many. If you want, you can add maybe 3/4 of the nut filling(reserve the 1/4 in the freezer for another use) and then add some raisins. But you can maybe also get away with adding some raisins in the actual dough, as you knead it towards the end.
You can play around with the recipe, even if the cozonac "falls" it will still be delicious:)

But Katie, I really appreciate your thoughtful words.. and for following along. So glad I could be of help. It means the world to me:).

Blessings to you and your family.

Alex said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe - it was AMAZING and SO well written and easy to follow! I've never baked anything in my entire life, but wanted to have cozonac for Easter and was pretty much terrified of having to make it...(since everyone says it's so hard to make!), but by following your great instructions it turned out PERFECT!! Everyone I've shared it with loves it, and it's been all around a huge success, and now all my friends are asking for the link to your great food blog:). So thank you again!

Ellie said...

Alex, Oh, that's wonderful!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your feedback. I really appreciate it! It's kind comments like yours that simply make my day... so, thank you.

I'm really happy that you had success with the cozonac and that I could be of help through the detailed post. Sometimes I think I overdo the amount of details... but glad, that in your case, it was of help:). I'm really proud of you though... especially since it was your first try. I'm simply amazed:)! Good for you!

Thank you also for sharing the blog with your friends... means a ton, and I'm humbled.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ellie. Your recipe and a KitchenAid made my Christmas and Easter cooking soooo easy. Mixing together all the ingredients and tossing them on top of the flour, what can be easier than that. The cozonac I made for this Easter was the best I ever made. I had to add a little more flour and knead it longer but I got at last the elastic texture I always wanted. But I also had to hold the poor mixer down as it looked as if it will fly off the counter :). Oh, I also added in the filling rahat or turkish delight. Thank you for the great recipe. Cami

Ellie said...

Cami, Oh, that just makes my day:)! It's just so nice to hear that you liked the cozonac... and adjusted the recipe to get it just right.

But I have to agree, if you have a heavy duty mixer, it really does the job for you! Literally. It then becomes another bread recipe that can be made not only on Christmas or Easter, but any day we have a craving for cozonac:).

Yes, you do have to hold on to the mixer, because it will "walk" away with your dough:). Might not be recommended by KA:). Yet, I'm always impressed with those who tackle the recipe by hand...

Thank you for sharing your feedback and letting me know. I really appreciate it... even more so that you tried the recipe and had a great result:)! Yay!

Anonymous said...

hi Ellie, just found your blog. I was looking for a Romanian cozonac recipe for my nutrition class project to share with my class. I really enjoyed your blog. Amazing recipes and awesome pictures! God bless you, and I miss you :)

Ellie said...

Anon, Thank you! So glad you stopped by. Wish I knew who you were:).

In any case, I hope this recipe works for you and that your nutrition class enjoys it. Hopefully the calories won't deter others from eating it:).

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it!

Have a blessed day...

magda said...

This cracked me up: four loaves! My husband loves to eat cozonaci, so we take out all our pans and have a full day of it, ending up with over 40 loaves. His job is the actual baking, and my job is making sure he has enough pans and enough space. Looking forward to making it (and eating it!) again this Christmastide.

Ellie said...

Magda, Oh, wow... 40 loaves! Though I shouldn't be surprised... I remember my mom scrambling about trying to find pans for the huge amount of dough she needed to use up:). The loaves weren't all big... there were some small, some medium and some regular size... but we always saw the filled pans all over the kitchen as they were proofing:). Though I never did see her making 40 loaves at one time:)...

Glad you and your husband enjoy making cozonac together... that's half the fun. Of course eating the fruit of your labor is the other half:).

Thanks for stopping by... have a Merry Christmas!

Chris Williamson said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I spent two years in the Peace Corps in Romania and ended up losing the recipe that was given to me by my adoptive bunica in my village. Your recipe is nearly identical. This is my second year making it for Christmas and it brings back so many happy memories of Christmas time in Romania. Thank you.

Ellie said...

Chris, You are most welcome! SO glad I could be of help... glad to hear you got the chance to experience Romania... Thank you for your service.

And thanks a bunch for stopping... always love to hear from my readers. It makes my day:)...

Wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas.

Lorene said...

Hi Ellie,
I just made 2 loaves of this bread. My best friend is from Romania and will be having Christmas Eve dinner with us tomorrow and I wanted to give her something from home. They look beautiful, we will see how they taste tomorrow!
Thanks for all the helpful photos and step by step instructions.

Merry Christmas

Ellie said...

Lorene, Aww, that's sweet of you to make the cozonac for your b. friend:)... I sure hope she'll enjoy it! Glad you tried the cozonac.

And you are most welcome for the recipe... so glad I could be of help!

Have a most wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Thanks so much for stopping by...

Lorene said...

My friend was so thrilled with the cozonac! She told all her family and Romanian friends what she received for Christmas. She also insisted I keep a large slice, and it was amazing! I will be making this again for her and me!!

Ellie said...

Lorene, That's awesome!! You simply made my day:)... so thrilled to hear your friend liked her cozonac gift. And how sweet of her to share some with you... that's true friendship!

Thanks a bunch for stopping by again and sharing your story:). Really appreciate it!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I just baked your bread recipe and I gave some to friends. They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!
Thank you for the recipe and the detailed directions and pictures!

Ellie said...

Janet, You are most welcome. So glad to hear it was a success and that everyone enjoyed the cozonac:)... That's just wonderful!

Thanks a ton for the feedback... it made my day:)!

newenglander2 said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe for cozonac! I've been making babka, but it's not the same as cozonac! Can't wait to try it!

Ellie said...

newenglander2, Oh, you are most welcome! I agree, babka is similar, but not the same. The babka will suffice in a pinch, though:)

I sure hope you enjoy the cozonac! And thanks a bunch for stopping by:)...

Anonymous said...

How do you think this recipe would come out if we used gluten-free flour?

Ellie said...

Anon, Hmmm... I don't think you'd have very good success. If you'd be planning to just substitute the wheat flour for GF flour and adjust nothing else, it would not do well.

I'm sure you can make a GF bread recipe... and add some filling to it... but it would never be the same as a gluten version.

But here is a link to a GF babka that s somewhat similar... nothing like the cozonac, but it's worth a try.


Hope that helps.

Jeff said...

Hi Ellie...thanks very much for your recipe and detailed photos...I made your Cozonac Easter weekend for the first time and it turned out great! I enjoyed the challenge of making it and will definitely do so again. My Romanian friend was very impressed with it and blessed it as "authentic" :)

Thanks again,
Jeff M.
Atlanta, GA

Ellie said...

Jeff, Oh, that's awesome! So thrilled to hear you took the cozonac challenge:). It just makes my day to hear from readers who try a recipe I've posted... and the cozonac isn't an easy one:).

Glad to hear you had success with the baking project ... and to have another Romanian give it a thumbs up... well, that's just wonderful! Happy for you:).

Thanks a million for stopping by and sharing your feedback. Really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ellie, I am very grateful for the way you tediously explained your cozonac recipe. My husband is Romanian, and he loves cozonac :) He always told me that his mum makes the ones with walnuts only. I realize you mentioned about it with egg whites. Do you mind telling me how to make cozonac strictly with the walnuts? Thank you very much and God bless!

Ellie said...

Anon, Thanks a bunch for your kind words!

The walnut filling without cacao can be done in a few ways... you can make the filling I've posted and omit the cacao, cooking it longer so that the filling becomes a paste and fold in some beaten egg whites(about 2-3) to lighten it after the filling has cooled.

Another version is to simply beat up egg whites till soft peaks then add sugar to taste. Finely ground walnuts are added until mixture is thick enough to spread... flavorings of choice can be added as well, be it vanilla, rum, or grated citrus peel.

Now, I usually don't measure amounts and I always add sugar to taste. But a safe measurement by the"book" is equal amounts of sugar and walnuts added to beaten egg white. So for about 3 beaten egg whites you'll most likely need about 200 grams of sugar and 200 grams of finely ground walnuts... along with flavorings of choice. I think that should do it for 2 loaves. If you feel it's not enough filling you can do another small batch with an extra egg white.

Now, I like to add the sugar to taste and increase my walnuts. But adjust to your own preference... start with a smaller amount of sugar this way you can add more sugar at the end if needed.

Hope that helps... and enjoy:)!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ellie thank you very much for your meticulous answer and for your time:) I am looking forward to make cozonak for Christmas. God bless you and your family!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for your tips!! I live in Utah and my husband is Romanian. I have a good recipe but I always have holes in the top. I finally thought after making it for the last 10 years I would see if anyone else had the same problem as me! Happy to see your post!

Ellie said...

Rebecca, Glad I could be of help... at least from the viewpoint of knowing someone else had the same problem with "tunnels":)... Braiding the dough helps a lot with that. Enjoy... and have a wonderful Christmas!

Unknown said...

Hi Ellie
My name is Julie and I live in Calgary, Alberta. My boyfriend is from Constanta, Romania and I have to give your Blog the credit it most deserves for my Romanian cuisine adventure in the past couple of years. I have to mention to you that I am from the Philippines. This is my second year making your cozonac and it has become the center of my Christmas,thanksgiving and Easter baking.Thank you, I look forward to more Romanian cooking!

Ellie said...

Hi Julie, Your sweet and kind comment brightened my day! Thank you.

I'm thrilled to hear the Romanian recipes have been of help to you. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and let me know... it means so much to me, just to know I can be of help through the recipes I post.

Julie, I'm real proud of you... to be able to bake the cozonac as a non-Romanian... now, that's simply wonderful! Glad to hear that you've also tried other Romanian recipes:). I'm sure your boyfriend is much appreciative!

Wishing you continual success in the kitchen as you keep cooking and baking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ellie, Happy New Year 2015 !! I'm located in Toronto Canada. Married to my Romanian wife for nearly 10 years and having been a few times to Romania ( Cozonac ) is a special treat that I truly enjoy. I thought I would make at Christmas for my wife. Your explicit directions and tips were excellent. As much as I stayed with the directions my dough came out a little to wet near the end before spreading it out to put it into the pans. The dough raised wonderfully and it actually baked and rose in the oven nicely, the dough slightly fluffy and tasty just the same. Something although went off as due to the wetness of the dough I had to abandon the braided version, it was just soft and wet. I used fresh yeast rather then dry in a 1/4 cup of water, could this possibly have been the issue with my wet dough.
I will try again in the future as it turned out to about 90% of perfection, I just have got to figure out what to tweak next time. I did you bread flour and kneeded by hand rather than a mixer. Great recipe, all the flavours and almost all the textures were there. Definitely a winner.... Thank you.. John

Ellie said...

John, A happy New Year to you as well!

I'm thrilled to hear you tried your hand at baking cozonac... and succeeded:) even though the dough was a bit wet and soft. It's commendable that you kneaded it all by hand!

The only thing I can see that might help in the future is to add a bit of extra flour... the extra 1/4 cup of water added to the fresh yeast would definitely need an adjustment in the flour amount.

I'm not sure if you used the whole 5 cups of flour, or if you used a bit less. In general, when the dough is too soft to braid, additional flour is needed. You will have to be careful not to add too much flour, as the fluffiness and tenderness of the dough will be somewhat diminished... and you'll get a rather heavy loaf.

If you are using fresh yeast and adding additional water to bloom, then I'd start adding another 1/4 cup of flour and working up to 1/2 cup... all this depends on the wetness of the dough. Keep in mind that the dough is generally a sticky dough, so you'll have to work with oiled hands when kneading by hand.

But I think you did an wonderful job... and really, all you'll need next time, is a bit of extra flour:)... I'm hoping it will be just perfect.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback. I really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Hi,my name is Monika & I was wondering if the coronac filling can be too dry ,I'm from Germany but I live in Ontario , Canada & I luv to bake these types of sweet breads .I'm trying this recipe for the first time , it must be in my blood to make these types of baking goodies . Lol ! My mother would bake similar yeast coffee cakes with plums oh & also the Stolen at Christmas time , so I hope mine cozonac turns out . :)

Ellie said...

Monika, So glad to hear you love to bake sweet breads:)... sounds like you have tha love and passion that's needed to produce lovely baked goods:). Coming from Germany, you must know how to bake:)! The plum filled yeast bread sounds delicious.

You know, the cozonac filling should be somewhat moist, because you don't want the filling to fall out when you slice the Cozonac. Care should be taken however when you make the filling so it's not too moist and loose... The filling should paste-like.

Wishing you success... and that you'll enjoy the cozonac. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the recipe. I am now the Cozonac maker for all my families events. Always comes out good. I usually make the dough the day before put it in the refrigerator and finish the next morning.

Ellie said...

Matthew, That's wonderful! SO glad to hear you enjoy the cozonac recipe... and it's good to hear you can make the dough ahead and refrigerate it. Thanks for sharing your feedback. I really appreciate it... it made my day :)! So thank you for taking the time to write!

Suzanne said...

I just made this for our Christmas Around the World party. It turned out perfectly thanks to you fantastically detail instructions and pics. It turned out just like the cozonac in Bistrita, Romania. Working with yeast is quite intimidating for me. Your instructions made it easy. Yes, it is time consuming but it wasn't difficult. It is hard to find a recipe in English (especially with English measurements). Thank you so much for sharing.

Ellie said...

Suzanne, Oh, That's so wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to write and brighten my day:)... I am thrilled to hear you enjoyed the cozonac and that I was able to make it a little bit easier with the detailed instructions.

Thank you for your compliment, I really appreciate it! More than anything, I am just thrilled to hear that you had success:). It is, and has always been, my scope to encourage and help my readers have success in the kitchen. So your comment lifted my spirits. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Ellie, are you Romanian, or how did you learn about this wonderful, authentic cozonac recipe? I tried it, and the cozonac came out just like back home in Romania. My compliments for it, really delicious!

Ellie said...


Thank you for your kind comment. I really appreciate it!

I'm happy to hear that you tried the cozonac and enjoyed it:)...

Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your feedback. It's always an honor to hear that a reader of mine has success with the recipes I post. I try my best to provide as many details as possible to ensure the recipe comes out.

The cozonac recipe is a trial and error of many attempts:)... so I'm glad to hear it was received well and brought back memories of Romania for you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ellie !

reteta aceasta de cozonac este foarte buna. am incercat-o si a iesit foarte gustoasa. eu am mai adaugat si nutela peste umplutura, cand a m intins-o peste aluat.
eu am o nelamurire, daca tot este asa de bun cozonacul, de ce ti-a venit ideea sa il congelezi? nu pot sa inteleg aceasta ideea a ta!!

eu cred ca cel mai bun este sa il mananci proaspat facul, chair si peste zile, tot poti sa il incalzesti putin si este foarte bun!

esti o bucatareasa minunata si retetele tale sunt frumoase!

Ellie said...


Ma bucur ca ai incercat reteta de cozonac... si ca ti-a si placut:)!

Sa sti ca ideea de a congela cozonacii(ca reteta face doi) a fost sa nu mancam asa de mult deodata:). Tot ce este facut de casa sta mult mai bine la congelat decat afara... cozonacul se usuca foarte repede ca nu are conservanti. Oricum, pentru mine, am observat ca sta mult mai bine in congelator... si numai zic, ca imi place sa pot scoate of felie ca supriza( pentru sotul meu, sau musafiri)si chiar o luna dupa ce iam facut... si sa incalzesc o felie si sa fie tot asa de buni (parca iam copt in aceia zi:)).

Apreciez mult cuvintele tale scumpe:)... si ca te-ai oprit nitel sa ma incurajezi:)!

Iti doresc o zi frumoasa!

Diana N. said...

I just made your receipe today and it turned out amazingly good. As a Romanian living in Dallas, I was craving cozonac so I decided to use your receipe. Success!!! Thanks for posting the receipe and the tips to make it even better. I did everything exactly like you except the nut filling. I just used 2 cups of walnuts with a Tsp of cocoa and one of sugar, mixed everything in the food processor . Separately I mixed 2 egg whites until fluffy and mixed it with the nuts. Added a splash of rum extract and one of vanilla and some orange peel . Turned out yummy. So thanks again for the receipe. Merry Christmas . Craciun Fericit ! Diana

Ellie said...

Diana, Oh, that's wonderful to hear! So glad you have it a go:). Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing your feedback... love how you adapted the filling to make it yours. Glad to hear you were able to have cozonac for the Christmas season. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and blessed New Year!

Anonymous said...

Thank u for sharing! I'm making it now. I wonder if it can be frozen raw for future? I would dethaw on counter overnight and bake the day of the event. Have you tried doing that? I'm assuming it would taste fresher this way than cooking it, freezing it and then dethawing? Let me know your thoughts.

Ellie said...

Anon, thank you for stopping by!I am glad you are trying out the cozonac. But no, I have not tried freezing it raw... however I have tried other types of yeasted bread recipes and found the yeast to work better when freshly baked. I know they do that with cinnamon rolls and the likes, but for me it works better to bake and freeze. I find the dough to not rise as well when frozen raw... and it needs to thaw for a LONG time. For me, I just prefer baking the day I make them. Interestingly, I find the flavors more pronounced and the cozonac just as fresh tasting. I reheat it in the oven slightly(can cover in foil if need be)...

However, it's always worth trying out:)... I would love to know that it works when frozen raw. You never know unless you try... and it might just be what works for you:). You could bake one and freeze one and see the difference... since the recipe makes 2 loaves.

Also, another idea is to use the dough and filling and make it as you would cinnamon rolls... just not into loaves. It might work better and be quicker to thaw... Just an idea.

Charline said...

I've been on holiday in Romania twice...wonderful country...today is easter so wanted to prepare Romanian cozonac ...it turns out just perfect for the filing adding to it some 'mac'like the one eaten in Romania...thx a lot for the wonderful recipe you shared.cheers

Ellie said...

Charline, I'm so glad to hear that you've had the opportunity to visit Romania... It made my day to know that you enjoyed the cozonac recipe:). Thank you for stopping by and sharing your version of adding poppy seeds. Sounds delicious!

tavi said...

Hi Ellie.

I made cozonac for the first time on Friday, following your detailed recipe. It came out great, so I want to thank you for taking the time to write it up! I know this is an old post, but since it comes up as the first result on Google for [cozonac recipe], it's clearly a popular one. And for good reason. All the pictures and the tips were extremely helpful.

I followed the steps closely. I made just a few changes: 1) I used 4 eggs instead of 3 -- my "large" eggs looked a bit small. Also, looking at some old recipe books, they suggest more eggs (amusingly, a recipe book from 1985 asks for 14 egg yolks!). 2) I made two fillings: one with cocoa, one without. First I made it with cocoa, and it looked very, um, intense. So I made another for the second cozonac. In the end they were both good, but the cocoa one was drier. 3) I used less sugar for both dough and filling, about 2/3. We like our sweets less sweet. This turned out to be a small mistake, since your recipe I think is not very sweet to start with. I'm so used to reduce the sugar when making desserts in the US, I forgot this is not a US dessert :). 4) I didn't braid, since I found it a bit daunting. This was also a mistake, since the end result has a "tunnel" on top. You warned, I didn't listen, lesson learned.

Thanks again. Happy Easter!

Ellie said...

Tavi, Thanks for taking the time to stop by and write such a sweet comment. I really appreciate it!

I loved hearing the changes you made... sounds like me:)! You know, recipes are made to be adapted, and from the changes, sometimes a great outcome can occur:). The egg yolks in older recipes were there not only to provide tenderness, but also that intense yellow/orange color cozonac is known for. My mom sometimes adds 3-4 regular eggs and then adds in a couple or so yolks. It doesn't really affect the recipe much, as long as you adjust the flour amount by a bit. I've even seen recipes adding a bit of steeped saffron:)

As for the filling, you can opt to use what's more traditional next time... some beaten egg white, sugar and walnuts. It should do the trick just nicely. I just make the cocoa, because my husband prefers it that way... and actually it's not far from the chocolate "babka".

But I am so glad to hear you enjoyed making the cozonac... and I'm thrilled to have inspired you:).
BTW, I am very much like you when it comes to making my sweets less sweet... I always cut the sugar amount down:)

Wishing you a blessed Easter as well!

Anonymous said...

First time making it came out great! Love the sweet bread! Thank you from a fellow Romanian! 5 out of 5!

Ellie said...

Anon, Awww... that's just wonderful!! I'm thrilled you had success. Thank you for making my day... and for taking the time to write and share your feedback. I so appreciate it. And thank you for your kind compliment. I'm just happy you enjoyed the cozonac, because it's such a treat for all of us Romanians:)...

Anna said...

Hey Ellie and a big thanks for posting this recipe. My Romanian boyfriend has been talking about cozonac for some time now, as he misses all the foods from his home. We both live in Finland, I am native Finnish,so Romanian cuisine is not familiar to me, but I will try to tackle this recipe just so I can give my boyfriend a little piece of home away from home. Wish me luck!

Ellie said...

Anna, You are welcome:)... I sure hope you have success with the cozonac and that your boyfriend enjoys it. I think the cozonac is somewhat similar to the Finnish Nissua bread, so so hopefully it will be a bit similar.

Thanks a bunch for stopping by and sharing. Would love to hear that the cozonac to come out for you:)!

Anonymous said...

I love looking for new recipes, for holiday traditional breads from around the world! It is very interesting to me, that it is similar to the rosca recipe, I been baking at Christmas time, for my family for many years now! We use nuts on top, and different seasonal candied fruit. Thank you for sharing your tradition, and you can be sure I will bake this!

Ellie said...

Anon, Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing... and yes, the rosca recipe is a bit similar as it adds rum for flavoring. I agree with you, traditional breads from around the world are always fun to try! I'm hoping you will enjoy this bread as well... have fun baking:).

Anonymous said...

My wife is Romanian and we travel to Bucharest a couple times a year but during the holidays we are mainly stateside. I found this recipe on your site and tried it two years ago and have been making it a few times a year for holidays and special occasions. She absolutely loves it and it takes her back to when she was a kid and makes those times without her family a little easier. So thank you for this and thanks for helping me put a smile on my wife's face!

Ellie said...

Anon, Thank you so much for your sweet and kind words! I'm so glad to hear that the recipe has brought joy to your wife... It just brightens my day to know the recipe is of help to others. I simply love to hear yourr sweet gesture that brings a small bit of Romania in the home. And thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on the cozonac... it means so much!

Have a blessed holiday season with your loved ones.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I have used it the past 3 years to make Christmas cozanac for my Romanian husband. He said it is by far the best he ever tasted. This year I tried something different based on the recommendation from the wife of one of his friends. I bought a $60 2 lb Oster bread maker from Amazon.com. It worked beautifully for the dough cycle! I took it out after the dough cycle and let it rise for another 30 min in a warm oven. For the filling I used 2 beaten egg whites + 1/2 cup sugar + walnuts + grated chocolate + cocoa + vanilla. It was great and the bread maker took out some of the stress !

Ellie said...

Anon, That's wonderful! So glad to hear the bread machine is working for you... I love that you simplified the filling recipe as well:). Now, there's no excuse not to make it more often:).

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your feedback and kind words. I really appreciate it! It always makes happy to hear that others are enjoying the cozonac recipe as well. Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Hello, the recipe and the instructions are simple. But I do have a question: can I substitute the orange/lemon peel with orange/lemon zest?
Trying the recipe this week for Christmas! Thank you!

Ellie said...

Anon, Lemon/orange zest is what you want to use. Technically it is zest... and I wrote peel. Should be zest:).... enjoy!

Rose said...

Ellie thank you so much for your wonderful website and recipes.

My Mother used to make Cozonac and I remember it being a very laborious process. My Aunties taught her how to make it and I remember well having to knead it out and what hard work it was to make.

Your recipe is fantastic and my cozonac was a success - thanks to your fantastic instructions and step-by-step guides. I am so thrilled to have made it for Mum and to be able to introduce it to my teenage daughter for the first time.

Thank you so much, and may God Bless you and your family.

Happy Easter :)


Ellie said...

Rose, Oh... you are most welcome! I'm just thrilled to hear that you had success with the cozonac recipe and that you were able to bring back some memories for your Mum and to make a new one with your daughter. Thank you so much for your sweet and kind comment... it brought joy in my heart to know that I was able to be of help to you. It means a ton that you took the time to write... and I greatly appreciate it!

May you have a most wonderful Easter with your family... remembering God's blessed gift of Life in Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful recipe. My husband is Romanian, and his grandmother is visiting from Romania for a few months and I wanted to try some traditional recipes. The cozonac was delicious, and my husband's grandmother even took seconds! Thank you for a straight forward recipe and all of the helpful photos and instructions. Thus recipe will now be an Easter tradition in my family.

Ellie said...

Anon, Awww... thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and share your result. It simply made my day to hear that you could make your husband's grandmother feel at home. I'm sure she was touched! Glad I could be of help and thrilled to hear you had success. Again, thanks so much for letting me know... really appreciate it.

Have a great day and enjoy your husband's grandmother while she is visiting.

Anca said...

Hello! I tried your recipe today in preparation for our little Christian school's International Food Festival fundraiser. I wanted to attempt saratele and cozonac to add to the salata de vinete and salata de beouf and socata I will be making. Your cozonac turned out absolutely WONDERFUL! The blend of rum, vanilla, citrus, and chocolate are such a hit! It tastes EXACTLY like my mom's and my grandmother's. The whole house smelled amazing and reminded me of my childhood. I used rum extract sent over from Romania (technically made in the Ukraine) because I don't think the American extract is as good. Also, I used all purpose flour and more pecans than walnuts due to what I had on hand. My daughter ate two huge pieces right away and my American husband loved it too and said it would go great with coffee. I will have to try the poppy seed version sometime. This little adventure inspired me to pull out my translated Sanda Marin cookbook and now I'm looking forward to trying more of your recipes! Thank you for posting, the pics, and all the great and helpful hints!

Ellie said...

Anca, Thank you so much for your sweet comment! SO glad to hear your cozonac was well received:). Sounds like you are providing a VERY well rounded Romanian fundraiser... and socata(!), now that brought some memories:). Thank you for taking the time to write and share your feedback... I was blessed!

Sounds like you are very well prepared in expanding your Romanian recipes... why, with a translated Sanda Marin cookbook you'll have a ton of fun. Enjoy... and wishing you the very best!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe, love the Cozonac tastes great flavor is on point. However, I will never use bread flour for this recipe again! This loaf needs to be soft and cake like NOT hard and stringy like bread. I’m very disappointed in the outcome. I grew up eating cozonac all my life and I know how it’s supposed to be, texture is important as well as flavor. I tried your recipe years ago where you recommended using all purpose flour and I was very happy with the results back then and will continue using it from now on.
Sincerely, Diane

Ellie said...

Diane, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment... and for your thoughts! I'm pleased that you found the cozonac flavor to be as you liked. I am sorry to hear the bread flour isn't working out for you... all purpose flour doesn't reallly make that much of a difference in the cozonac being cake like. However, if you had better results with using AP flour, then I would definitely continue to use that. The bread flour in my opinion can withstand the larger amount of filling I use.

Again, thanks a bunch for stopping by and wishing you success!

Annie said...

Thanks Ellie for your great recipe! I'm America, married to a Romanian, living in France. I made cozonac for the first time this Christmas using your recipe and it was a success. I definitely impressed my in-laws ;) We couldn't use the cocoa filling, much as I would have liked to, since I've developed a chocolate allergy, but it was good with the closest thing we could find to rahat here. We got some genuine rahat last time my husband was in Romania, so I have two loaves rising in the oven now for Easter- hopefully they'll come out just as well as the Christmas loaves did!

Ellie said...

Annie, I am so happy to hear that your Chrismas cozonac loaves were a success! So glad you were able to use some rahat as an alternative to the cocoa filling. It's good with rahat too:) It's so nice to hear that you tried a Romanian dessert for your husband... so sweet of you. Wishing you success with the second batch for Easter... and many more:). Thank you so much for stopping by.... all the way from France, to share your feedback. I really appreciate it Annie! Have a wonderful Easter with you family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this recipe and your updates to the recipe. I’m a Canadian who has been to Romania many time and fell in love with this bread during Easter there. I think I ate it every day for a week! This is at least the 3rd Christmas that I am making it and have used your recipe every time. The braided loaves are just rising now... God bless you.

Ellie said...

Anon, Thank you... your comment was a blessing to me! So glad to hear that the cozonac recipe is still being used:). Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know... even when I am not blogging any more. May God bless you! Have a blessed Christmas!

Unknown said...

Ellie - I have been using your recipe for a few years now and everyone in my family loves it! I made 4 loaves this week and 2 of them were gone in just a few days!! I add rahat AND the nut filling and the cozonac comes out perfect every time. Thank you for posting this recipe so many years ago, it is a great one and I make it every year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ellie said...

Unknown, Awww.... thank you SO very much for stopping by and making my day!! So thankful to hear that after so many years the recipe is still being used:). Wishing you a most blessed Christmas with your family... and a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I still use this recipe every year on Easter - you've brought so much joy to me and my husband, and many of our friends and coworkers. You're a miracle worker, Ellie. Thank you!

Ellie said...

Anon, Oh, God bless you for your kind words! Thank you for making my day— to know that you are blessed with the recipe is such a joy to me! Loving greetings to you and your loved ones. Thanks a bunch for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, good recipe, I filled it with cinamon/cardamon butter filling, and hand kneaded as I don’t have kitchenaide yet

Cristina said...

I've been making this recipe for several years now. It's my favorite cozonac recipe and has become part of our family tradition, too! Thank you and A very Merry Christmas!

Ellie said...

Cristina, Aww...Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know... always blesses my heart! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas as well!

Dana n said...

Super reteta, seamana mult cu a mamei, pe care doar am observat-o in copilărie. Acum vreau sa o fac pentru soț și socri, atâta că am câteva probleme.
1. Nu am bread pan, are doar o forma de silicon de banana bread și una de Bundt cake. Influențează cu ceva temperatura și timpul daca e din silicon? Oricum as testa cozonacul cu scobitoarea cum făcea mama, dar macar sa am idee când sa fiu atenta
2. Avem bucătărie open space. La ce temperatura trebuie încălzit cuptorul ca să crească? Mă gândeam să îl țin la lowest possible la 100 degrees.
3. La fel ca cineva de mai sus, nu avem kitchen aid deci va trebui sa muncesc cu mâinile. Mama frământă cate 1h la 2kg de faina si il trântea de masa de 100 ori. Any advice referitor la rețetă dvs?

Mulțumim mult pt rețetă, de multe ori îmi e greu sa adaptez rețetele noastre tradiționale la ingredientele americane.
Sărbători frumoase!

Ellie said...

Buna Dana, Nu stiu daca reteta este traditionala... dar este un pic mai usor (cred eu) pentruca nu se bate de mana😊... si eu imi amintesc ca mama mea batea aluataul de foarte multe ori, (cum ai zis vreo o ora)...adaugand ulei si unt topit...

Oricum sa raspund.

1) Eu as folosi Bundt Pan... cred ca este mai bine decat silicone. Ai putea sa folosesti si alte pans mai mici... decat ca se coc mai repede.
2) Eu incalzesc cuptorul pana este caldut la mana... si apoi sting... si las cozonacul sa creasca acolo.
3) Cred ca framantarea trebuie sa fie minim 20 de minute... pana simti ca este elastic. Cred ca este bine sa îl si bati daca poti😊

Sper din suflet sa iti iasa bine si sa va bucurati cu toti! Sarbatori binecuvantate si tie la fel...

tavi said...

Pentru Dana: Am facut ieri cozonac si am pus la crescut in cuptor la 100 de grade. A crescut mult prea mult dupa o ora jumate (si ca urmare n-a crescut suficient la proofing). Deci ori mai putin timp (o ora?), ori temperatura mai mica.

Unknown said...

I made this a couple of weeks ago. It was AMAZING!!! Great recipe, thank you!

Ellie said...

Unknown, Wonderful... so glad to hear that! Thanks for stopping by and sharing😊

Gabriela said...

This is the easiest and the best recipe for cozonac I ever tried!

I did it for the first time at Easter, with great results. In fact since it was in great demand, I had to do it again for the Orthodox Easter.

Thank you! Greetings and God's blessings from a Romanian from Toronto 🇨🇦

Ellie said...

Gabriela, Greetings! So glad you stopped by and shared your feedback! Happy to hear the cozonac was a success for you... made my day😊!

Ioana said...


Thanks for posting the recipe. I am from Romania, so we love cozonac, but I am not very experienced making it. I have a question. You said you let it rise in the warm oven. What exactly is the temperature of the oven? Is 350 too much? Or is it more like 150?

Multumesc mult,


Ellie said...

Ioana, Thanks for bringing that up… I should have been more specific with that detail!! I normally turn on the oven for a tiny bit(maybe a minute or so?… until cozy(definitely not hot) and then turn the oven OFF. Then I place the place to rise. I guess if you have a proofing oven that would help. But you know, if you have your kitchen on the warm side you don’t need to do the oven thing… if it’s too cold the dough will not rise well and take a longer time too. Hopefully, you have success! Wishing you the best!