~ "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."~

Monday, December 28, 2009

Romanian Cozonac Revisited...with a few tips.

Romanian Cozonac Revisited.... Well, this past Christmas, my husband requested that I make the Romanian cozonac....a tradition for most Romanians. So, I made it for him. I looked at my recipe, and realized that I needed to add a few more tips. It was almost a year ago that I had posted this recipe... felt it needed some revamping of some sort:).
So this time around, I paid a bit more attention to the details as I made the loaves. I figured I would add a few tips, just so that it could go smoother for those of you who have never made this before. In case you haven't seen my previous post, on the Romanian Cozonac(nut-filled), you can click HERE...it contains the recipe and additional photos.
For this post, I wanted to bring in additional photos and tips to make it easier to follow. I decided to show you another way of rolling the nut-filled dough...there are many other prettier ways out there to braid the dough. But this will do for now...
Tips for the nut filling....
~10 oz ground nuts as measured on a scale(not in a liquid measuring cup)
~I use more like 1 TBS orange peel along with orange extract

Tips for the Sweet Bread Dough Recipe...
I use bread flour...I noticed that I have 4-5 cups on previous posted recipe. I used more like 5 cups.
I find that salted butter is better...so that is what I use and skip the pinch of salt.
When kneading dough:
I mix the initial dough with the 2 cups of flour for 3 minutes on medium speed. I then switch from the paddle to the dough hook. I add 2 1/2 cups cups more of bread flour and knead for an additional 7 minutes on speed 7-8 (KitchenAid)....holding on to the mixer! The dough will make "strings".
I lower the speed to low then add the last 1/2 cup of flour and knead for an additional minute increasing the speed to medium . The dough can still be sticky at this point, but not overly.
Rising the dough:
I form it into a ball, leave it in the mixer bowl and cover it . I turn on the oven for a few seconds to warm up, I then turn it off . I place my dough in the oven and let it rise till almost double or about an 1 1/2 - 2 hrs or so. This always depends on how cold or warm your house.
Rolling the dough:
This time I formed the cozonac loaf in a different shape...I was playing around:). But, I liked the way it came out.
I rolled 1/2 of the dough in a big square/rectangle. I then cut it piece in two and proceeded to add the filling to both parts.
I rolled them jelly roll style and pinched the ends as well as along the rolled edge.
I and twisted the two together.
Second rise:
I place my formed loaves in the oven again to rise for the second time. It took my loaves an additional hour to double and come to the top of the pan.
I baked it as usual in a 9x5 loaf pan that is lined with parchment paper.


Mindy said...

*sigh* I wanna be you when I grow up. You are always amazing. Thanks for the great walk-through, I think if I had the ambition, I actually could make this. :)

Sara said...

Oh this looks so wonderful...the concept is much like the danish braid I make.
I think I know what I'm doing this afternoon

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Nice effort.Looks tasty

Ellie said...

I think you are amazing...you always have the right words to encourage me. So, Thank you!

The Thiessens,
Thanks for stopping by...and I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I hope you like this variation...and am sure you will have fun making it.

Always love your faithful comments... and kind words. Thank you!

Sara said...

sorry...one quick question...do you use rum extract and vanilla, or one or the other?

Ellie said...

The Thiessens,
I usually just use the rum extract...amount can vary depending how much you like the rum flavor. Use according to your taste. Some Romanians love a strong rum flavor and can use quite a bit.

Ellie said...

The Thiessens,
I forgot to mention, that if you don't care for the rum extract, then use the vanilla..,you could definitely use both. But the 'Romanian' flavor is in the rum. Hope that helps a bit.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Ukraine and it looks like something my grandma made for the holidays. Thank you for posting it. I will try it for sure and thank you for the pictures that always helps a lot.

Ellie said...

Oh, nothing beats Grandma's baking...but, I hope you will like this version. Thanks for taking the time to comment.~Ellie

natalie said...

How nice. Delicious!! Wish to try this recipe!

Christine said...

Yum! I am drooling over this, even in the dough stage, and it turns out so beautifully.

Ellie said...

Christine, Aww...thanks for the sweet comment. I hope you can give it a try. We really like this sweet bread. Thanks for stopping by.~Ellie

Sara said...

so, in the dough recipe...is it 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter OR one 1/2 stick of butter?

Ellie said...

The Thiessans, It is 1 1/2 sticks, Sorry, I forgot to add the "s" on sticks...glad you caught that for me. Thank you.~Ellie

Sara said...

I'm embarrassed to say I flopped the recipe by adding 3 'sticks' to the dough.
Ok... here in Canada we don't use 'sticks' so I converted first of all, one stick = 1/2 cup. For some reason my brain looked at 1 1/2 sticks (3) and converted that to 1 1/2 cups (3 half-cup pieces)! Arghh. After almost choking on the roll...I threw it all away :( Should I dare try again? It did smell wonderful..

Ellie said...

Oh, I am so sorry! I must say I've done that before...with a cookie recipe. Not a nice feeling...When the cookies fill the whole pan:)I've added the cup amount to the original recipe. Hopefully that will help in the future. Do take a look at the photos(original and revisited versons)... They help quite a bit. I would probably take a little break and try again. ...I do hope it comes out for you next time.

Sara said...

Thanks...and I will try again!

Unknown said...

My Mother was Romanian and she took me to the home of a friend in Toronto to watch how this was made when I was 13 years old _ I transcribed the recipe in mixed metric and imperial units (as the woman making the bread had never "quantified" the amounts - had things in kilos and cups and "little bits of - in the years following my Mom titrated and changed the recipe so it was more as she remembered it from her childhood and I never got the revised recipe from her. My husband and I were thinking about the cozonac this morning and found this site - the memories are coming back and I will make it in Mom's memory for this Easter - this looks perfect.
ps - my Mom used beaten egg whites and crushed walnuts as well as poppy seeds for the filling - I believe I will try this first and then maybe next year try the chocolate variation.

Ellie said...

Elaine, Thanks for stopping by...how wonderful to have had such nice memories. I do believe my mom used the beaten egg whites with the nuts as a filling as well...a more common version. I hope you enjoy the cozonac...~Ellie

Gabriela Vargas said...

Hi quick question, if I dont have the professional kitchen Aid tool to work on the dough, what would be the best -non machinery way to do this?
Can I be using my hands or try the standard mixer for this?

Thanks and Looking forward to your reply.

Ellie said...

Gaby, You can probably use your hands. Just know that you will need to knead for more than the posted amount of time more like 15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Now, the dough can probably be stickier than normal. I have not done this by hand, but I am assuming it will be sticky to the hand. Try not to add too much flour or it will make the dough tough. I at all just add a bit of melted butter to your hands.
I am hoping it will work for you... My mom always kneaded her dough by hand as she had no mixer. (granted it was her own recipe)
It will just be more tiring kneading it by hand, but hopefully it will work for you. I sure hope so:)!

By the way, if your standard mixer had a sturdy dough hook with and an attached bowl, it should work.

iugiin said...

lucky husband...kudos!

Anonymous said...

I'm the mom of the Romanian daughter--
(in her mid-teens, the daughter, not the mom!--LOL!)
who did a Romanian Booth for a Christmas Around the World our church hosted for our community--

I can't remember if I ever updated, but it was a huge success. The cozonac was delicious and even looked like the pictures, and now we have to have Turkish Delight at Christmas time, too--

my daughter requested some special bread pans in which to make the cozonac this year; I was thinking smaller pans would help, so we're going to try that--

Anyway, I think it really boosted her confidence to be the hostess for the Romanian booth; she looked so beautiful; I wish I could share pictures of her in her festival dress.

Today we made a ciorba recipe a family member found and sent to us, and we got on here and discovered yours--
we used ground round and ground turkey and made the meatball version, and it was very good; we also used the lemon juice--

Anyway, in case I didn't update, I wanted to thank you again.

My daughter finally got a full-sized violin last spring, and she's in our local orchestra this year and loving it--

Thank you again--

and, yes, she did most of the ciorba!!!

We came back on to get the cozonac recipe--
I know I printed it off last year, but in the rush we must have lost it--


Ellie said...

Anon, So very sweet of you to stop by and give an update /feedback on how the cozonac recipe fared for you. It means a lot to me that you would take the time to write and let me know...

I am so very happy that the cozonac was a success....even more so that it gave your daughter the confidence she needed.

It is wonderful that you have brought a bit of the Romanian culture in the home for your daughter. How wonderful that she made the ciorba recipe! Making ciorba isn't necessarily the easiest thing to do:). I am happy for her!

It seems that your daughter is growing up a in wonderful and loving home. May God continue to help you raise her up for HIs glory.

Again thanks for stopping by and keeping me up to date.
Have blessed day!~Ellie

Denny Vlaeva said...

Hi Ellie. Thank you very much for posting your mum's cozonac recipe - my sister and I (Bulgarian, living in London, UK) used it at Easter this year, and were absolutely amazed by the results. We'd never made cozunac before (in my family, it was always more common to by cozonac from the shop, rather than make it), and we were so proud of ourselves and of the results. I wish I could send you pictures :). I should have written in back then, but because we did the cooking during the night (we started at 11pm, and went to bed at 7am having tasted our creation - our yeast wasn't playing ball at first, taking hours to raise the dough), we were so tired that I forgot to say 'thank you'.

So here are my belated thanks. We won't be making cozonac over Christmas, but I wanted to make sure I had your mum's recipe safe and to hand, so I looked it up again just now, which is what prompted me to write.

All the best for this holiday season!


Ellie said...

Denny, SO, SO very sweet of you to take the time to write ...I must say you really made my day:). It is so neat when I get comments from readers like you who have had success with a posted recipe. I am always thrilled that I can be of help to someone else...and it is especially nice to hear comments like yours.

I am also glad you liked the cozonac recipe....and that you took the time to make it:). I am well aware that there are a ton of other cozonac recipes out there...so it truly is an honor.
I am sure you and your sister had great fun:)...even if in the late hours:).

Again, thanks for your sweet comment.

Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas.~Ellie

Unknown said...

I have to tell you how much this recipe has been enjoyed. When i first had cozonac in Romania, i was a little bit disappointed because i thought it would be sweeter and more 'goodie' filled, not a slightly sweet bread.
I still made it a few times for my Romanian born husband for the different holidays - but even he said that he doesn't love cozonac, but that he does like it because it makes it feel more like Easter/Christmas, but when i found this recipe, we both were so happy with the results. It was how i imagined it should have been and my husband actually likes cozonac for cozonac :)) (We won't tell his mother). The only drawback was that it made us a bit selfish - i made the two loves and we didn't share it with anyone, between the two of us the loaves were gone in about 3 or 4 days!

Ellie said...

S, How very sweet of you to take the time to comment and make my day:)! Thank so very much... I am so glad you like the recipe and cozonac:).
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

Again, thanks for stopping by. Glad I could be of help. ~Ellie

C said...

Dear Ellie,
Since I came to the states from Romania at the tender age of 6 it is easier to write in English. I want to THANK you sooooo very much for having such a wonderful recipe! As a Christas surprise for my grandmother I made this for her. She is a very wonderful baker and cook so I was very nervous! This was the first time I attempted to make this especially since she told me how difficult it was to use. It was one of the easiest recipes and she was impressed by the tips (putting the rising dough in a warm oven and using bread flour). Thank you again I can't tell you the smiles and the congratulations I received from my grandmother and parents and I'm now the go to Cozonac maker!!!! La multi ani si sa te tine dumezeu pentru tot bune care tu faci!!!


Ellie said...

Aww... thanks so very much for your kind words, for taking the time to comment, and for sharing your feedback. I am so glad I could be of help...happy that you and your family enjoyed the cozonac. I am touched that the cozonac recipe was a success for you

Again, thanks for sharing.
Have a wonderful day! ~Ellie

Unknown said...

Mulţumesc!! My best friends are Romanians who live in Romania. When they are here (Western USA) they get tired of the food after a few weeks. When I am in Romania, I fall in love with the food every day. Now I can satisfy my appetite anytime with your easy step by step instructions. When my friends come this summer they will be plesantly surprised by the homestyle foods I can prepare for them....mulţumesc

Ellie said...

Ken, Thanks for stopping by. I know Romanian food IN Romania tastes quite different than here in the states:). But, I am hoping you will like at least one of the recipes I posted...do feel free to taste and adjust according to how you remember the dishes.Hope your friends will enjoy the dishes you prepare.

It was nice of you to stop by...

Anonymous said...

Arata tare frumosi cozonacii, am pus reteta si pe facebook la Cozonac, impreuna cu alte reteta de pe net. PASTE FERICIT!
Daniela din Iasi

Ellie said...

Daniela, Multumesc mult...apreciez gestul tau:). Iti doresc si tie o zi buna!
Numai bine~Ellie

KennQ29 said...

Love the food! You’re an amazing cook. This menu is fantastic:) It sure will help everyone who’s looking for a perfect menu like this. Thank you for sharing this. photos were really great, mouth watering!

Ellie said...

KenQ29, Thank you for your kind comment...I appreciate it! Thanks for stopping by...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I made it a few months ago and it was delicious and even better than the "authentic" one my grandmother makes every holiday. I eat hers but now I look forward to the one I make :) it just has a lot more flavor and is fluffier, not to mention the better filling. Thanks again!

Ellie said...

Ioana, Oh, I am so happy you like this recipe for cozonac! I recently made it for my parents, as they were here for the holidays... they too LOVED it. My dad loved the filling and flavor as well:)...
But thank you for stopping by and sharing your feedback... I so appreciate it! Actually, it made my day just to know that the recipe was a success for you too. I so want my recipes to come out for everyone who tries them...
Have a wonderful New Year!

Anonymous said...

Every summer as a child my family would meet a few weekends a year at a park north of Detroit with others from our church. The park was named "Transylvaina Park". Co-owned by local Romanian Churchs. Ours being one.
The older women would gather in the "kitchen" building, with wood stoves and create very delisious donuts from scratch. I do not know what they called them, but they served them both plain and stuffed with a cheese & dill mixture. Those I loved the best. Both came dusted with powdered sugar.
None of those ladies are with us any longer, nor is my mother and the park was sold long ago. Do you know of this type of donut? I believe the mixture was Montery Jack and Chedder with a pinch of dill. Could your gogosi be the same type of dough?
Thank you for your site. I am currently searching for something Romanian for my daughter to make and take to class for a cultural food project, for 30. I am currently hunting those cresent shaped, prune, apricot, or nut filled cookies.

Anonymous said...

As a child my Romanian mother would take us all to a park, north of Detroit, call Transylvania Park. There the old women would create donuts from scratch. These would be either plain or filled with a mixture of Jack and Chedder cheese with a pinch of dill. Both would be dusted with powdered sugar. I am hoping this dough will lend itself to the cheese filling. The park was sold off long ago. The older women, and my mother are nolonger with us, so there is no one I can ask. My mother never created any "romanian" dishes herself. Unless you count a failed attempt at Green Pumkin Soup. Not sure if that was romanian, but she claimed it was.
Thank you for your site
I am also excited to try your nutroll. I have attempted various recipes, that call for oleo, or 7cent cakes of yeast, with moderate success. Poppyseed filling is also widely loved by my siblings and family.
Thank you again,

Ellie said...

Debra, I am hoping you will like the cozonac. As for the cheese filled savory pastry, I'm not really familiar with it. Sounds like a pastry I've eaten that used a puff pastry dough...I'm sure there are a ton of variations out there. But I really wouldn't know if the gogosi recipe would work. It's worth giving it a try though.
Thanks for sharing and stopping by... Really appreciate it! Do let me know if you try the cozonac... I'm hoping it will be a success :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm trying to make this for a school project on Romania, but the first go at it didn't really work out. It got a little burnt on the outside and not quite cooked on the inside. Do you think I need to roll the dough out thinner? Or put the foil on right when I put it in the oven? Or use a lower tempurature? I've got an electric oven. Sorry for barmbading you with questions, but this stuff looks really good! Lol, now I really want to know what it tastes like

Ellie said...

Anon, I have to give you credit for tackling and taking on a project that's not the easiest. But I'm proud of you for trying... and look at you, you want to give it a go again:). That's commendable!

As for the cozonac burning, you might lower the temperature a bit, maybe 350 deg F, especially if your oven heats a bit more. But you might want to place the loaves on the bottom 1/3 rack, this way the loaves are not in close proximity to the electric heating element. And yes, you may cover the loaves with foil maybe after 10 minutes in the oven, and if need be, you can check on it towards the last 15 minutes of baking to see if needs to further brown. If you feel it needs more browning, then remove the foil. And since the inside wasn't cooked last time leave it in longer, an additional 5-10 minutes... even 15 more minutes especially if you lower the temperature. It's always best to leave it in longer than less. As for rolling the dough thinner, it really doesn't matter as the dough rises regardless how thin or thick it's rolled. Hope this helps a bit and that you have success with the recipe. If you like you can use less of the filling, this way it gets cooked inside much better.

Unknown said...

Love your pics and blog. We are Slovak so we do the roll with no twist. This year I want to try it your way. I am wondering if you have had any success with gluten free dough like rice flour? :)

Ellie said...

Thank you Betsy! Hope you enjoy the twisted version... it's just another alternative:).

I've never thought of making this dough GF... wouldn't know where to start:)... or maybe I know it would never taste the same:). However, I'm sure there may be a GF dough out there that could be adapted. It might be worth trying, now that you gave me the idea:).

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! Thanks for stopping by...

Paul S said...

I've been planning on trying your recipe for a couple of years, and finally got around to doing it. Wish I'd done it earlier! It's very good. Next time I want to try it with rahat! Now I only need to find a decent recipe for papanasi!

Ellie said...

Paul, Oh, that's wonderful! SO glad you tried the cozonac:).

Thanks a ton for your feedback, and letting me know. You made my day:)!

Jenny said...

I made your recipe a few weeks ago and I LOVED it! We sat by our wood burning fireplace with a mug with hot cocoa and some cozonac :) Mmmmmmm, so good! It was my second time making something with yeast and I was afraid I would mess it up but it came out wonderfully. Thanks for the recipe and all the tips. I will keep making this! :)

Ellie said...


Oh, that's sweet:)! What a great way to eat cozonac! SO glad you had success with the recipe... and it being your 2nd yeast recipe! I'm totally proud of you...

Thanks a ton for sharing your feedback, I'm always humbled that I can be of help to someone... through tips, pictures and the recipe itself. Glad you enjoyed it!

KandisInMi said...

Ellie, I married into an Eastern European family-Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Romanian, and I've spent some time looking at your Romanian recipes (along with others!) They look wonderful, and I'm most eager to try them. I was lucky to be able to watch my Mother-in-law making many of their dishes before she was no longer able to, and I learned to "write" Ukrainian eggs, too. But she never made the Cozonac, though many of the Aunts and church ladies did. I've done Easter Kolach with great success, so I'm hoping I'll do well with this, too! I believe I'll fill one with walnuts and one with poppyseed, which was also very popular with our relatives. Thank you for the recipe and detailed tutorial and excellent pictures. (I'm also really excited to try the Mititei! The only time I had it was when the Priest's wife made it for us, and it was amazing!)
To Debra: I'm also from the Metro-Detroit area, and I wouldn't be surprised if my husband's family or their fellow church-goers knew some of the same people your family did! They went to the Romanian Orthodox church on State Fair, and I remember them speaking of Transylvania Park, too! By the time I came into the picture, they were at Holy Trinity in Troy. For all of their picnics, the men would make delicious garlicky pork sausage in casings, which would be grilled, and the ladies would be turning out a gazillion "Placinte," which is what you were looking for. How I long to taste them again! Exactly as you described...pillowy, yeasty doughnuts, filled with delicious, melted cheese and fresh dill. I don't think they sprinkled them with sugar, though, but they were heaven to eat, especially when still warm! I searched a bit, and found them on a website. http://raveca.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/placinte-cu-branzaromanian-cheese-donuts/ This is the url; copy & paste it into your browser, and it will have the recipe for you in English and Romanian! I hat to deep fry at home, but I'm really tempted to make an exception for Placinte! Good luck!

Ellie said...

KandisInMi, Thank you for your kind comment, so glad I can be of inspiration:)! I sure hope you enjoy the cozonac when you try it... the fillings sound delicious. The dough id great for making any sweet bread... even pasca.

And thank you for sharing the link to the placinte on Raveca's blog. They sound super delicious!

Really appreciate you stopping by!

Diana said...

Hi Ellie,
I am not a baker but I made your cozonac receipe twice and it turned out really nice and soft and delicious! Actually they turned out a lot better than my MIL's who supposedly is "the expert". :)
Felicitari pt blog. E super! Si planuri each sa incerc mai multe retete.

Ellie said...

Diana, Oh, thank you kindly for taking the time to write and brighten my day with your feedback. I'm thrilled to hear the cozonac was a success for you. And thank you so much for your kind words...esti o scumpa! It means so much to me that I could be of help with the recipes I've posted. I hope you enjoy your visit perusing the many recipes I've posted:)... some are better than others, but I hope you get some inspiration.

Much thanks for stopping by... I really appreciate it!

Diana N. said...

Hi Ellie,
Can you double the recipe and mix everything in the Kitchen Aid Mixer?
I have the 6qt professional one with a powerful motor. :)

Ellie said...

Diana, I would not recommend doubling the recipe in the mixer. The mixer will have a hard time mixing the heavy dough and you don't want to run the chance of burning the motor.( that would be too much of an expensive project). The amount of flour in the dough when doubling it will be close to 10 cups, aside from all the other ingredients, so, no... it wouldn't be wise:). I have the same exact mixer as you and find it best for the dough to have plenty of room in the bowl to "flop" around:)... and gain the elasticity it needs. Hope that helps! And have a blessed Christmas!

Mike said...

I'm very intrigued with the recipe. (Cozonac was mentioned in a recent triva contest.)

Never having tasted it before, however, I have a question about the ground nuts for the filling. Should they be ground to a "meal" or "flour" like texture? Or more to like a fine, medium or coarse chopped/fragment texture? Some nut meals or flours are available ready-made/commercially, of course. Or are they not advisable; better to grind/chop myself?

(After I try your recipe, I'm thinking I might next try using a filling in which I add a lot of nuts to some leftover fig/dried fruit "Cuccidati" (an Italian Christmas cookie) filling I have made.)

Many thanks for your detailed and well-illustrated

Ellie said...

Mike, SO sorry for not responding earlier... the nuts are more finely chopped, but definitely not a meal or flour texture. You can definitely use ready chopped nuts you find commercially, but it will be a bit more expensive than doing it yourself:).

I love your idea of using your leftover dried fruit/nut mixture.. there's always ways to be creative and not just being creative, but change is always nice from time to time! I hope you enjoy the cozonac project... and thanks for stopping by.