I had two reasons to make this recipe for cozonac. First of all, I wanted to include it in a picture for a book I’ve read recently. It was about King Michael of Romania and I thought it would be appropiate to add a traditional Romanian recipe. The second reason is that I never made cozonac like this, not even once. My mother learned how to make cozonac from my great-grandmother when I was a child. She always made our family recipe, and I always made it like this too. If you have a look at that recipe, you’ll see that the two recipes are quite different. My great-grandmother used to make two types of dough, one white and another one with cocoa and rum. This recipe has only one type of dough.
It wouldn’t have been me if I didn’t try to make something a bit different. So, the cocoa filling is made with hazelnut butter. The traditional recipe is made without nut butter, but with bits of nuts, usually walnuts. Furthermore, I’ve used a mix of wholemeal and white flour to make it a bit more healthier.
If you don’t have hazelnut butter, use any other nut butter. You can even make your own following this easy recipe for almond butter.
Ingredient for 1 Cozonac:
– 500g strong flour (white and wholemeal)
– 3 free range eggs
– 250ml milk at room temperature
– 100g sugar
– 10g Easy bake yeast
– 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
– 1/4 tsp Brandy flavouring (optional)
– 2 spoons oil
– 20g cocoa powder
– 100g hazelnut butter
– 200g Turkish delight
Make the dough using a stand mixer, if you have one. In the bowl, put the flour and make a well. In the well, add the yeast, 80g sugar, 2 eggs, the milk, the vanilla paste, the Brandy flavouring, and the oil. Start to knead at very low speed, then increase the speed a bit and leave it to knead for 6-7 minutes. Meanwhile, oil a bowl. When the dough is ready, put it in the oiled bowl, cover it with cling film and a tea towel.
Leave the dough to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. It depends on the temperature in the room. While the dough is rising, cut the Turkish delight in smaller pieces. Powder the knife with icing sugar so the Turkish delight will not stick to the knife. Make the cocoa filling by mixing in a bowl, by hand, one egg white with the cocoa powder, the hazelnut butter, and the remaining 20g of sugar.
When the dough has risen, tip it onto the floured worktop. Cut the dough in half using a knife. Put one part of the dough on a side and roll the other one. Using a spoon and a knife, spread half of the cocoa filling on the dough. Put half of the pieces of Turkish delight on top. Roll the dough with care, so the filling will not slip out. Leave the roll on a side.
Do the same with the remaining dough. When you have two rolls of dough, put them next to each other and plait them.
Put the plait in a baking tray that was previously oiled.
Leave the dough to rise again. Meantime, pre heat the oven at 200C.
When the loaf has risen, brush the egg yolk that remained from the cocoa filling and put the cozonac in the oven to bake. Bake it for 30 minutes, flip it and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. The top will look dark due to it being brushed with the egg yolk. If you want a lighter colour, brush it with an egg white.
Test the loaf to see if it’s baked. When is ready, take it out of the oven, and out of the baking tray. Leave it to cool on a cooling rack.
Have you ever tried cozonac before? If you are wondering, the plate, red table runner, and the cup are all Romanian and traditional.