Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Recipe: Cozonac

We're closing in on the Big X Day and I'm getting super excited about all the things I need to do.
The eatable glitter has arrived, the sour craut has been acquired and safely stored(I'll tell you all about buying crazy Romanian ingredients in foreign countries at highly critical times) and walnuts are now proudly sitting on my kitchen counter awaiting employ.

For day 12 of #Blogmas I'm sharing a Christmas recipe, the dessert by default of all of my childhood Christmases, the final culinary challenge of my intrinsic Romanian-ness.
The Cozonac.

This typically Eastern European sweet bread type of dessert with roots in ancient Egypt and modern counterparts in Turkey and Greece, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. 

It's delicious and incredibly popular! I've baked for all my friends and it's always been highly appreciated.

Here is a beautiful recipe from that I couldn't have explained any better myself.

INGREDIENTS300 g. sugar (1 ½ c.) 1 kg. flour (5 c.)1 T. vanilla 6 eggs½ t. salt 200 g. butter (¾ c.)2-3 T. oilnut filling:250 g. walnuts (2 c.) ½ c. rum flavoring¾ c. milk1 t. vanilla1 c. sugar
DIRECTIONSPreparing the dough: Begin by separating the eggs, reserving both the egg yolks and the egg whites. In a small pan, warm the milk over a medium flame. When the milk is warm, remove 3 tablespoons and continue heating the milk. Place 3 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl or container. Add the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar and a little flour. Mix until it is the consistency of a thick cream to proof the yeast (See YEAST in TIPS). Cover and set aside for about 5 minutes.
Once the milk on the stove comes to a boil, remove it from the flame. Add the vanilla and mix well. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, egg yolks and salt. Slowly stir the warm milk mixture into the sugar mixture and mix well. Then stir in the yeast mixture and 3 egg whites. Gradually add the remaining flour until it forms a dough, using all the flour.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead. In a small pan, begin melting the butter over a medium flame and stir in the oil. Once melted, remove the butter mixture from the flame. Slowly add the mixture of warm butter and oil until the dough forms bubbles and easily comes off the hands (about ½ hour). Cover bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm, draft free place until it has doubled or tripled in bulk.
Generously grease a loaf or baking pan(s). Once the dough has risen, about 1 ½-2 hours, form the dough to the shape of the loaf pan. (This is the point where you would add a filling if desired, see nut or chocolate fillings below.) Allow the dough to rise for at least ½ hour. Before baking, brush the top of the dough with some of the remaining egg whites (or beat one extra egg and glaze with the beaten egg). Bake in a medium high temperature oven for 30-45 minutes. When cooked through, remove the cozonac from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

For nut filling: Begin by grinding or grating the walnuts. In a small pan, heat the sugar, milk and vanilla over a medium flame until the sugar has dissolved. Add the ground nuts while mixing to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. The consistency should be similar to a paste. Remove the pan from the heat. Add rum flavoring. Once the mixture has cooled, roll out the cozonac dough and spread the nut mixture over the surface. Roll the dough back up and shape it to the size of the baking pan. Bake as directed above.

Makes 2 standard loaves or 1 long thin (think french bread) loaf. Serving size is based on 2 loaves cut into 16 slices.

Number of Servings: 32

Let me know if you want to give it a try!
Kiss and PeaceMiss Sinister

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