Cozonac cu nuci (Romanian Nut Roll)


Romanian Nut Bread

It’s a Christmas Eve tradition. Every year, mom makes Cozonac cu nuci, the night before Christmas. There’s never any left for Santa, cause all the little elves get to it first . . .and they don’t leave one crumb untouched. It is best when it is toasted and spread with butter.

Total time: 5 hoursIMG_1

Yields 6-7 rolls


10 Heaping c. of flour
1/8 c. salt
2 c. sugar, & 1 T
4 c. milk
5 T yeast
1/2 c. waterIMG_2
4 eggs
2 T lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/3 c. oil
1 lb. walnuts


In a big bowl, add:
10 heaping cups of flour
1/8 c.salt
1 c. sugar




Place about 1 quart of milk in a pot over medium heat Bring it to ALMOST a boil.
DO NOT let it boil, keep on low heat or turn off burner until ready to add to mixture


In a mug, add almost 5 T of yeast6
1 T sugar
About 1/2 c. water
Stir well & let sit for about 3 minutes.

Nut Filling:
Finely crush 1 lb. Walnuts. You may use a food processor/blender or a rolling pin.
Mix walnuts with 1 cup of Sugar

Dough (cont.):

In a separate bowl add 4 eggs10
Beat eggs and add to flour mixture
Zest 1 lemon (about 2 T) & add to mixture.
Take milk and yeast in hand.

Over the flour/egg mixture, clean out


the yeast cup with milk but do not add all of milk

Mix with one hand. Begin to knead when ingredients are incorporated.


Add more milk as needed.

In a pan add 1/3 cup oil and let boil

Knead for 15-20 min. (Using “punch-punch fold” method)


Knead until dough is not super sticky

Add hot oil to dough

Carefully fold over dough Knead dough until oil is no longer visible (about 20-30 min.)
Knead until bubbles are visible


When finished with kneading, fold the dough over.
Cover with towel and let sit to rise (about 80 minutes)
Preheat oven to 360 degrees
Oil surface
Take a portion of the dough and roll into a rectangle. Spread the walnut filling over the dough. Roll up the dough, being careful to tuck in the ends so that the filling doesn’t spill out. Brush each loaf with Egg whites
Bake 350 for 35 minutes until big and puffy  and golden brown.



Photo Credit: Mary Rus


Basic Fondant (Creme center for chocolate covered cremes)

Basic Fondant

5 c. sugar
1 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy whipping cream
4 TBSP butter or margarine
1/2 t. cream of tartar
(Optional: 1 tsp of either orange, vanilla, or almond extract; 1 c. chopped nuts)

In large saucepan, combine all ingredients except flavoring and nuts.
Stir until sugar is moistened.
Place over high heat.
Bring to a boil, then gradually lower the candy thermometer into boiling syrup. COOK WITHOUT STIRRING, lowering the heat slightly as mixture thickens.
Cook to 236.
Pour out on a slab (marble is ideal) and cool to lukewarm.
Work with a spatula until fondant creams, then knead with hands until it is very smooth, adding flavoring or nuts if desired.
Form into a ball an let the mixture res on the slab until it is completely cool.
Form into 3/4 in balls and dip in chocolate.
To store, wrap fondant tightly in wax paper or plastic wrap and place in a bowl, and then cover with a damp cloth.

Orange Pecan Creams
2 c. basic fondant
3/4 t oil of orange
1/2 c. chopped nuts
a few drops of orange food coloring

Vanilla French Creams
2 c. basic fondant
1/4 t. clear vanilla flavoring

Use the Vanilla French Cream ratio,
form into balls and roll in crushed nuts

Peppermint Patties
2 c. basic fondant
1/4 t. oil of peppermint

Strawberry Creams
2 c. basic fondant
1 t. strawberry flavoring
a few drops of food coloring

Homemade Caramels

IMG_01882 c. sugar
1/2 t. lecithin (optional)
1/2 c. butter (optional)
3/4 c. light corn syrup
2 c. heavy whipping cream (divided)

NOTE: When making candy recipes, it is very important NOT to stir unless the recipe indicates to do so.

In a saucepan combine sugar, lecithin, butter, corn syrup and one cup of cream.
Bring to a rolling boil.
Slowly add the remaining cup of cream so that boiling does not stop.
Reduce heat as temperature increases.
Cook to 250 for a firm caramel or a few degrees less for a softer candy.
Pour into a buttered 8″ square pan.
Do NOT scrape the candy out of the pan as this may cause candy to cyrstalize.
You may wrap the caramels individually in parchment paper.
Makes about 48 pieces.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs

recipes-1-2 recipes-2-2

Sarah’s recipe:
1 c. creamy Peanut Butter
1 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. butter
Wilburs dark coating chocolate

Mix Peanut Butter,  1 cup of sugar and vanilla. Add more sugar if desired. (If it’s too thick, I add a splash of vanilla, if it’s too creamy to work with, I add more sugar. Just make sure you are comfortable with the texture/ taste) Shape into eggs. Melt chocolate; dip eggs and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Amy’s recipe:
2 c. creamy Peanut Butter
1 jar (8 oz) marshmallow creme
1/2 c. butter (softened)
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Wilburs coating chocolate

Combine first 4 ingredients. Form eggs. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze until firm, then dip into melted chocolate.

Double-Ginger Snaps

Double-Ginger Snaps -makes 3-4 doz.

2 1/2 c.  all purpose flourIMG_3610
1 1/2 t. ground ginger
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
2/3 c. canola oil
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. dark molasses
1 large whole egg (lightly beaten)
1 large egg white (beaten)
3/4 c. crystallized ginger
1/2 c. coarse sugar crystals

Preheat oven to 325
Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper
Sift flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt
Stir oil, brown sugar & molasses together in a bowl.
Add whole egg and beat until blended.
Stir in four mixture and crystallized ginger.
Shape dough into 1″ balls
Brush with egg white and roll in sugar to coat lightly.
Place 1″ apart on pans. Do not flaten them.
Bake cookies until tops are set and crackled. 15-18 minutes
Cool on pans 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely.
Cookies will firm as they cool. If you like soft cookies (like me) place them in a tupperware container with a few slices of bread . will do the trick!
These cookies keep well- store between layers of wax paper in an airtight container.


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

For the pumpkin part:
3 c. brown sugar
1 c. salad oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. each of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour

For the creme filling:
1/2 c. butter (room temp)
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 c. whipped marshmallow
1 tsp. vanilla
few drops of milk
(I like to double the filling)

Mix the pumpkin part together in the order shown. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet @ 350 for 8-10 minutes. Set on a rack to cool. Mix all the filling ingredients and refrigerate until you are ready to add as a center. Fill whoopie pies and wrap individually in saran wrap and refrigerate. I like them better the next day.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen

Recipe from Carol Keller

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

For the Chocolate part :
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening or margarine
1 egg
1 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
pinch of salt (ouch!)
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Creme Filling:
1/2 c. butter (room temp)
1 c. confectioners sugar
1 c. whipped marshmallow
1 tsp. vanilla
few drops of milk
(I like to make 2x the filling . . . more the better)

Mix all of the ingredients for the chocolate part & bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet @ 425 for 4-5 minutes. Set on a rack to cool. Mix all the filling ingredients and refrigerate until you are ready to add as a center. Fill whoopie pies and wrap individually in saran wrap and refrigerate. I like them better the next day.

Recipe from Carol Keller

Sarmale- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Sarmale (Romanian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

1 head of cabbage
5 large onions, chopped
olive oil
21 oz.(approx) ground turkey (one Costco package)
4 regular sized sausage bratwurst links
2 c. uncooked Goya medium grain rice, rinsed
2 tsp  chicken bullion
1/2 tsp  black pepper
1 tsp cimbru (thyme) or Italian seasoning
14.5 oz. crushed tomatoes
4 (2″) peices smoked turkey necks
optional toppings: sour cream & shredded cheese

There are two ways that you can prepare your cabbage:IMG_0123_1

1) Remove the core from the cabbage (keep the core) and freeze the whole cabbage overnight. In the morning, remove the cabbage from the freezer and let it thaw on the counter. When it is thawed, the leaves will be limp & you can carefully remove them. (This is my mother in laws genius method)

OR 2) Remove the core of the cabbage (keeping the core). Put the head of cabbage in a pot.IMG_0030 Cover with water. Remove the cabbage and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat. Submerge the whole head of cabbage in the boiling water and cover. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.When the cabbage is done “cooking”, remove it from the water onto a cookie sheet with sides (to catch any remaining water). Then carefully remove leaves.


Carefully separate the leaves from the cabbage. With a knife, trim the thickest part of center rib on each leaf, so the cabbage leaf is more flat and doesn’t have a thick bump on the end. If the leaf is very large, you can divide it down the center stem so it becomes two separate pieces.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions in a nonstick pan with olive oil. Cook on low heat and cover with a lid. Check by stirring with a spoon and making sure it doesn’t burn. Cook until soft.

Sprinkle in paprika and add turkey, sausage, rice, chicken bullion, pepper, thyme and 1 tsp. salt.

Mix together with hands.

Divide the meat filling between the leaves and roll up jelly roll fashion… First fold the bottom up, tuck the sides in and then roll the bottom up towards the top. If filling ties to escape the sides, just poke it back in, tucking the cabbage leaves down with it.




Slice up pieces of the cabbage core and place at the bottom of the pan. (This will prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking to the bottom & burning)image

Place the rolls in, layering with the turkey neck peices. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning (optionalIMG_0098
Pour the crushed tomatoes over the rolls. Dissolve 1 1/2 tsp. of salt in 3 cups of water and pour water over rolls until just covered. ( add more if necessary- 1 c.water to 1/2 tsp.salt ratio)

Cover top of cabbages with a small heavy plate to keep them submerged in liquid while cooking. (Plate should not cover whole pan, but should just rest ontop of cabbages inside pan)IMG_6555

Rotate the pan (holding the handles and gently moving in a circular front back motion) until water comes to a boil.

When water comes to a boil, turn heat on low and simmer for 2 hours.

Do not remove plate. Let rolls sit in liquid  for 2 hours to absorb liquid before removing to eat.

Serve topped with sour cream and cheese.

Pumpkin Roll

IMG_0156“You can make this for me anytime”, was the response of my Pastor from Westminster Presbyterian Church, when he tasted the yumminess of this pumpkin roll. This is perfect for fall weather. I got this recipe from my brother, Jonathan, who made it for a barn party/Hayride & bonfire one year, and no one believed that HE made it . . . so I was credited with the success. The filling is a cream cheese base & not a butter base, which I really like . . . it is messy to make, but worth the trouble!

For the Pumpkin part:IMG_0118
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. pumpkin
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the filling part:
8 oz. cream cheeseIMG_0121
1 c. powdered sugar
1 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp. vanillaIMG_0123IMG_0125IMG_0132
8 oz. cool whip
extra powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350
Beat eggs, stir in vanilla & sugar
Add pumpkin, then dry ingredients.
Line a 11″ x 16″ baking sheet with wax paper
Grease the paper and pour pumpkin mixture on.
Bake 12-15 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake.
Sprinkle a clean towel with powdered sugar and flip pumpkin onto towel.
Sprinkle pumpkin generously with powdered sugar and roll up.
Set aside to cool.
Mix filling ingredients together
Unroll pumpkin and spread the filling over the pumpkin. Roll up the pumpkin (WITHOUT the towel) and place on a plate.
Cover with saran wrap and chill in the fridge overnight.
By allowing it to sit overnight, the filling and the pumpkin part blend together and makes the pumpkin soften a bit.
You may dust it with confectioner’s sugar right before serving

Almond Shortbread

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. & 1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 c. flour
48 sliced almonds

Mix all ingredients together and shape into a 5″ disk
Wrap, refrigerate, and chill until firm.
Roll dough into 8″ round (1/4″ thick)
Cut into 12 wedges
Prick with fork, dust with sugar, and decorate with almonds.
Bake @300 for 25-30 min