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 hours
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. water
2 T lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/3 c. oil
1 lb. walnuts
In a big bowl, add:
10 heaping cups of flour
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 yeast
1 T sugar
About 1/2 c. water
Stir well & let sit for about 3 minutes.
Finely crush 1 lb. Walnuts. You may use a food processor/blender or a rolling pin.
Mix walnuts with 1 cup of Sugar
In a separate bowl add 4 eggs
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
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