Romanian sweet walnut bread, otherwise known as cozonac, is often served during significant holidays and is believed to have come from an ancient Egyptian recipe. This recipe is so delicious it will make you want to prepare the Romanian sweetbread all year round!
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 4 eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter
- 2 cups warm milk
- 4 Tablespoons sunflower/ vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Lemon zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- 3 1/3 cups (1 pound) all-purpose flour
FOR THE CREAM FILLING:
- 1 ½ cups ground walnuts
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 well-beaten egg whites
To make the dough, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs, salt, lemon zest, warm milk, yeast, melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract together. Cover this bowl with a kitchen towel let sit in a warm place for approximately 1.5 hours.
While the dough is rising, beat together the cream filling ingredients and set aside.
Afterwards, sift the flour and add it slowly, spoonful by spoonful, to the dough, mixing with a wooden spoon. Once the flour is incorporated in the dough, knead the dough until no longer sticky. Roll out onto a wooden board or lightly floured surface to a rectangle of about 1-inch thick and cut in half.
Spread the cream filling onto the dough and starting from one of the long ends, roll the dough lengthwise with your fingers, creating two rolls. Pinch the ends to ensure the cream filling will not spill out as the bread bakes.
Lightly oil your bread pans with vegetable oil and cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F.
When you take them out, let them sit until cool, then remove from pans.
Bon Appétit, or as they say in Romania, Pofta Buna!