Sweet Walnut Bread known as “Cozonac cu Nuca” is a traditional Romanian sweet bread made with raisins and walnuts or pecans enjoyed at Christmas and Easter.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love did one more bake
And said honey, I am done and will make you a Walnut Cake
Once again all the Cheesy Sticks are gone for goodness sake
For I’d eaten all the Cherry Rugelach cookies he’d put into a tin
Gone were the batch of Lemon Thumbprint cookies and he just couldn’t win
And the Chocolate Rumballs had made me so happy, there were none of them remaining
There is no Christmas Candy Cane Bark with cranberries
Or Lemon Shortbread Cookies left for entertaining
You must admit the Copycat Bliss bars could not just have gone missing
And the Gingerbread Loaf with Cream Cheese Icing didn’t just cease existing
The Roasted Cashew Latte bark wasn’t returned to the tree
And you’ve eaten all of the Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
And left me with nothing of the Gingerbread biscotti!
This is the final day of my 12 days of Tasty Treats, and as promised I’d saved my best for last. This walnut bread surely is a treat. I’m not sure if walnut bread is the right name for this, maybe nut roll might be more appropriate but it is a traditional Romanian “dessert” we make for the holidays and we call it “cozonac cu nuca”. I don’t think there’s a Christmas or Easter that goes by and this nut roll isn’t on the table. It truly is a favorite, and everyone just loves it. This is another recipe I shared with you around 5 years ago and I’m reposting because it’s one of my favorites and if I had to pick 10 recipes from my blog that are my favorite, this recipe will be at the top.
While it is a bit of work to do, it really is one of my favorite things to make at Christmas and I look forward to making it. I’ve had this recipe for a while now from my mother in law and it’s one of those recipes she’s been making for decades and shared with me. These nut rolls or poppy seed rolls are such a European thing and I really enjoy making them. Every time I make them, I give a couple away to my family or friends and I keep one for us, everybody loves it.
You can also get creative making these, you can make them round or sometimes I’ll braid them in 3, sometimes when I’m feeling brave I’ll braid them in 6 and they turn out gorgeous. The thing is, that no matter how you shape them, the end result is divine.
Not only do they look gorgeous, but they taste absolutely amazing. They’re not really sweet at all, but really nutty, they’re light and fluffy and they go great as a snack, but my favorite way to enjoy this is with my morning cup of coffee. Nothing beats that!
Well there you have it my friends, my 12 tasty treats and I hope you’ve tried some of them and enjoyed them. Which one was your favorite treat out of all these?
If you guys love this recipe, and most importantly make it yourselves, please let us know. Take a picture and tag it #jocooks on Instagram so we can see it. I always love to see what you guys come up with!
Sweet Walnut Bread known as "Cozonac cu Nuca" is a traditional Romanian sweet bread made with raisins and walnuts or pecans enjoyed at Christmas and Easter.
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup rum
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted
- 3 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 eggs separated
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 8 oz walnuts or pecans
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
Add the raisins to a small bowl and pour the rum over them. Let the raisins soak up the rum and plump up while preparing everything else.
In another bowl add the yeast and warm water, stir it a bit and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to activate. The yeast should bubble up. If you don't see it bubble up, then the yeast is old. Do not proceed because your bread will not rise.
In a sauce pan add the milk, butter, lemon zest and sugar. Heat it over medium-low heat just until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil it, it just needs to be hot. If it gets too hot it can kill the yeast.
Drain the raisins. To the bowl of your mixer add the flour, the 5 egg yolks, vanilla extract, the milk mixture, yeast mixture and raisins. Using the dough hook mix everything for about 5 minutes until everything is well blended together and the dough should come off the sides of the bowl. The dough will be a softer dough and somewhat sticky to your hands. The more you mix the dough the fluffier it will be.
Take a large bowl and oil it with about 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and use the other tbsp of vegetable oil to rub over the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free environment. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, could take 1 to 2 hours.
Great 3 loaf pans with oil or butter. My loaf pans are 12 x 4.5 x 3 inches, but the regular smaller loaf pans work just as well.
Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it in 3 equal pieces. On a big surface where you can work the dough, oil the surface, we will not use flour here, I find that oil works better. Take one piece and roll it out using a rolling pin, into a rectangle that's about 1/2 inch in thickness and the width of your loaf pans. Spread about 1/3 of the nut mixture over the dough. then roll it up jelly style. Place the roll in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
Cover the loaf pans with a clean damp kitchen towel, place in a warm, draft free environment and let the loaves rest until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
Place the loaves in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown. To test if they are done inside, insert a toothpick into the center and if it comes out clean the loaves are done.
Let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes in the loaf pans. Run a knife around the edges of the loaves, to make sure they didn't stick, then remove the loaves from the loaf pans, transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool completely before slicing into them and serving.
While the dough is rising add the walnuts or pecans to a food processor and pulse a few times until the nuts are finely ground. Add the sugar and cocoa powder to the processor and pulse a few more times until everything is well incorporated.
In the bowl of your mixer add the egg whites and mix until stiff peaks form. Fold in the nut mixture. Place this in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the dough rise faster and create that warm, draft free environment for the dough to rise in, I usually turn the oven on to 200 F degrees, turn it off, then place the dough in the oven with the door closed.
Once the loaves have cooled completely, I usually wrap them in plastic wrap and store them just on the counter for up to 4 days. You can also place them in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them, just make sure they are tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and you can freeze them for up to a month.
This recipe will yield 3 loaves.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.