Cozonac cu Nuca, Romanian Christmas Bread Recipe

Cozonac cu nuca is a traditional Romanian Christmas bread. Filled with nuts, cocoa and citrus.

The flavour is outstanding. I had never tried such a combination, but now I love it. The dough is sweet and soft, and quite similar to brioche. Make sure to leave it fermenting long enough during the final proof, so that is puffs up well before you bake it. You do not want this to be dense.

Come to think of it actually there is another bread that combines cocoa. citrus and nuts. It is the Italian Easter bread called Gubana. Be sure to check it out on the festive breads page where I have many different celebrational bread recipes from all over the globe.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

250g (8.8oz) strong white bread flour

1 egg (cold from the fridge)

1 lemon worth of zest

3g (0.1oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast

5g (0.2oz) salt

40g (1.4oz) sugar

50g (1.75oz) soft butter

110g (3.9oz) cold milk

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


For the filling

180g (6.3oz) ground walnuts

60g (2.1oz) sugar

60g (2.1oz) milk

5g (0.2oz) cocoa powder

5g (0.2oz) lemon juice

1 lemon worth of zest


  1. To make the filling add the milk, sugar, lemon juice and cocoa to a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and add the ground walnuts. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest. Cover and leave to cool down.
  2. In a bowl add the milk, yeast, salt, sugar, lemon zest and egg. Mix to dissolve the sugar and hydrate the yeast.
  3. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  4. Knead using the stretch & fold method for 5 minutes, add the butter and knead for another 5 – 7 minutes or until smooth. Desired dough temperature 26-27C (79-80F).
  5. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
  6. Fold.
  7. Cover and ferment 1 hour.
  8. Roll the dough out to a large rectangle. Cut it in half, fill each half with half of the filling. Brush the edges with water and roll up the two pieces of dough sealing the seams. Twist the two pieces around each other to form the loaf.
  9. Place in a loaf tin. Cover and ferment for 2 – 2.5 hours. I used a 22cm (8.7in) 1kg (2lb) loaf tin. But you could just bake it on a tray if you do not have a loaf tin. During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on. If you have a thick tray or cast-iron skillet then use that as a base to place your loaf tin on. But if you do not that is fine it will work anyway.
  10. Brush the loaf with egg.
  11. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Or until 94C (200F) internal temperature.
  12. Let the loaf sit in the pan for around 10 minutes before removing.

Let it cool for at least 1 hour before cutting!

Watch the video here

More Posts In This Category