In the tapestry of holiday traditions, there exists a thread that binds generations together—a thread woven with love, care, and the aroma of freshly baked delights. For me, that thread takes the form of my grandmother’s hands meticulously crafting a Christmas masterpiece: Cozonac cu Nucǎ, a Traditional Romanian Sweet Cocoa and Walnut Bread.

As winter painted the world in frosty hues, our family kitchen became the heart of our festive celebrations. The air would buzz with excitement as my grandmother, a custodian of culinary wisdom passed down through the years, embarked on her annual ritual of Cozonac making. It wasn’t merely a recipe; it was an ode to heritage, a culinary symphony that echoed with the laughter of generations past.

In those cherished moments, the kitchen transformed into a haven of nostalgia. The sweet embrace of cocoa intermingled with the earthy warmth of rum essence, while the rhythmic sound of walnuts being ground filled the air. Each step in the recipe was a dance, a connection to the past, and a promise of sweet memories to come.

The process was as important as the product, for in the making of Cozonac, stories were shared, family bonds were strengthened, and the spirit of Christmas was woven into every knead of dough. The journey from a handful of ingredients to a loaf of fragrant bread mirrored the journey of our family—each element blending seamlessly to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

As the Cozonac dough rose, so did the anticipation in our hearts. The aroma wafting from the oven was a prelude to the joy that awaited us. The house became a haven of warmth, not just from the oven but from the love that permeated every corner—a love that transcended time and found its expression in the simple act of sharing a slice of Cozonac.

This recipe isn’t just a list of ingredients and steps; it’s a portal to a bygone era, a portal through which the laughter of children, the whispers of family secrets, and the love that shaped us all echo into the present. Join me on this journey as we recreate not just a sweet cocoa and walnut bread but a tradition, a piece of our shared history, and a taste of Christmas past. May every bite be a tribute to the love that continues to nourish us, year after year.

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Grandma's Christmas Delight: Traditional Romanian Sweet Cocoa and Walnut Bread - Cozonac cu nucǎ

Grandma’s Christmas Delight: Traditional Romanian Sweet Cocoa and Walnut Bread – Cozonac cu nucǎ

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 1 minute
Servings 1 cozonac



  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts



  • In a small bowl, combine warm milk, a teaspoon of sugar, and the active dry yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining sugar, melted butter, eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, rum essence, and salt.
  • Pour in the yeast mixture and knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
  • Gently fold in the ground walnuts, ensuring an even distribution.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, usually around 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Punch down the risen dough and divide it in half. Roll out each portion into a rectangle.
  • Spread a layer of melted butter on each rectangle, then roll them into tight cylinders.
  • Place the rolled dough in greased and floured loaf pans and let them rise for an additional 30-45 minutes.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve with a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of fresh milk.

A Slice of Tradition in Every Bite

As the aroma of Cozonac cu Nucǎ fills your kitchen and the anticipation of Christmas permeates the air, let each slice of this Traditional Romanian Sweet Cocoa and Walnut Bread become a timeless connection to the heart of our shared traditions. The journey from mixing bowl to oven to table is more than a culinary feat; it’s a celebration of family, a nod to the hands that came before, and a promise to those who will follow.

In every bite, may you taste not just the richness of cocoa and walnuts but the richness of love that has been passed down through the generations. As you share this festive delight with loved ones, let it be a reminder that traditions, much like Cozonac, are meant to be savored, celebrated, and shared.

May your holiday season be infused with the warmth of family, the joy of togetherness, and the sweet memories that become the cornerstone of a life well-lived. From my kitchen to yours, may the spirit of Christmas find its way into every nook and cranny, just like the sweet aroma of Cozonac cu Nucǎ.

Wishing you a season filled with love, laughter, and the simple joys that make life delicious. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!