A somewhat different cozonac that'll impress you with its aroma, thanks to the spices that seem nontypical at first glance. We'll be using just a little of them, to provide a hint of an interesting and different aroma, one that melds together with the traditional taste of an Easter cozonac. The recipe is for bold experimenters, unafraid to try something new.
Dissolve the yeast in the slightly heated milk with 1 tsp sugar and 2 tsp flour. Cover with a towel and leave to effervesce for 8-10 min.
Sift the flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle of it. Pour in the slightly beaten eggs, minus 1 yolk, 1/2 the fats, lemon rind, vanillas, spices, rum and effervescent yeast. Knead a dough, transfer it to a floured counter, sprinkle just a tiny bit of flour and some of the remaining fats. Knead until it stops sticking and you obtain a smooth, fluffy dough.
Once bubbles start to form, shape it into a ball. Return it to the bowl - oiled or slightly floured, cover with a moist, clean towel. Leave in a warm area to rise for 2 hours, then take it out onto the counter again and press it with clenched fists or palms to get the air out of it. You're going to hear a light popping from the air bubbles.
Divide it into 6 equal parts, form each into a wick, twist it slightly. Weave them together in 3's, then connect their ends. Place the 2 cozonacs in round trays, about 7″ (18 cm) in diameter each, covered with baking paper.
Put in an oven preheated to 104°F (40 °C), which you've subsequently turned off. Once tripled in volume in about 50 min., smear them carefully (without pressing) with an egg yolk beaten with a little water, then sprinkle sugar and sliced almonds.
You can mix the sugar with powdered anise for an even stronger aroma; optionally add extra spices from the ones listed, excluding the cinnamon (it's added to the dough for just a hint of flavor).
Put in a preheated 320°F (160 °C) oven, with the fan off. Bake 30 min., check on them from time to time and cover with aluminum foil if they get a dark crisp quickly.
Leave the ready cozonacs to cool before cutting them. Enjoy!