Make Ahead

My Grandmother's Cocosh

December  9, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Makes 3 large rolls
Author Notes

Most Hungarians, or people of Hungarian descent, or maybe even just New Yorkers, know cocosh and dream of cocosh and consider cocosh to be part of their cultural heritage. In my mind, my grandmother is synonymous with cocosh. You walk into her house, and there's a plate of cocosh, neatly sliced, on the table. She's comes for a visit, and there's a roll of cocosh, neatly wrapped, emerging from her bag. She even travels with the recipe, so she'll have it with her, just in case. (You never know when you might need an emergency roll of cocosh. Truth.) Cocosh, for those of you who don't have grandmother like mine, is a rolled yeast cake with a cocoa filling. It is the most perfect thing- a childhood memory of warmth and yeast and oozing chocolate, that actually lives up to itself. —Hungry Souls

What You'll Need
  • The dough:
  • 3 pounds white flour
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 tablespoon (heaping) sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water + pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • Filling
  • vegetable oil for brushing
  • 3 parts white sugar: 1 part cocoa
  1. 1. In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar. Set aside while it proofs
  2. 2. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into the flour. Add the milk, then the sour cream, the eggs and then finally the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Knead in the oil. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Clean out your mixing bowl, and lightly grease it. Return the dough to the bowl, turning it to coat it in oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  3. 3. When the dough has risen, remove from bowl and divide into three equal parts. Place one piece of dough on a lightly floured surface. Keep the other pieces of dough covered while you work. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about the size of say, a 9x13 sheet pan. You want the dough to be thin, but not so much so that it is transparent. Brush it with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Sprinkle on some of the sugar-cocoa mixture brushing it so that it spreads and becomes paste-like. Add more filling until it no longer forms a paste and you have a layer of sandy looking sugar-cocoa mixture. Starting from the edge of the width closest to you, tightly roll the dough. Once the dough is rolled, tuck the edges in on the themselves so that the filling doesn't spill out, and lay the roll, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Cover and let rise until doubled. This will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
  4. 4. While the loaves are rising, preheat oven to 350 F. When the loaves have finished rising, brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk. Bake for 30 minutes until browned on top. Cool on rack. If serving immediately, slice and serve. If not when cool, wrap the loaves well and store them in the fridge. Cocosh has the tendency to go stale very, very quickly if not properly stored. The loaves can also be frozen whole. They'll stay a good while in your freezer-about 2-3 months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Windischgirl
  • Annie stader
    Annie stader
  • AntoniaJames
  • Hungry Souls
    Hungry Souls

10 Reviews

Windischgirl January 12, 2015
My parents are Hungarian, but from the little Southwestern corner that intersects with Slovenia and Austria. There was something so familiar about the name of this bread, but it took me a while to recall what it was. In Slovenian, "Cocosh" (spelled "kokos") means Hen...but this didn't sound like a chicken recipe!
Cocosh sounds like the middle step between a retes (strudel) and a kalacs. Kalacs is also made with a yeast dough, maybe a slight bit thicker than a cocosh, and it's traditionally filled with sweetened ground poppy seeds or coarsely ground walnuts mixed with cinnamon sugar.
Those Hungarians! They love their pastries. This sounds yum.
Hungry S. January 13, 2015
This is so interesting. I love food history/ethnography. From what you say, I imagine the name cocosh derives from kalacs somehow, though in my grandmother's house we always call the version with nuts and cinnamon diosh.
Hungarian pastries are pretty much the best. Enjoy!
Windischgirl January 13, 2015
Ah... Diosh means walnut, so, dios kalacs and makos (poppyseed) kalacs. I'm wondering if the cohosh came from cocoa... If your family used the name of the filling as a shorthand. When the pastry is good, why not cut the the chase?
Hungarian Grandmas are the best as well. Thank you for sharing this!
Hungry S. January 13, 2015
Yes-we had makosh too, though I have to say that as a kid I vastly preferred the chocolate version.
Windischgirl January 13, 2015
Funny, in my family we fight over the makos...and then we get all silly and talkative from the poppy buzz. I Will definitely be trying your Grandma's cohosh!
Hungry S. January 13, 2015
Great! Let me know if it lives up to your family's version.
Annie S. January 8, 2015
I tested this for the contest and it was truly great, thanks for the recipe ! I love the notes about your grandmother they added something special. It is now part of my family.
Hungry S. January 8, 2015
I am so glad! Cocosh should be part of everyone's family.
AntoniaJames December 11, 2014
Oh my goodness. This sounds marvelous. Thank you for posting it. ;o)
Hungry S. December 12, 2014
Thank you!