Authentic New York Bagel Recipe

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I know I say this every time I try a new bagel recipe… But I mean it this time. This is the best bagel recipe I’ve tried. I’ve experimented with with different yeasts, overnight rises, sponges, boiling times, and oven temperatures….but this recipe takes the cake, and definitely deserves a post. All the leavening in this recipe is done the night before, which makes life so much easier. While fresh bagels in the morning are amazing, it is always a struggle to get out of bed at five in the morning to get the dough ready for its first rise.

The factors that distinguish this recipe include the sponge, the high-gluten flour, the malt syrup, the baking temperature, and the use of alkaline boiling water. The ingredients include:

Sponge:
4 cups high-gluten bread flour
1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:
3-3/4 cups bread flour
1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
2 tablespoons of honey
3 teaspoons of salt
(Makes 1 dozen large bagels or up to 24 mini bagels)

Toppings/flavoring:
Poppy seeds
Egg white
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup blueberries
1/3 cup blueberry juice (I used POM)

Time:
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Baking: 15 – 25 minutes.

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, additional teaspoon yeast, 3 teaspoons salt, and about 3 cups of the bread flour into the sponge. Save the remaining 3/4 cup of flour for kneading. This step is easily accomplished in a bread machine or stand mixer, but can also be done by hand. If you’ve used the high-gluten flour, this step might take a little extra effort. Make sure you keep an eye on your mixer…. It might overheat!

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Once all of the ingredients have been mixed in, knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand.At this point in time, I flavored the dough. I doubled this recipe, and divided all the dough equally between three bowls.

For the blueberry bagels, I added 1/3 cup blueberry juice, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries. I had to add an additional cup of flour to get the dough consistency right, and kneaded the dough again for about five minutes.

For the cinnamon raisin bagels, I added 3 tablespoons cinnamon, and 1 cup of raisins. I kneaded this dough for another five minutes as well.

For the poppyseed bagels, I left the dough plain, and simply topped them with egg wash and poppy seeds after they were boiled.

Once the dough has been kneaded, divide it into one dozen pieces, approximately 4-1/2 ounces per piece.

Shape these into round smooth balls by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around to that it forms a nice smooth skin and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 – 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

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To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole until it is at least 3″ in diameter. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 – 8 bagels will fit on a standard cookie sheet.

Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. Once they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.

Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

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Place two baking racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle the greased sheets with cornmeal or plain bread crumbs. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry, then place them on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with a topping (or leave them plain). If you are going to top the bagels, brush the bagel tops with egg wash to ensure that the toppings stick. You can sprinkle them with a small amount of kosher salt, sesame seeds, cheese, poppy seeds…the options are endless.

To bake, place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven and bake for five minutes. Rotate the sheets by turning them 180 degrees, and put the top sheet on the bottom and vice versa. Let the bagels bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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50 Shades of Chocolate Chip Cookies: Plain, PB & Banana, and Candied Bacon

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The classic chocolate chip cookie will always have a special place in my heart, right next to my mother’s homemade jam, and macaroni and cheese. But everyone likes to a little variety, and today I was feeling adventurous. I wanted to have a cookie taste-off at work, to see which cookie would be best received. I decided to make my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, along with a candied bacon, and a healthy peanut butter and banana variation. The three recipes are included below:

PB & BANANA CHOCO CHIP COOKIE RECIPE:

  • 3 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy)
  • 1/4 cup canola (or olive oil)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned (large flake) or quick oats
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

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Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, mash together the bananas, peanut butter, oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along, and stir in the chocolate chips until the ingredients are combined.

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Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a Silpat lined baking sheet (or one that is sprayed with nonstick spray), and bake for about 12 minutes, until just set. The won’t look browned on the top, but the bottoms will be. The far right picture is the way the cookies look baked. Keep a careful eye on the timer, you don’t want to the bottoms to burn!

CANDIED BACON CHOCO CHIP COOKIE RECIPE:

Candied Bacon:

  • 8 slices center cut thick bacon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Cookie Dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar over the bacon strips.

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Bake for 18-25 minutes, making sure to turn bacon over after 10 minutes. The bacon should be nicely caramelized, and crispy. Let the bacon cool on a wire rack, and chop into fine pieces ones it is fully cooled.

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In a medium bowl, cream butter with the white and brown sugar. Add vanilla, egg, and egg yolk to the bowl and beat until light and creamy. Add flour and baking soda, and mix well. Add chopped bacon and chocolate chips, and stir until just combined. Place gumball sized balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and refrigerate overnight.

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cookies sit on the pan for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack.

MY FAVORITE CHOCO CHIP COOKIE RECIPE

I followed the instructions in the above link for my classic cookie.

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I made these cookies a little smaller, so I let them back for about 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees F.

I let all of the dough rest in the fridge overnight, and baked the cookies the following morning. This allows the flavors to develop, and generally leads to a chewier, tastier cookie.  I also wanted to them to be as fresh as possible.

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I got a lot of different opinoins, and at the end of the day, there wasn’t a clear winner. My personal favorite was the candied bacon variety, but some people loved the PB & banana cookies. And then there are always those people who prefer the classic chocolate chip cookie. Regardless, I think that this variety of cookies can please most palettes 😀

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

After a lot of planning and coordination, my friend Drew and I were finally able to have a UW brunch! Our friend Kelcey was in town, and a large group of us were able to get together this Sunday and catch up. My roommate Sarah and I decided to make cinnamon rolls and a spicy egg bake. I chose to try out a few cinnamon roll variations, and used my favorite cinnamon roll recipe as a base. I stuffed half of them with bacon, and filled the rest with a pumpkin pie filling. The ingredients included:

Dough:
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast {use the fast acting kind!}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour

Filling:
1/2 cup softened margarine
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup softened margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons smoked maple bourbon

Add ins:

1 lb bacon, partially cooked (7 minutes at 425 degrees F)

1/2 can pureed pumpkin, combined with 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

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In a large bowl, combine water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir, and let proof for about 5 minutes. Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, stir in the remaining sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, I added the buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until the egg is incorporated with the other ingredients. Pour the contents into the yeast mixture, and stir until combined. Pour in two cups of flour, and stir together with a spoon until the ingredients are combined. Add in the rest of the flour gradually, and mix until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes. Grease the large bowl used to proof the dough, and cover with a dish towel. Let the dough rise for about an hour (until dough had doubled in size).

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While the dough was proofing, make the filling. In a medium size bowl,  stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch until combined. Flour the surface where you intend to roll the dough out, and lightly floured dough as well. Roll the dough out into a 20×30 rectangle. If it’s a little short or uneven, you can cut off the edges to even it out. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough.

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Dump the brown sugar mixture in the middle of the dough and spread it out with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the butter, but leaving a 1-inch strip of dough untouched. Lightly press the sugar mixture into the butter using a rolling pin, and then added the pre-cooked bacon and pumpkin pie filling.

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A friend of mine eats kosher, so I made the pumpkin pie rolls separately, before adding the bacon.

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Roll the dough into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the log together. Score the log every 1.5 inches and then sliced the rolls using those marks. Make sure to use a sharp knife. Put the rolls into a pan lined with greased parchment paper or foil, leaving about an inch between each roll. I let the cut rolls rise for another hour, until they had risen again.

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Make the frosting while the rolls are rising, by using a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese and butter together. Stir in the vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice, and maple bourbon. combine, then add in the powdered sugar in two installments.

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Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until they start to brown. Frost them immediately once out of the oven. I tried the pumpkin pie variation, since it was a new recipe. What really made these cinnamon rolls was the smoked maple bourbon. It took the frosting to a whole new level, and was such a wonderful combination with both cinnamon roll variations. YUM! I’m still drooling just thinking about these.

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M&M Oreo Cookie Bars

Tomorrow is my first day back on my main client at work, and I wanted to make something for my team. I stumbled across this recipe, and knew it was going to be my inspiration for tomorrow’s treat. Oreos, M&Ms, cookie dough…combined into one, amazing baked good. I used birthday cake oreos, because they undoubtedly are the best type of oreo. The ingredients include:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 18 oreos, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 large bag of milk chocolate M&Ms

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter over low heat, and let cool. Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, and one cup of flour. Mix, then add second cup of flour. Pour in the melted butter, and vanilla. Mix until the ingredients are fully combined.

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Add oreos, and mix gently until the oreos are evenly distributed. Place the cookie dough into a greased, foiled baking dish (8 in. x 13 in.), and sprinkle the M&Ms over the top. Lightly press M&Ms down into the dough. Bake for 28 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Cool fully before cutting, and serving.

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The cookie bars turned out beautifully, and I can’t wait for my team to try them 😀