First, we had peppermint brownies. Then, carmelitas. Now, these cranberry walnut bagels. In other news, I am officially set for the winter with carbs (lolololololz, just kidding. I can never have too many carbs).
Speaking of carbs, a story: Last week, my husband approached me with an idea. “I’m reading a preview of this book,” he said. “OK,” I said, probably while eating one of the aforementioned carbs. “It’s called ‘Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog.’ I think I want to order it,” he said.
Here’s where you think I’m totally kidding about the title of the book. I am not. This is real life, guys.
Continuing: “From what I’ve read so far, the writer says you should eat more fatty foods like bacon and cheese and fewer carbs like bread and bagels. What do you think?”
It’s like the man doesn’t even know me.
OK yes yes, I do lurve me some bacon and cheese and all the fats, I do. But to give up my precious breads and bagels and sometimes desserts? Cannot. Do. It. Which is why I baked these bagels as an act of symbolic/edible protest (I’m so mature, go me).
P.S. The writer also suggests not running as your sole form of exercise (“Don’t Jog”) and maybe not eating so much kale because we can’t digest all of the nutrients from it that we think we can. Or something. I’m not exactly sure because I haven’t read it and I’m just going by what my husband said he read in the preview, but it’s enough information for me to stress-eat another bagel with double the cream cheese.
ANYWAY, let’s talk about happier times and things like bagels. Specifically these bagels, which I am officially declaring as my new favorite homemade bagel recipe. They’re chewy, with crunchy toasted walnuts and sweet-tart dried cranberry jewels tucked inside and each bite is like a flavorful, carbo-full heaven. AND OH HEY there’s whole wheat flour in there, too, and I used lower sugar dried cranberries — for the health!
If you haven’t made homemade bagels before, I really cannot stress enough that now is the time to do so. There is nothing better than a homemade bagel, truly — they’re denser, they’re chewier, they have more flavor per bite and I like to think they’re better for you, too, because you made them from scratch. These in particular, what with the combination of toasted walnuts (← toast them, pretty please, it’s so much yummier) and tart cranberries that lends a perfect complexity of texture to the bagel, are oh-so-extra-delicious.
And they’re easy-peasy to make, too: it’s actually kind of ridiculous just how easy. If you’ve got a couple of hours in your day (most of which is spent letting the dough rise and bake/catching up on episodes of “Parenthood,” P.S. whaaaaaat is happening there), use it to make these bagels. You will not be sorry.
I’ve been eating these for breakfast toasted with cream cheese and sometimes with a drizzle of honey, but also for lunch as a sandwich bread with turkey and slices of havarti. I’m currently having future visions of pressed bagel grilled cheeses, too, or bagel bread pudding/strata. Or bagel croutons on a salad with candied pecans and goat cheese? Or bagel French toast?? I can’t even deal. And this is why I can’t give up the carbs.
That, above? My life every morning from now until Christmas (because on Christmas it will be cookies, obvi).
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 2 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup chopped raw walnuts, toasted
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and sugar. Add ½ cup warm water. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, stir flours and salt to combine. Pour in yeast mixture and another ½ cup warm water. Stir, adding just enough of remaining ¼ cup water until a dough forms. Stir in dried cranberries and walnuts.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead in any extra dried cranberries and walnuts that didn't get stirred into dough. Knead dough by hand 10 to 15 minutes until smooth, soft and elastic (the windowpane test, which I mention here, works really well to know if it's fully kneaded).
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise in a warm place 1 hour until doubled.
- Punch down risen dough; let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large, wide pot two-thirds full with water. Heat water to just below a simmer. Heat oven to 425 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Use fingers to poke a hole in center of each ball, stretching each hole until it is as big as half the diameter of entire bagel (it might look too big at first, but it will shrink when you boil/bake it). Place bagels on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel or lightly greased plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
- Once bagels have rested, use a slotted spoon to lower a few bagels at a time into simmering water. Allow bagels to float to top. Leave bagels in water 1 to 2 minutes, then flip over and leave in water another 1 to 2 minutes (the longer they stay in the water, the chewier they become). Remove bagels with slotted spoon and return to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.