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Cherry Walnut Soda Bread

I come from an Italian and Greek family. We celebrate a lot of things with a lot of food.

But, here comes St. Patrick’s Day. The Dear One is Irish (mostly) and can trace his roots back to Town someplace in the County something. Totally lost in translation for me.

Sadly, this is what I know about being Irish …

Irish Whisky
Guinness (Steak & Guinness Pie)
Uncle Nicky’s Irish Cream
Irish Stew
Beer
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC
LeprechaunS

I’m sure there are other things … but the knowledge is SERIOUSLY limited.

I want to make something special for the Dear One. Celebrate his heritage a wee bit.

I opened the Boston Globe and there was a recipe from Lisa Yockelson of Baking Style Diary for a cherry and walnuts soda bread. This is the ticket.

No blarney, this was fantastic and easy … and gone. Great combination of favorite flavors. This could make even the least Irish amongst us to feel a bit green on St. Patrick’s Day!

  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks
  • 1 egg plus 1 extra yolk
  • ½ cup buttermilk, or more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup dried Montmorency cherries
  • ⅔ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

NOTE: Didn’t have buttermilk. Didn’t want to buy a gigantic container of buttermilk for a mere 1/2 cup. I do, however, keep a container of buttermilk powder in the fridge for just such emergencies. Worked like a charm! The powder goes in with the dry ingredients and you add water to the wet ingredients. Not sure how it works – magic, I’m sure – but it does!

Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar to blend them.

Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two blunt knives, cut the fat into the flour until it is reduced to pea-size bits. Using your fingertips, lightly crumble the mixture for 1 minute to reduce the butter into small flakes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture. Scatter the cherries and walnuts on top. With a rubber spatula, stir to form a dense but cohesive mixture to bring the dough together. If necessary, add more buttermilk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Knead the dough lightly and briefly in the bowl for half a minute.

Turn the dough out onto the counter. Form it into a plump ball about 5½ to 6 inches in diameter. Place the ball on the baking sheet and use a sharp paring knife to slash a shallow “X” in the top.

Bake the round for 45 to 50 minutes, or until set and golden on top. Using two spatulas, carefully transfer the bread from the parchment paper to a wire rack to cool completely.

Use a serrated knife to cut into slices.

https://static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Done

As Robert Burns once wrote … ‘The best laid schemes ‘o mice an’ men’ …

As anyone still out there may recall, this past January I took a stand against cyber stalking, pledging to not allow fright and fear of judgment curb my enthusiasm for writing.

AND THEN …

Came the snow! (Imagine that, snow in Maine …) And there was the Dear One, shoveling and shoveling and shoveling. It pained me to watch him do this all alone, so off I went to help. It pained me to watch him and then it pained me the next morning ~ SCIATICA. Crippling sciatica. Off we go to the doctor. Here’s some meds. They will help. Rest. Heat. Cold. Drugs. Repeat.

After a few days, they did help. Helped enough so I was able to get myself out of bed and go downstairs.

At our house in cold and snowy and blowy Maine, it was not easy to keep the outer door closed tight and we would offer awake to inches of snow inside the porch doorway. The solution? Put a log there.

Physically fragile and compromised me goes to walk outside and instead of bending over to move the log, I pushed it aside with the outside of my left foot. No big deal.

HA!

I opened my eyes the next morning in the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. It was blinding. I couldn’t stand or walk or sit. I had one comfortable position and one emotion ~ hysteria.

Dear One and I drive off to the doctor again, this time with me lying across the back seat in the fetal position sobbing. Different drugs. Rest. Heat. Cold. Drugs. Repeat. No better come in and we’ll start running tests.

And really crappy drugs. I needed the mother of all muscle relaxers and I truly felt this medical office was ‘not getting it’. I managed to get flexeril, but I was in pain. I needed relief. It wasn’t happening. I was just stoned out of my head. Not sleeping, just passed out. Not eating (not the worst thing in the world). Sad. Deflated.

A friend or two stepped in and suggested an osteopath. Being the skeptical gal I am, I just didn’t see that working. But at this point – three weeks of being in bed – I would have done nearly anything anyone suggested for relief.

On a ridiculously snowy day, the Dear One and I drive 40 minutes to see the osteopath. I walk in the door and there’s sitar music playing and incense burning and I’m thinking – ‘yeah, right. This ain’t gonna work. $230 down the drain.’

I lay on the table and the doctor placed his hands on my middle and lower back. Then my knee and hip. Light little fluttery touches. Nope, nope, nope, not working, not working … OH MY GOD, the muscles I pulled and twisted and tore RELAXED. No more drugs, slow pace, less bed rest, more sessions with him. And after 6 weeks, I felt like … well, at 80%.

What I didn’t realize at the time was the emotional and mental blow this took on my psyche. I was just unhappy and unmotivated. I did just the bare minimum I needed to do to get by. Quite frankly, I didn’t even realize this was happening. I wasn’t writing or cooking anything new, certainly not taking photos. I felt myself slipping away. Nothing was fun. Nothing was interesting. Get up. Shower. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat.

Finally, a dear friend who had been trying to reach out to me over and over again, cornered me. And we started talking … and talking … and talking … it didn’t hurt that she is an incredible neuropsychologist …

Everything had caught up to me after the injury … moving, being away from my family, my friends, being away from my darling son and his new bride, trying to find a place to fit in with the Dear One and his children, making new friends, being seriously injured, feeling isolated and alone. I don’t have those bring you chicken soup at 2:00 am friends here yet. No one who would reach out and come and visit or … It all just came crashing down on my soul at once. I was just paralyzed. My dear friend has known me for many, many years and heard the sadness and desperation creeping into my head. Her answer … let’s talk some more and let’s think about prozac.

I knew what I thought about prozac and I was VERY reluctant. The first pill I took was truly really hard to swallow. I was terrified. And I sat, patiently (well, as patient as I am capable of being) waiting for something to happen. As if there would be a TA-DA! moment. There wasn’t.

But one morning I woke up, just as dear Dr. D.T. said, and it felt as though the haze was gone. I felt happier in my head, my heart and soul felt lighter. I tried a new recipe. I giggled. I’m sleeping.

I’m getting better. I’m at the edge of the woods about to step into the sun light. Thank you, Dear one for being so patient and for dropping everything to stay home and take care of me. Thank you, D.T., I would have been able to get to this point without you. To my friends and family I’ve hidden from for the last number of months, I’m sorry, I love you all, and I’m back amongst the living.

So, while in bed I saw this recipe for Rhubarb Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping from Melissa Clark in the New York Times Cooking section. It looked like it had to be made. I had rhubarb that had to be cooked.

Tender, sweet, easy, yummy. The true testament is it being gone in a day!

Cake

  • 1 C of sugar
  • ½ C of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ½ t nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 C rhubarb, diced

 

Streusel Topping

  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ C walnuts, chopped
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 T butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a nine-by-thirteen pan. Assemble the cake, cream together the sugar and the butter, beat in the egg and buttermilk. Whisk or sift together the flour, soda, and optional nutmeg, and add it to the sugar, butter, egg, buttermilk mixture. Mix all together completely, and then fold in the rhubarb. Spread in the baking pan.

Mix the topping by combining the sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and melted butter, and distributing it over the top of the cake batter.

Bake for forty-five to fifty minutes. Serve warm.

Makes one nine-by-thirteen cake.

New York Crumb Cake

Ready

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once said “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” … “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

Not that I’m one to argue with a dead, French journalist, who coined one of the most used sentences … well, EVER …

BUT, for me, truth be told, the more things have changed, the more different they have become.

I was born in New York City. Grew up in New York City. Grammar school and high school in New York City. Up until November 2013, I had never lived further than 10 miles from everyone to whom I’m related – except my sister Maria who abandoned ship to marry a great guy and now lives in Oswego, IL.

I worked for my Dad for around 30 years as a paralegal and office manager.

I had GREAT gal pals.

November came along and EVERYTHING changed. I moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the calm and quiet of Bar Harbor, Maine (well, except for July and August when town is over run by tourists). Am no longer (mostly) working for my Dad, have new jobs, added some new gal pals to my beloved inner circle, live in a beautiful home surrounded by beautiful gardens, with the MOST incredible man.

I decided as I was packing my boxes that I no longer wanted to be a paralegal. I didn’t want a 9 to 5 office grind. If I was going to change everything about my life, I may as well change everything about  my life.

BUT WHAT DO I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!?

Well, who knows?! (and I refuse to grow up …) But I do know it HAS to involve food! At the moment, I’m working at Reel Pizza Cinerama – truly one of the coolest places EVER! I began my own summer based cooking business – The Maine Ingredients – which truly struggled its first summer. I even picked up a few shifts as a sous chef in a friend’s restaurant – Sweet Pea’s Cafe.

A little restless. A little bored. Feeling a little sorry for myself.

AND THEN! … an email from my friend Jennifer Steen Booher, whose photographs are the coolest I’ve ever seen (check them out on Quercus Design) arrived. Her daughter Tabby wants to cook, bake, be in the kitchen. They tried a cooking camp and it was a massive FAIL. Would I consider coming over and teaching Tabby and a couple of friends the way around a cake tin? WOULD I? HELLS YEAH!

We had a blast! We made pretzels and scones and bread and blueberry muffins and quiche and lemon meringue pie (which I had personally never made either and was knocking knees that it would work out – and it did!) and sticky buns and this New York Crumb Cake.

Jenn wrote a great piece about our time in the kitchen – check it out – and check out hr fabulous photography!

Thank you, Jenn for sharing your kitchen and daughter with me! Thank you Tabby, Anna, Irene, Geneva and Carolyn for making the lessons so much fun and for turning out some fabulous baked goods!

I’m hoping others will see this and Jenn’s piece on her blog and want some lessons too … if you do you can reach my by email themaineingredients@gmail.com or 207-801-0302!

See, the more things have changed, the more they have changed and the better they have become!

Makes one 9-by-12 1/2-inch cake

  • 2 T canola oil, plus more for pan
  • 4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325°. Lightly brush a 9-by-12 1/2-inch baking pan with canola oil, dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.

Batter in pan

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form.

Adding crumbs

 

Sprinkle crumbs over batter.

Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

Cooling

Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool.

Dusting

Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Homemade PopTarts

Ready

One of my guiltiest pleasures from childhood is POP-TARTS. Cherry Pop-Tarts to be exact, even better when they added the frosting to them! Don’t even need them toasted. Just right out of the package, simply inhaled.

I so related to Paula Poundstone and her thoughts on Pop-Tarts:

Inside there are three pouches of two. This is what happens to me: I open the first pouch, and I eat one tart, and I enjoy it very much, as naturally I would. And then I feel, Well, I have to eat the second one or it will go stale. Well, now I’ve eaten two, and it’s no longer just a snack, it’s a meal. I figure I may as well eat two more. And then finally I’m just like, Well hell, I don’t just want two pop tarts hangin’ out in a box. I eat the last two just to tidy up, really.

That’s exactly right! It makes absolute, perfect sense. And that’s pretty much what happened with the 9 that were baked in our house! Sadly, mostly by me … and Lisa … but not the skinny girl, who has ridiculous self control and loves to come into the kitchen to play with me!

I didn’t frost these. I have no excuses. It may have been sheer exhaustion. But they were really very good. And with a really good helper, very easy to make!

  • 2 C Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C unsalted butter, cut into pats
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T milk
  • 3/4 C raspberry jam – or flavor of your choice
  • 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T cold water

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible. Mix the egg and milk, and add it to the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a rough 3″ x 5″ rectangle, smoothing the edges. Roll out immediately; or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

While the dough is resting, make the filling. Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Once the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes.

Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. Laying a 9″ x 13″ pan atop the dough will give you an idea if you’ve rolled it large enough. Trim off the edges; place the scraps on a baking sheet, and set them aside, along with the 9″ x 12″ rectangle of dough.

Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Press the edge of a ruler into the dough you’ve just rolled, to gently score it in thirds lengthwise and widthwise; you’ll see nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the dough.

Filling

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each marked rectangle. Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around each pocket of jam, sealing the dough well on all sides.

Crimping

Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make nine tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with a fork, to seal again.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

Cooling

Remove the tarts from the fridge, and bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.

NOTE: Instead of jam you can fill the tarts with a tablespoonful of chocolate chips. Use seedless jam!

Warm Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberry Muffins

And here’s another I thought was in the Land of the Lost!

Done

ROAD TRIP!!

Nothing better than a ROAD TRIP with a dear friend!

Heading out of New York and up to Cape Cod. Yippeeee! 12 days of uninterupted peace and joy, good food, lots of laughs, and no work.

NOTE: I came back armed with many new blog posts, a few I’ve posted already, a few more to go, as I’ve been experimenting on my favorite (and most appreciative) ginny pig!

But wait! There has to be a downside, doesn’t there? Well, yes, actually, a downside. A 5 1/2 hour trip starting at 7:00 in the morning!

Food! We need food! No road trip is complete without good music, laughter, something to munch on. It has to be hand held, preferably sweet, and yummy.

I have a favorite blueberry cake from The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge – the warm cinnamon-spiced blueberry cake. Cake won’t work, especially for the driver. I wondered if these could be transformed into muffins. Muffins would be perfect for the ride.

Let’s see what happens ….

  • 1-1/3 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t table salt
  • 6 T butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 C sour cream

Topping:

  • 3/4 to 1 C blueberries (no more), rinsed and well dried
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon

Position an oven rack on the middle rung.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C).  Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of a standard muffin/cupcake tin – even if it’s non-stick.

NOTE: I used Baker’s Joy.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Whisk until well blended.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer (a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer) on medium speed until well blended.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat just until blended.  Add the vanilla with the second egg.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in 3 batches alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 10 minutes.

As soon as you put the tin in the oven, make the topping.  In a small bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Mix the ingredients together with a fork, lightly crushing the blueberries.

Adding blueberries

After the cake has baked for 10 minutes, sprinkle the topping evenly over each of the muffins, about a tablespoon on each.

NOTE: They slip around and off a little bit. Do your best to get them to stay center-ish.

Continue baking until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes longer.

Transfer the muffin tin to a rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the inside edge of each muffin to loosen them. Remove from tin.

Serve warm or at room temperature, or on 95 going 70.

Store cooled muffins in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Enjoying

NOTE: As muffins these worked out really well. The topping does better on the cake. The wide cake surface helps them sink a little bit into the cake. I need to put them on top soon before the muffins set too much. Next time, I’ll put the topping on sooner than 10 minutes, and hopefully that will help them sink and stay on the muffins better. All in all, though, the conversion from cake to muffins was great and these were yummmmmm.

Hurricane Sandy Faux Donuts ~ FAUXNUTS!

OMG! It’s a hurricane.

The water is coming! The wind is coming!

We need provisions! (as if this were a provisionless home!) I went to the market on Saturday, like I always do. I went with the same list I always go with … bananas, skim milk, chocolate milk, cold cuts, bread, veggies, pretzels …

People were shopping as though the end of the world were coming. As I approached the check out a woman looked at me and said “FOOD! You need FOOD! What are YOU going to do without food!?” I looked at her and said, “First, I have a freezer full of food. Second, you do realize, that they WILL deliver food again?” She looked at me as though I were completely daft.

In hindsight, I’m glad I shopped the way I did. My neighborhood was part of the lucky few areas that kept its lights, was whomped by wind, but not a LOT of damage, a tree here and there, but came through reasonably unscathed.

AND THEN THE BOREDOM STRIKES … yes, we are safe, but we can’t leave Brooklyn (a horror almost too much to bear), can’t get to work (yes, even I am itching to go to work!), can’t buy gas, certainly can’t give up a parking space! Stores are closed all over. Traffic is EVERYWHERE. How much time can you spend with loved ones before someone has to … well, someone must DIE …

The solution make donuts to tame the beasts and alleviate the boredom of the chief cook and bottle washer.

And here comes Pinterest again! While trolling through Pinterest one day I came across these lovely donuts pinned by a blogger over at Little Bit Funky. Seriously simple. All the donut without all the hassle. A new experiment to keep me occupied for a while.

Well, the donuts are one, two, three easy to make … but I had to cut the holes, decide to make the donut holes too, get my camera, set everything up, take pictures, sit and go through them, write this blog post, add the photos and press the publish button. OH, and I ate them as well!!

These easy peasy donuts gave me unending amounts of pleasure.

  • Canned biscuits ~ I used Pillsbury Buttermilk Grands. Anything BUT flakey ones.
  • 4 T melted butter in a shallow bowl
  • Sugar & Cinnamon in a another shallow bowl (this amount really goes by taste)
  • Vegetable or Canola oil to fill a pan up about 1/2 inch or so.

Heat oil over a medium flame.

While it is heating up, cut holes in the donuts with a cookie cutter or some other circular object. I used a Wilton medium sized flower fondant cutout.

Once cut, gently put into hot oil. When one side is golden brown, flip.

When the second side is golden, remove from oil and let drain on paper towel lined plate.

When the donuts have cooled enough to handle, dip one side in the melted butter, let the excess drip off, dip in cinnamon and sugar mixture, getting it nice and coated.  Repeat for the other side.

Thank goodness there are a number of kids on my block! These HAD TO GET OUT of the house before I ate every last one!

OH!! And I fried the faux-nut holes too! Piped some jelly inside and rolled them in powdered sugar. YUMMMMMM!

Bagels

 

Some of you may remember that last summer my friend Lizzy from that Skinny Chick Can Bake and I did a joint baked beans cook along – different recipes, same dish. We had so much fun doing this together we decided to try it again. The baked beans were my idea, so it was Lizzy’s turn to pick. Much to my chagrin, she chose bagels!

I have been dying to try my hand at bagels. Long story – when I was a kid (not just a kid at heart), and we had our house in Westport, the one annoying thing about the town was that every single solitary store (except perhaps Mr. Grubb’s – another story) closed at 6:00. One night my mom had a yen for bagels and none to be found. She pulled out her Joy of Coooking and got going. She didn’t finish until late, children falling asleep with tongues hanging out waiting for bagels, but they were great! Needless to say, gone in minutes!

When Lizzy said bagels, I figured I would follow in Mom’s footsteps – whoa, tooooo many steps! Off I went in search of a simple bagel recipe! As I stood gaping at my ever growing collection of cookbooks, I saw The Brooklyn Cookbook. What could be more Brooklyn than bagels? There must be a recipe for bagels there!

Gloomy, miserable rainy. Can’t go out. After the car fiasco on the Verrazano Bridge, I wasn’t driving ANYWHERE in the rain! (yet another story!) May as well make bagels. I can already hear Ernie sighing and saying “Walk to the corner. Buy them!”

 This bagel recipe was simple and fool (ME being the fool!) proof.

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/3 C warm water
  • 1 t salt
  • 4 C all purpose flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 egg, beaten with a little water, for glaze
  • coarse salt, or poppy seeds, or sesame seeds

Sprinkle yeast over the warm water, stir, and let dissolve.

Put the salt, flour, and 4 teaspoons of the sugar into the bowl of a food processor equipped with the dough blade. Pulse the mixture several times to mix it well. This aerates the ingredients.

Combine the yeast mixture and milk in a measuring cup. WIth the motor running, pour the mixture through the feed tube. Knead until the mixture balls together and is no longer sticky, about 60 seconds.

Lightly flour a large plastic bag, place the dough inside, squeeze out the air, and close the end of the bag. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch it down.

NOTE: At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Pull off pieces of dough to form 12 2 inch balls. Poke a finger through the ball, making a hole the size of a golf ball. With your fingers, shape the bagel evenly.

Put the bagels on a cookie sheet, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let them rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 4 quarts of water to the boil in a wide pot. Ad the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar. Poach the bagels, 3 or 4 at a time, for 30 seconds. Turn them over and poach for 30 seconds more.

Remove with a slotted spoon, let them drip briefly on a towel held under the spoon and place them 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.

Brush each with a little of the egg glaze.

Leave them plain or sprinkle with coarse salt, poppy seeds or sesame seeds, or a combo of all three.

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Let cool on racks – if you can bear to wait!

THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR NEXT TIME!:

  1. Use whole milk. I only had skim and the dough didn’t come together well. I added a bit more, but from the processor running for far more than 60 seconds, the dough was a little tough.
  2. Bake on parchment paper. When you egg wash them, if the egg wash trickles down onto the baking sheet, the bagels stick and that’s no bueno.

This was simple to pull together and the end result was fabulous, even given the over worked dough. This method is not an overly long process. These are not really big bagels, but not as small as mini-bagels.

And my favorite breakfast on a delicious bagel I MADE MYSELF!