Laced with the essence of cherry and the crunch of toasted almonds, these bagels were chewy perfection waiting for a favorite schmear, cheese or creamy nut spread .
Every week or so I make a batch of yogurt for our breakfasts. Usually there’s nothing to it: I a bit of the previously made yogurt as the starter for the next batch, and in this way yogurt begets yogurt. And even though I use powdered milk (a blend of whole and nonfat) the flavor is excellent.
The ability to easily whip up a batch of yogurt from powdered milk is handy since our little Native store in the Arctic bush doesn’t stock plain yogurt and since milk goes for about four times what it does in places connected by roads. But last week, something strange happened. The yogurt came out, for lack of a better word, weird. It separated into yogurt and way too much whey. The yogurt tasted fine, but the consistency was off-putting. Always loathe to toss out food, I strained the entire batch through cheesecloth overnight, hoping for yogurt cheese. The next morning, we had a taste and agreed it had turned out delicious. So, add another culinary feat to the list: homemade yogurt cheese.
At this point, we needed bagels.
This week’s cherry almond bagels were inspired by our desire to spread yogurt cheese onto a bagel leaning slightly more toward sweet than savory. Dried cherries and almond extract seemed like a perfect combination to mix into the bagel dough. A 20 minute baking time is just right to toast the almond slices which added a very satisfying crunch to each bite – and no, the almond slices did not crumble off; they adhered quite well and were there till the last bite. These bagels are the sweet counterpart to savory favorites such as onion bagels or “everything” bagels.
Cherry Almond Bagels
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp almond extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
- 3 quarts boiling water
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- sliced almonds for topping
- Place first 7 ingredients into bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough setting.
- When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and let rest.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 3 tbsp of sugar.
- While water is coming to a boil, cut dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Flatten balls into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Poke a hole in each disc and twirl the disk around your finger to enlarge the hole. Place bagels back on the lightly floured surface to rest until the water boils.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- When water is boiling, place bagels in water. Boil for 1 minute, then flip to boil for an additional minute. (I fit 4 bagels at a time in my pot.)
- After bagels have boiled, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or strainer spoon made for frying. Place bagels on a clean, dry towel.
- Arrange bagels on baking sheet. Brush tops of bagels with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until well browned.
Try bagels 3 ways if you’d rather have a savory version.