Chocolate and Cherry Bagels. Or Buns.

I've been told recently that some people find me intimidating.  Seriously?  Me?  Intimidating?  I'm actually quite nice.  If anything, I'm really quite shy.  My shyness often manifests itself in a tendency for verbosity which I know some people find irritating.  But I honestly couldn't compute the notion that I'm intimidating.

Decadent bagels for breakfast

So whilst I had a little navel-gazing time last night, I thought about why I might be  perceived that way. And the only thing I can put it down to is that I am quite good at getting things done.  I'm in no way perfect.  I often leave things hanging open-ended.  Like the pile of filing that is on the floor next to my chair as I type.  I should be sorting it into a folder rather than blogging.  But in about twenty minutes when I've finished typing, I'm most likely to step over it and go and do something else like prepping my stuff for work in the morning.  I will come back to it.  But because filing doesn't light my fire, I will put it off until I'm really bored.

Whereas something like baking, I will make time for whenever I absolutely can.  Which is why on Friday, I was multi-tasking by speaking to a journo about the 366 Recipe Challenge whilst kneading the dough for my bagels.  She asked that same question everyone asks about the challenge.  "How did you find time to do it?"  I responded "By multi-tasking, actually, I'm kneading bagels while we talk because the only free time I have today is while Miss A is napping".  I had my Crackberry nearby too because although we finish at 12pm on Fridays, I have a big project going live tomorrow and I wanted to monitor any unforeseen disasters in the final hours of testing.

Nice buns
Could that be construed as intimidating?  The ability to do more than one thing at once?  I know other people don't know how I can manage a full time job, a toddler, running, cooking and blogging.  But I'm rubbish at long, empty tracts of time without anything to fill them with.  And if I have any such unplanned breaks in my schedule, my default response is to go do some work-work (thus avoiding housework).

I'd made my own bagels using a Dan Lepard recipe for the 366 Recipe Challenge and really enjoyed the process.  Because I am genuinely tight for time, I've not made them from scratch again since, but Miss A and I ritually eat bagels on Saturday and Sunday mornings for our breakfast.  We split one (proper ones, not the plasticky New York Bagel ones).  She has hers with chocolate Philly and banana and strawberries.  I have mine with peanut butter and banana.  But this weekend, I decided to do something a little different and the chocolate and cherry bagels were born.

The dough I made on my last attempt was really hard to work with so after a little research, I decided to use my own dough recipe and use a little oil in the hope of smoothing the dough and making it more elasticky.  Plus I eschewed Dan's 10-second knead method and went for a full ten-minute work out seeing as I was on the phone.

For decadence, I added Waitrose chocolate chunks (other brands are available) and dried sour cherries. But then I got cold feet when it got to poaching.  I was worried that the chocolate would melt in the boiling water and so I used half of the dough to make buns and the rest for the bagels.  Luckily, both worked and both went down well with my chief taste-tester.  Two days later, they're also great lightly toasted and slathered with unsalted butter.  Perfect winter fodder.  I also intend to bake these again in a few weeks using blueberries, white chocolate and a touch of mixed spice.  I love that one dough recipe gives the two options.  And you could pop it into a loaf tin and have a great slicing loaf too.

Bagels - pre glaze
I'm going to enter them into the Calendar Bakes November Challenge hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes which this month is Bread, Rolls and Cakes.

Recipe - makes either eight bagels or eight buns

  • 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 7g sachet of easy bake yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 275ml water (two parts iced to one part boiling, mixed)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 75g dark chocolate chunks (I use Waitrose as they tend to stand up better to hot temperatures)
  • 75g dried sour cherries
  • 2tbsp malt extract or dark brown sugar for poaching if making bagels (I used sugar this time but think malt extract works better and is less streaky)
  • 25g caster sugar for the glaze

  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the yeast, sugar and salt.  Mix the water and oil together and then pour into the flour mixture.  Stir until it starts to form a dough then use your hands to bring it together into a ball.  Place onto a clean, flour dusted worktop and knead for ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
  2. Place into a clean, lightly oiled bowl.  Cover and leave for thirty minutes.  Turn out onto the floured work surface, knead briefly for a minute or two then return to the bowl for another thirty minutes.
  3. Work the chocolate and cherries through the dough then cut into eight even pieces.  Mould into balls, taking care to poke the cherries and chocolate slightly under the surface of the dough - this stops them burning when they cook.  Place on a lightly floured tray and leave to rise for another thirty minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F/180c/160 fan/Gas 4 whilst the dough is proving.
  5. For bagels: Put the malt extract or brown sugar into a large saucepan filled with water.  Bring to the boil.
  6. Using the handle of a clean wooden spoon, poke a hole through the middle of each dough ball and stretch until roughly the size of an old fifty pence piece.  Drop the bagels carefully into the water, two at a time and poach for thirty seconds each side.  Remove and place on the baking tray.  
  7. For buns: I usually bake my buns in a smallish roasting tin with a two-inch side or in my springform cake tin.  I pack them quite close together so they smoosh together when baking and pull apart nicely.
  8. To Finish: Bake the bagels or buns for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Just before the end of the cooking time, mix the sugar for the glaze with 2tbsp water in a small saucepan and then heat until the sugar is dissolved.  When you remove the buns or bagels from the oven, quickly brush the tops with the glaze before leaving to cool.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant bagels and a great flavour combination...chocolate and cherry...a classic! I've just bookmarked a bagel recipe having seen them on the GBBO! Thanks for entering Calendar Cakes :-)