Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bagels with Cinnamon Crunch

 The humble bagel is a deeply satisfying bread, in my opinion.  I love the chewiness.  I love pumpkin, too, so when I saw a recipe in Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking, I had to try it.  Even though it's not exactly pumpkin season.  I happen to keep a stash on hand at all times because one never knows when a sudden urge for pumpkin chocolate chip waffles will strike, and waiting for 6 months to satisfy that craving just ain't gonna happen.

This was my first crack at making bagels, and I was pleased with how they came out.  The cinnamon crunch topping was my own addition, and I modified it to be kneaded by hand rather than a bread machine.  Otherwise the recipe is as published by Taste of Home.  Don't be alarmed by the boiling in water part - that seemed intimidating and scary to me, but it was quite simple and that's how you get the chewy outer crust.
Pumpkin Spice Bagels with Cinnamon Crunch

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups bread or unbleached all purpose flour
  • cornmeal

  • Topping
  • egg white
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 white sugar
  • 2 T. all purpose flour
  • 1 T. cinnamon
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the warm water and active dry yeast.  Stir to combine and let rest for about 5 minutes until dissolved and beginning to bubble.  Stir in the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and spices, then stir in as much of the flour as you can with a spatula.  Sprinkle the remaining flour into the bowl bit by bit as you knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until it forms a smooth and elastic ball.  Drizzle a small amount of canola oil into the bowl, turn the dough ball to coat and set it aside to rise for about an hour, or until doubled.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into 9 balls.  Form each into a roll, and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes.  This allows the dough to relax and makes forming the bagel hole easier.  Poke your thumb through the middle of each dough ball and stretch to form a 1" opening.  Allow to rest 10 more minutes, then flatten slightly

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and fill a dutch oven or other wide pot at least 4" deep at least half full of water.  Bring to a boil.  (I've seen other bagel recipes that recommend adding a dash of baking soda or a teaspoon of sugar to the water bath.  I did it just with plain water, but will try other methods in the future and see how it effects the final crust consistency).  Drop the bagels two at a time into the boiling water.  Cook for 45 seconds, flip over and cook for another 45 seconds.  Pull them out with a slotted spoon or spatula and let drain, then place on a baking sheet that has been prepared by misting with cooking spray and sprinkling with cornmeal.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 each brown sugar, white sugar, 2 T. flour and cinnamon.  Whisk the egg white in another small bowl and brush over each bagel.  Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture liberally over the top of each one.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to a rack to cool, or if you lack self control like I do, scarf them down immediately.  These were divine with cream cheese.  I toasted a leftover one the following day and the flavors had improved even more.

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