Lemon Madeleines

Making these delicious french cookies is an art in itself. Is it a cookie? Is it a cake? They fall somewhere between. So you have to delicately cook madeleines knowing that you can’t treat them like cakes nor cookies. They truly are in a league of their own. Seemingly simple, the art is more in the process of how it is made, not the mere recipe.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
3 eggs
4 oz of unsalted butter
1 lemon (or flavoring as desired)

Instructions:

1. Using a double boiler, melt your butter in the top using boiling water in the bottom, so your butter does not burn. If you do not have unsalted butter, you can wait for the salt to separate from the butter, and then scrape the top and remove the salt as best as possible. Add your flavoring to the hot butter. If you are making lemon favored madeleines, you would use a small amount of fresh lemon juice and grate a small amount of lemon peel into the hot butter. Once you have the mixture, leave the butter at a low temperature to simmer or stay warm.

2. Mix the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

3. Beat the eggs at a high speed until the eggs have thickened. Then sift the sugar in at a lower speed. Mix until it begins to thin again.

4. Using a cooking spoon, fold the flour-baking soda mixture into the bowl, making sure you do not beat or mix – you are folding the flour in, but you do not want to over do it. The ingredients should be combined together into a batter.

5. Fold the butter mixture into the batter slowly.

6. Chill the batter for at least an hour.

7. Heat your oven to 430ºF

8. Spoon a teaspoon of batter into each mold of your madeleine pans, or roughly 3/4 full. If you are unsure of how much to add, less is better. If you have too much, they will spill over the edge and loose their shape, and the edges will burn.

9. Cook for 3 minutes, or until they have risen, then lower the oven temperature to 350ºF and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Your oven might cook faster or slower, so watch your first set carefully to see when they stop rising, and when they are golden brown. Cook with more or less time at 350ºF for crispier or softer madeleines, depending how you enjoy them.

Breakfast Egg Bagel

The breakfast bagel has been adopted by many fast food restaurants but they still can’t beat a home cooked breakfast egg bagel.

Ingredients:

2 Eggs
1/8 cup milk
2 strips of bacon
6 slices of cheddar (sharp or mild) cheese
salt, pepper (as desired)
ketchup (as desired)
Your Favorite Bagel

Instructions:

The most important part of cooking eggs for a bagel is to remember what type of bagel you are going to use. If you are using a very sweet or very salty bagel, you might want to use less salt and pepper than you normally would.

1.  The first step is cooking the bacon. Lay out 2 full strips of bacon in your frying pan and cook as desired. Some people love soft juicy bacon while others like it cooked till you can taste the carbon.

2.  After your bacon is cooked completely, remove it from the pan and set it aside for the moment

3.  The next step is to cook scramble the eggs. Crack both eggs directly into the pan, pour the milk in, and stir together. Let this mixture sit for a minute. You will be able to smell the eggs begin to cook. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

4. Take half of the cheese slices and lay them over the eggs and wait another minute before stirring. Slowly stir the eggs, scraping the bottom of the pan and turning over.

5.  After the cheese and eggs are cooked nearly through, add the rest of the cheese to the top while continuing to stir. Allow this cheese to barely melt before turning off the heat on your stove.

6.  Spoon onto your bagel and lay the strips of bacon on top of the eggs. Add a small bit of ketchup or just put the two bagel halves together and eat!

Enjoy!

Are Bagels Healthy?

Like anything you eat or cook, the nutritional side of the equation will always come up. Most studies and “believe it or not” articles unfairly place bagels as an unhealthy breakfast, and even go as far as to call doughnuts for breakfast more healthy. This is me, calling them out.

Bagels vary in size, ingredients, and most of all, toppings. Most articles attacking the bagel compare a small plain doughnut to a large bagel, with cream cheese, and toppings. Then they proceed to compare a tiny doughnut to a this meal. Higher fat content, higher calories, higher cholesterol,etc. Of course it will appear that the bagel is less healthy. There’s more bagel than that doughnut could ever dream of being.

Allow me to set a scene. You walk into a doughnut shop and are hungry, famished from, well not eating for 6 to 8 hours (or however long you sleep). The delicious aroma of freshly baked doughnuts is too much for you and the guy at the counter easily persuades you to get a dozen. It’s only $4 and you’ll bring them to the office to share, right? 2 regular chocolate covered circular ones, 2 chocolate covered with rainbow sprinkles, 2 large cinnamon twists, 4 maple bars, 2 raspberry filled, and you’re done, right? Wait, you get one more, it’s the baker’s dozen. You get a cream filled chocolate covered doughnut and head to the register. At the register you see that doughnut holes are 10 for $1 and easily cave, seeing as you have a fiver in your hand and don’t want to carry around any loose change (besides, that’s for government conspiracies). You quickly pound down the doughnut holes on the drive to work but you convince yourself that you’ll only have 1 regular doughnut because you know that doughnuts aren’t exactly the most healthy thing in the world. 3 or 4 hours later, the dozen doughnuts are gone and you’ve eaten 2 or 3 more than you expected.

This is not just a story I made up. It’s really happened. I’m sure it happens every day, often unsuspected until it hits them when they look at themselves in the mirror a few months down the road and realize they’ve been eating too many doughnuts, too often.

While nutritionists do have a point in advising people taking the time to sit down to a nice full healthy breakfast, choosing a box of doughnuts over a bagel for breakfast in the morning could be destructive.

Considering that a single bagel, topped with cream cheese, tomato and onion keeps me going for 5 or 6 hours (the usual time between meals), maybe it’s actually a great idea. Instead of snacking all morning (or afternoon if you eat a bagel for lunch), consider eating a bagel for breakfast.

Fresh Fruit Bagel

One lovely suggestion I got for bagel week was the idea of a bagel topped with fresh fruit. While you might like to choose just one and cover the bagel, I decided to go all out and have 5 different types of fruit for this delicious snack.

Ingredients:

8 raspberries
8 blackberries
8 blueberries
2 peach slices
4 strawberries
Whipped Cream Cheese
Your Favorite Bagel

Instruction:

1. Slice your bagel in half and lightly spread the cream cheese over each half.

2. Slice your strawberries lengthwise and set them aside for the moment.

3. Place a raspberry at the top, left, right, and bottom of each half, then place the blackberries and blueberries in similar positions around the bagel top.

4. Then add the strawberry slices in a circular pattern around the bagel.

5. Top each half off with a small peach slice at the top.

Enjoy!

Ninja Bagels

Ninjas have a hard time, sneaking around and not getting caught. I have never seen a ninja at bagel shop – or anywhere for that matter. This lead me to believe that one of the following must be true: ninja don’t exist or there are secret bagel shops made specifically for ninjas, and only ninjas know where to find them.

Through careful research, several trips to the library, and consulting the fortune teller downtown, I’m fairly certain that not only do ninjas exist, but that they’re single handedly keeping the frozen bagel industry in business.

Hold on a second, I’m not saying that ninjas are the only ones who buy frozen bagels. I’m saying not only do ninjas eat bagels, they use frozen bagels as a knock-out device. Bagels not only have the range based advantages of a ninja star, they can silently knock out a person with a single blow. Seeing as how ninjas are all about stealth, this is the only logical answer.

If you have further information or tips about the ninja mafia’s involvement in the bagel industry, please comment and I’ll update this post.

Tomato Onion Bagel

One of my good friends introduced me to this style of bagel and it has become a favorite over the years. Topping off an onion bagel with whipped cream cheese, sliced tomato, and onion makes for a great morning.

Ingredients:

1 tomato
1/4 red onion
1/4 white onion
whipped cream cheese
Your Favorite Bagel

Instructions:

1. Take your favorite bagel, cut it in half, and spread just the right amount of whipped cream cheese on both sides.

2. Dice both the red onion and white onion into fine thin chunks and sprinkle on top of the cream cheese.

3. Cut your tomato into thin slices and add to the bagel.

4. Then bake in your oven or toaster oven on high broil for 1 minute, or until lightly toasted.
Enjoy!

Keeping Bagels Fresh

Brueggers Bagels have been around the block, long enough to know a few things at least, and they’ve published a collection of tips and tricks on how to keep your bagels FRESH.

Their best advice is the advice they give first. As any cook or baker would tell you, “enjoy the food on the day it’s made, no later”.

Here is their list of do’s and don’ts

DO
* keep your bagels in a tightly sealed plastic bag
* remove as much air as possible when sealing the bag
* reclose the bag promptly once opened
* slice your bagels before freezing

DON’T
* put your bagels in the fridge
* microwave your bagels
* store Onion, Garlic or Everything bagels with milder flavored bagels (unless you want them all to taste like onion and garlic!)
* leave your bagels open on the kitchen counter.

Bagels vs Bread

So you want to make a sandwich, huh?

STOP! Don’t grab the bread. Grab a bagel. Here’s why:

Bagels aren’t easily smashed.

When you’re brown bagging your lunch, you have to be careful. Sandwiches made with bread just aren’t the same after someone accidentally steps on your lunch repeatedly. With a bagel, you’ll barely be able to see the impact.

You only need one bagel.

Rather than waste two slices of bread, (or worse, only have half a sandwich!), grab a bagel. It has two halves built in. You’ll always be ready for a whole sandwich with a bagel.

Stacking

Bagels stack so much better than bread. You can stack on a ton of toppings onto a bagel without too much trouble. With bread, you’re pretty much limited to the size of your mouth, divided by the limited viscosity of a single slice of the bread you’re using, and then subtracted by the size of your hands multiplied by two. No one wants to do math while they’re trying to eat. Grab the bagel instead.