The soaring popularity of Jewish food, plus our growing appetite for inventive hybrids, means it’s high time that bagels got some new twists. Bagels are already inspiring desserts, picking up new flavor combinations (beer bagels, anyone?), and getting the chef treatment with toppings like foie gras and ramps. They’re even getting mashed up with puppies.
So, who’s willing to experiment? Sorry, rainbow bagels are already taken, but here are some new bagel ideas we would love to try.
Why not fuse the two essential breakfast ingredients so we can get our coffee and carbs in one bite? If you usually order your coffee “light and sweet,” let a swipe of butter melt into the toasted coffee-bagel, and add a few dashes of vanilla sugar.
Bàhn mì, the addictive Vietnamese sandwich, would be much easier to eat if the traditional airy baguette got swapped out for a chewy bagel. Just hollow out the bagel halves, and they’d do a better job than a baguette of containing the pork, pickled carrots, and cilantro when you take that first bite. (No more fillings spurting out the side.)
No disrespect to the Everything Doughnut, but a more natural sweet-savory combination would be an everything-spiced cheesecake. The blend of toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, garlic powder and flakes of dried onion could be mixed into the graham-cracker crust and sprinkled atop the cream-cheese filling. It’s a perfect excuse to have cake for Sunday brunch.
Beets are the secret ingredient some expert bakers use in their chocolate cakes, to make the cakes super-moist. Couldn’t the veg lend that same tenderness to a bagel? Either way, the bagels would turn a bougainvillea pink color! For even more magenta, layer them with beet-cured lox from Black Seed.
Pimiento cheese bagels
The classic Southern spread, with its bright flavor of cheddar and cherry peppers, would be irresistible mixed into a bagel. The “caviar of the South” would wipe the deli floor with those namby-pamby Asiago bagels.
Old Bay bagels
Old Bay never met a type of seafood it didn’t like, so that secret herb-and-spice blend would surely be dandy paired with a few slices of smoked salmon. There’s a nice Jewish heritage connection, too, since the cult-favorite seasoning was invented by German-Jewish immigrant Gustav Brunn.
Yes, Cabernet bagels. Don’t judge.
P.S. We’ve also been craving bagels with za’atar, the Middle Eastern spice blend of toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano and a citrusy hit of sumac. Luckily, you can find these at a few intrepid bakeries such as Bagel Grove, in Utica, New York. Swap your usual schmear of cream cheese for labneh (the thick, creamy strained yogurt) for an earthy-tangy-nutty taste trifecta. And pray that this bagel flavor catches on across the country.
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