Friday, November 5, 2010

Vanilla Berry Bagels with Vanilla/Honey Cream Cheese

It's easy for me to find inspiration for baking when the ingredients I use provide the catalyst.  This morning, instead of making my usual bagels, I "borrowed" an idea from Panera Bread who was offering in October, for Breast Cancer Awareness, a Cherry Vanilla Bagel.  I added dried cranberries, along with the dried cherries, and used Tahitian Vanilla powder sent to me by a friend of one of my dear friends.  Their product not only inspired the flavors in this bagel, but I took it a step further and made a Vanilla/Honey Cream Cheese spread that is so addictive!

Bagels are one of the recipes I developed over the years, but not one my mother ever made.  I think of bagels as being a "fad" of us Baby-Boomers that has evolved to one of the favorite choices for breakfast through the generations to follow.  Jewish immigrants brought bagels to America and New York is said to have some of the best bagels in the world...due to their water supply. Whatever the history, once you've had a fresh bagel, you will never buy one in a package again!

Vanilla Berry Bagels

6 cups Bread flour  (If you have a smaller food processor, reduce flour to 4 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Vanilla bean, split and the bean paste scrapped or I used 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Powder
1/2 cup very warm water (105F-degrees)
2 T dry yeast or 2 pkgs.
1- 1 1/2 additional water
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried tart cherries

First, proof your yeast.  In a 1 cup, glass measure, add the very warm water and sprinkle the yeast in it.  I also add 1/2 tsp. sugar to "feed" the yeast.  Use a small whisk to blend the yeast, water and sugar and set aside for 7-10 minutes to proof.  If your yeast is good, the mixture should be foamy.  (I proof all my yeast when I'm bread-baking to test for active culture.)

In a food processor, measure the flour, salt, and brown sugar and pulse to incorporate.  When the yeast has proofed, add it to the bowl and place the cover back over the bowl.  Turn motor on and begin to pour the additional water through the feed tube, slowly.  When the dough just comes together, stop the machine.  Dump the dough onto a lightly floured board.  Using my hands, I stretch and push the dough out into a rectangle.  I sprinkle the cranberries and cherries over the surface and fold the dough into thirds.  I knead the dough and then, place it into a plastic tub, sprayed with a non-stick baking spray, to rise, 45 minutes.  The dough should double in size.

While the bagels are rising, start a large pan on the stove with about 3-inches of water and 2 tablespoons of honey on Medium/High heat.

(Refer to my Bagel recipe post from August 2009 to shape and cook bagels.)

The bagels bake in a preheated 400F-degree oven, after they have been submerged in a simmering water bath, for 20-22 minutes.
  Vanilla/Honey Cream Cheese

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 T honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split and the bean paste scrapped

In a bowl, using a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add the honey and vanilla bean paste and beat to combine.  Refrigerate.

I've decided to reveal part of the bonus I'm doing with the Autumn Give-Away...a package of Tahitian Vanilla Beans.  I know how important vanilla is in baking and with the upcoming holiday season, you will appreciate the aroma and flavor of using fresh beans as I do.  Enjoy!


  1. Why do bagels seem so intimidating? You make this look so easy! I'm going to have to try this :)

  2. I have been craving fresh bagels lately!
    I can't seem to find a good place to purchase them, I look forward to creating some with your recipe!: )

  3. Kandyce, I know you bake bread...bagels are a piece of cake :D and fresh bagels are worth the effort.

  4. oh my..I never thought of making my own bagels. I must give this one a try.They look amazing.

  5. Hey there, Sis----Remember the hands-on lesson on how to make homemade English Muffins last Thanksgiving? Well, I need the same lesson on making the Bagels! You told Kandyce that Bagels were "a piece of cake". I will have to see it to believe it!! Hurry and come to VA!! Love ya, Me

  6. Believe me--they're easier than English Muffins and fresh baked ones are well worth it. I can't wait to be there and say a big prayer every day to the real estate fairies that we'll get it sold!

  7. I never thought of making bagels at home either.... I'll bet they put the storeboughts to shame!

  8. For anyone who has never made fresh bagels, do it! There is no comparison to ones from the store.

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