Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Two weekends ago I was in New York for my Columbia program’s callback weekend. I had very little time in the city, but knew I could not leave New York without visiting Nussbaum & Wu, my favorite Morningside Height bagel joint. Los Angeles has great food, but is not known for their bagels, so when I got back I thought it would be fun to experiment with making my own. I gave it a shot even though I knew I would never be able to master their chewy on the outside/soft and doughy texture of a New York bagel. I decided to try making made a dozen of my favorite pre-run bagels, cinnamon raisin. I wasn’t expecting much, especially since I used white whole wheat flour, but they were visually appealing and tasted great too! Brent and I each had a bagel with honey and cream cheese and we froze the rest. I love having a batch in my freezer for a quick breakfast on the run. Round one was a success, so I am excited to try savory bagels next. 

1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3-4 cups bread flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Kettle water
6 quarts water
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Put raisins in a small bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. After five minutes, drain and dry with a paper towel.
Whisk lukewarm water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, honey, yeast and oil in a large bowl until the yeast dissolves. Stir in white whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and the raisins. Stir in enough of the bread flour to make a soft dough, about 2 1/2 cups.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, gradually add more flour, until the dough is smooth and quite firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cover with a paper towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope shape. Form bagels by overlapping the ends by 1 inch. Pinch together well so they don’t come apart in the water. Set the bagels aside, uncovered, to rise until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring 6 quarts water with 2 tablespoons brown sugar to a boil in a large pot.
Add two or three risen bagels at a time into the pot. The water should be at a lively simmer. Cook for 45 seconds, turn them over with a slotted spoon and cook for 45 seconds longer. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; place on the baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Brush with egg white to give them that glossy look.
Place the bagels in the oven, reduce heat to 425° and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the bagels over and bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes more.

BBQ Pretzel Burger

This week my life has consisted of running, yoga and cooking. I have really enjoyed starting my mornings with my run club buddies, stretching at YogaWorks in South Bay, and taking my time at the grocery store. Yesterday I stopped by Whole Foods after yoga class (I sound like such an LA housewife) and instead of rushing around the store like I usually do, I wandered. I sampled products, read labels, and looked through the hot bar for inspiration. When I saw the pretzel buns, I knew it was going to be burger night. Brent and I are obsessed with The Tripel. We go at least weekly, one of their best menu items is the Pretzel Burger. I was not going to try to recreate that masterpiece. There is no way I can compete with Brooke Williamson’s poppy seed slaw and perfectly cooked aged beef. I knew I had a bunch of onions in the fridge, a bottle of unopened BBQ sauce, and arugula, so I decided to put them all together. I was a little nervous this meal would just make us crave spending more money at The Tripel, especially considering I used lean beef. After our first bite, Brent and I we were shocked at how yummy the burgers were. They were smothered in delicious BBQ sauce, the onions were falling of the sides, and the arugula added some freshness. I felt like a dork for feeling proud of my meal last night. It was one of those, “I can cook,” moments. Enjoy!

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pretzel rolls
Handful of baby arugula
Two slices of your favorite cheese
Your favorite BBQ sauce
3 red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large frypan over low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions are softened and golden, add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cook onion over low heat for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Form two burgers with a deep depression in the center. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the pan. Cook the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip over the burgers. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese) or longer if you prefer well done beef. Add the cheese, on the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking. 

Allow the burgers to rest for a minute or two after cooking them. That way your pretzel bun won’t get soggy. Slice the bun in half, add the burger, top with arugula, onions and BBQ sauce. Grab a bunch of napkins. You’ll need them.

Brent really likes caramelized onions.