Sunday, January 1, 2012

Macaron Success and Homemade Bagels

Happy New Year all!

Although I can honestly say I don't often partake in the New Year festivities, I decided to ring in 2012 with a new, never-before attempted recipe for...


But, before I get into bagels and bread, I must share with you all a photo that makes me smile with joy every time I gaze at it.

My friends: I have made a successful French Macaron!

What a relief, that after 5 unsuccessful attempts to recreate my favorite French cookie, I finally had a macaron I could be proud to call my own.

What I've learned:

1. Add the granulated sugar to the egg whites right at the beginning: it saves you a lot of stress.
2. Don't feel like aging egg whites? Buy a carton of Egg Beaters Egg Whites and bring desired amount to room temperature.
3. Make sure to let the cookies rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes to form a crust.
4. MOST importantly - do not be impatient. STIFF peaks means stiff peaks. If you flip that bowl over those egg whites better not move an inch!

Thank you to all who commented and shared links with helpful tips and tricks; it all made such a difference!

Now enough with the cookies - it's time for bagels.

Unfortunately, for any of you who are overly-excited or extremely impatient in baking (as I am), then making bagels may be a bit taxing on you. It is a two-day process, and a bit of a tedious one at that.

I utilized the Kitchen Aid for all of the kneading, but if you don't have one then it's perfectly fine to use your hands and knead away. After bringing the dough together, it needs to proof overnight in the fridge; only after this important step can the fun begin.

Another tip I want to stress: spray whatever surface you happen to be working on with the bagels with Pam. I made the mistake of placing the shaped bagels on plain parchment paper, and when it came time to take them off the paper to place them in the simmering water, I entered into a few aggravating battles with the bagel dough.

I decided to do a nice mix of flavors, ranging from plain to salt and (my favorite) Asiago.

Ah! I plan on throwing one of those Asiago Bagels right in the toaster and smearing butter all over it. Happy New Year indeed!

Handmade Bagels

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water

poaching liquid:
3 quarts water
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Assorted Toppings: sea salt, sesame seeds, Asiago Cheese etc

1 Day Before Baking

1. Hydrate the yeast in 2 1/2 tablespoons warm water and a pinch of sugar. Allow to reach foamy stage (about 10 minutes)
2. In a small bowl, combine rest of warm water, honey, salt and yeast mixture.
3. Add wet ingredient mixture to bread flour in a large bowl.
4. Knead by hand (or with dough hook attachment on the lowest setting) for 3 minutes. Dough should be fully hydrated; if it is too dry add a little bit more warm water.
5. Let dough rest 5 minutes.
6. Repeat Step 4
7. Place dough in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for one hour; then place in refrigerator overnight or for up to 2 days.

On Baking Day:

1. Divide dough into 6 or 8 equal portions. Shape each into bagels by using both thumbs to poke a hole through the center and shape around fingers. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
2. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and add baking soda, salt, and honey.
3. Place on bagel into a bowl of cold water - if it floats then it is ready to be poached; if not let sit for another 10 minutes.
4. Once bagels pass the float test, place as many as will easily fit into the simmering liquid and let simmer for 1 minute. Gently flip bagels and let simmer for another 30 to 60 seconds
5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels and place onto a lightly oiled, parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle any toppings on immediately.
6. Place sheet in oven and immediately reduce heat to 450 degrees.
7. Bake for 8 minutes, and then rotate pan. Check underside of bagels - if they are browning too much then insulate pan with a second pan underneath it.
8. Bake for another 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Let cool 30 minutes on wire rack before serving.


  1. The macarons look fabulous! They are on my list of things to just suck it up an make already! I've been a bit apprehensive. The bagels also look fantastic! Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks S.V!

      And seriously, go for it with the macarons. I was so intimidated but it's absolutely worth it once you finally achieve success. The blog bravetart has a fabulous how-to that I love to refer to (in case that helps!)

  2. Two successes... one post! AWESOME!

    1. Thanks Tiffany! It always brings a smile to my face to see words like awesome on my comment list :D

  3. Congrats on the beautiful macarons! And great bagel recipe!

    1. Thanks SlipperCityCakes! Hope it inspires you to try them out for yourself! :D

  4. Those macarons are spectacular--I have not had the heart to try to make them yet. Kuds to you!

    1. Thanks Cucina49! And don't fear! Macarons are totally worth it (even if it does take 7 attempts like it did for me heehee).

  5. I don't think I've ever heard of making bagels at home but I love the idea! These look so tasty. Definitely something i've got to try!

    1. Thanks thesmartcookiecook! They were definitely tasty (and a wonderful way to start the next morning!) Hope they turn out well for you!