M&M cookies – always planned, never in hand

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M&Ms: Begging to be used

M&Ms: Begging to be used

I have only baked once this year – when I made some bagels and some pumpkin cheesecake muffins (recipe). For someone like me, this is weird. I have had M&M candy in the cupboard for some time, just screaming out for M&M cookie-making. But there they sit.

One day the baking bug will return but for now all I feel like is writing nonsense and working.

Bagel caper – the finish line

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I just crossed the finish line – the bagels are done! I made plain, poppy seed and caramelized onion ones. All in all, not bad. Some of them are a little bit misshapen, a little bit too big. Not perfect but I imagine they are okay.

The full recipe can provide guidance, but I think one could experiment. The first time I made the recipe, I overdid it on the flour, so the dough was a bit too dry. This time I might have underdone the flour – and the dough was a bit fluffy and bubbly. The yeast was pretty active!

Making bagels is a bit of a process – you can make a starter/sponge ahead of time, let it sit, and then later knead and form the dough. Then form the bagels themselves and let them retard (which can be done for up to 48 hours, although I went with the two-hour bare minimum).

forming bagels for the retard process

forming bagels for the retard process

The next stage, after letting the formed bagels sit for a while, they need to be boiled in a large pot, with a tablespoon of baking soda in it. The bagels should be placed on the pan and brushed with an egg wash and then the desired toppings.

Finished bagels! Cheers to imperfection!

Finished bagels! Cheers to imperfection!

These are imperfect, not well-formed and the picture is dark – but I am sure they must be sort of… tasty? We shall see.

Bringing bagels back – the great bagel caper

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I will start off by saying that I have fallen a wee bit – dubiously – in love with the word “caper”. I had not given it a whole lot of thought in my life until recently when someone started using it in everyday life, e.g. “I am not interested in American football and that kind of caper.” This eventually prompted me to look the word up – having previously associated it primarily with pickled little berry things some of us eat and The Great Muppet Caper. I was entertained by the definition (“a frolicsome leap”, “a capricious escapade”, “an illegal or questionable act”).

Tonight’s caper – which, if successful, may lead to the actual consumption of… capers – involves the making and baking of bagels.

It is after all time for me to get back in the saddle with baking in general (I have not really baked since last year) and specifically with my second attempt at making bagels. I got all the “fixins” at the store today (you know, you need that high-gluten flour) and prepared my sponge tonight – it will be ready for full dough making in the morning.

bagel sponge! the blob! it's growing out of control!

bagel sponge! the blob! it’s growing out of control!

My first attempt, I guess, went fine. The final product was bagel-like, and I assume people ate them (because they told me they did). I did not eat them and did not witness anyone eat them, so it is also possible that these mythical eaters took the “bagels” (yes, quotes intentional), murdered people and then weighed down their bodies in the river using these so-called bagels. I just don’t know.

Not knowing, however, has not stopped me from pursuing bagel perfection and currying favor with some beloved colleagues.

A great update on this caper tomorrow when step two (the dough!) gets underway.