Snickerdoodle Bagels aka Unicorn Bagels

Snickerdoodle Bagels aka Unicorn Bagels
Snickerdoodle Bagels aka Unicorn Bagels. Credit: Amy Kritzer
  • Total: 105 mins
  • Prep: 90 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 8 big bagels (serves 8)

If there's a recipe in Sweet Noshings that epitomizes that Amy Kritzer's deliciously quirky, always inventive, glitter-and-sprinkles aesthetic, it may well be this one. Kritzer, the blogger behind What Jew Wanna Eat, and owner of dubbed these "Unicorn Bagels," after all, and even a quick look at her blog reveals that the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef is heavy into those magical creatures. 

Kritzer writes, "Is this recipe so wrong, or so wrong it’s right? I’ll let you be the judge. Growing up, Sundays were all about the bagels. I’d eat a poppy seed bagel with a schmear, usually sneaking a second half. What makes a bagel a bagel? The secret is in the boiling, which gives the bagel that irresistible crunchy outside and soft inside. These bagels have a crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping. It’s not at all traditional, nor is it trying to be. The bagels are then filled with cookie dough–inspired cream cheese that’s basically frosting in disguise."

Recipe reprinted with permission from  Sweet Noshings: New Twists on Traditional Jewish Desserts, by Amy Kritzer. (Rock Point, 2016)

What You'll Need

  •  For the Snickerdoodle Bagels:
  • 2 cups (475 ml) warm water (110ºF/43ºC), divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided, plus 1 cup (200 g) for sprinkling on bagels
  • 5 cups (710 g) bread flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola, or grape seed oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus
  • 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on bagels
  • For Boiling:
  • 4 quarts (3.8 l) water
  • 1 cup (225 g) dark brown sugar
  • For the Cream Cheese:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (115) light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces (227 g) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (28 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (87g) semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (13g) sprinkles (use long sprinkles, not round nonpareil as those can bleed)

How to Make It

 1. First, make the dough. Combine 1 cup (235 ml) warm water with yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and let sit for 10 minutes until it bubbles up, foams, and doubles in size. If it doesn’t, the water was too hot, too cold, or the yeast was old. Try again!

2. Then add 4 cups (568 g) flour, cream of tartar, salt, oil, vanilla, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, remaining 1 cup water, and 3 tablespoons sugar to the mix.

Mix on low with a dough hook for 10–15 minutes until you have a smooth, firm dough. If dough is sticky, add a little flour; if it’s a little dry, add a little more water. You may need more or less than 5 cups of flour.

3. Place the dough in a large bowl greased with oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 60–90 minutes, until doubled in size. I turn my oven on warm (200ºF/93ºC) and place the dough on top.

4. When dough is close to ready, bring a large stockpot filled with 4 quarts water and brown sugar (this adds flavor) to a boil. Then lower heat so it’s barely simmering.

5. Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC.

6. Combine remaining 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon for topping. (You can use more cinnamon if you want.) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

7. When dough is ready, punch it down and knead slightly for 1-2 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Keep dough you aren’t using covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Make a hole in the center of each ball using your thumb and stretch to make the bagel hole. Place the bagels 2 inches (5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15–20 minutes, or until they pass the float test. (What’s the float test? Glad you asked! Fill a bagel-sized bowl with room-temperature water. Place a bagel in the bowl, and, if it floats, your bagels are ready to boil and bake. If the bagel does not float, check again every 5 minutes until it does.)

8. Now it’s time to boil and bake! Boiling your bagels gives them that crunchy outside and soft inside. Prepare a cooling rack. Boil bagels 3–4 at a time for 1 minute on each side and let dry on cooling rack. They should expand with boiling. Sprinkle tops immediately with cinnamon-sugar mixture, but resist the urge to cover both sides of the bagel, as this leads to a burnt caramel mess. Then place the bagels on baking sheets and bake for 13–15 minutes until golden, rotating halfway through baking.

9, While bagels are baking, make cream cheese. As mentioned earlier, this is frosting in disguise, but we are calling it cream cheese because it’s for breakfast. In a small saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, and salt over medium-low heat, stirring until the brown sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Then beat in butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and sprinkles. Cream cheese can be refrigerated for up to 5 days if you don’t finish it with a spoon first.