Years ago, we read about Bagel Bombs® in Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi, and thought that it was a great idea to make a cream cheese spread to use as a filling for round bagels. Now, we wouldn’t go as far as registering the name, but we aren’t in the business of selling these things; instead, we’re just trying to pass on great ideas to you. So, we choose to call ours bagel bomblettes (because we make them smaller; also, our name isn’t registered, so you can use it whenever and wherever you please), and say that ours are simply based on the idea of Bagel Bombs®.
As you’d surmise, the basic idea is to make a cream cheese spread of some sort, wrap bagel dough around it, and, well, make bagels. Since we already make bagels (see our KBB bagels — not a registered name — and our bagelettes — also not registered — posts), we’re just going to refer you to those posts for preparing the bagels. We’ll just show you how to make the cream cheese spread, and fill the bagelettes.
We know that not everyone makes bread dough from scratch, but we really think you should, at least occasionally. There’s nothing better that fresh homemade bread. That said, we think you could make these using the fresh pizza dough you find in the refrigerated section at some stores. Making that change relies on what we think is the dirty secret of baking books: most bread dough recipes are interchangeable; it’s the baking technique that makes the difference.
Procedure in detail:
Caramelize onions. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 45 to 60 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and let cool completely.
Make cream cheese spread. In a medium bowl, stir together onions and cream cheese. The onions will be slippery and it will take a little time to mix them completely into the cream cheese, probably 3 to 4 minutes of stirring and smushing, but you’ll get a nice cream cheese spread. Of course, you could simply use this cream cheese spread on already-made bagels — we’ll never know.
Shape and freeze. Turn the cheese out onto a piece of parchment (recommended) or waxed paper (not as good) and shape it into a block about 4 by 6 inches and 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the parchment around it and freeze completely, at least an hour.
Divide. When your dough is ready to divide and shape, take the cheese from the freezer and cut into 32 pieces. We divided it in half, then each part in half, and so on, until we had 32 nearly equal-sized pieces.
Wrap. Cut the dough into pieces that weigh about 30 grams (1 ounce). These are pieces about 2 inches on a side and 3/4 inch thick. Place a piece of cheese in the center, and wrap and tuck the dough around it, trying to keep the gluten coat intact, sealing in the cheese. Place on a floured work surface.
From here on out, continue as you would bagelettes: let rise for a couple of hours, boil them, roll in sesame (or other) seeds, and a bit of kosher salt, and bake. Since these are slightly larger than bagelettes and have cream cheese in the center, increase the baking time to 25 to 29 minutes.
We took these down to our weekly walk/run/social event and they seemed to be a big hit. By the time it was over, we had one that we were taking home, but somehow that disappeared on the way to the car. Go figure! So we have to say five stars.