When my kids were young I can remember spending a lot of time (and money) in the frozen foods aisle picking up frozen snackie kinds of foods that they could heat up themselves. I'm not proud of the fact that they had more than their share of junk processed foods, but I was a working mom and had next to no baking skills. I've come a long way baby, and now I'm spending my time trying to redo those favorite junk foods into more nutritious versions and passing along the recipes to my kids so that they're able to make them for their own children. Who am I kidding. I'll be the one making my grandkids snacks and bringing them to them.
I think my daughter lived on Bagel Bites for several years during high school. You know... these things...
....so today's recipe is a healthier version of one of her favorites, made with mini-bagels that include whole wheat flour and reduced fat mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni as toppings. They taste wonderful and you'll love how easy they freeze and can be popped out of the freezer a few at a time for a quick lunch or late night snack.
For the bagels:
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached bread flour or high-gluten flour (I used Sir Lancelot)
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water, room temperature
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a 4 quart mixing bowl. Whisk in the water, stirring to make a smooth, sticky batter almost like pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the batter has nearly doubled in size and is very foamy and bubbly.
The final dough:
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 TBSP vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp non-diastatic malt powder
1 TBSP pizza dough flavor (optional, but delicious)
Add the instant yeast to the sponge and stir well. In small bowl whisk together the flour, wheat gluten, salt, malt powder and pizza dough flavoring, if using. Add to the sponge and using dough hook, knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and place on clean counter top.
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Divide dough into 1 1/2 ounce portions (about the size of a golf ball.)
Roll each portion into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
Flatten each ball slightly and using a greased finger, poke a hole through the middle of each ball, lifting the ball and spinning it on your finger to make sure hole stays open.
Place bagels back on baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Let rest for 20 minutes.
To test to see if bagels are ready to be placed in fridge for an overnight rest, drop a bagel in a small bowl of cool water. If the bagel floats within 10 seconds of being placed in the water, it's ready. Remove it from the water and dry it off a bit with a paper towel and return it to the tray. If it doesn't float, wait for another 5-10 minutes and try again. Cover bagels again with the greased plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight and for up to two days.
To finish and bake bagels:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with cooking spray and dust lightly with cornmeal or semolina flour.
Bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil and add 1 TBSP baking soda. Remove bagels from the fridge and gently drop them into the boiling water. Let them boil for one minute, then flip them over to boil on the other side for one minute. Remove bagels from water with a slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheet.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for approximately five minutes. Then rotate pan 180 degrees and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until bagels are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.
To make the Bagel Bits:
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup turkey pepperoni slices
2 cups shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP parmesan cheese
Place turkey pepperoni in food processor and process until you have small uniform pieces. Add the mozzarella and pulse 3 or 4 times just to make the shreds a little smaller.
Slice bagels in half and place on a large baking sheet.
Top each with about 2 teaspoons of pizza sauce
Sprinkle bagels with the parmesan cheese
Top with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese mixture. Press down lightly on each bagel to secure toppings.
Place baking sheet in freezer and freeze bagels for 2 hours. Remove from freezer and place in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container. Freeze until ready to use.
To bake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place frozen bagel bits on baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes or until hot and bubbly.