I've been craving bagels and cream cheese all week, but with a sick kid I haven't been able to get out of the house. I even had a new container of cranberry orange cream cheese just begging to be used. What's a girl to do? Grab a bag of flour and get to it, of course! I spent three days scouring the 'net for a decent bagel recipe. Some are beyond complicated, some called for ingredients I didn't have on hand, etc., etc. Finally, it came down to two. I chose the one that used a bread machine for all the kneading, because I can't handle ten minutes of hand-kneading with a (possibly) fractured wrist. The recipe was exceedingly simple and the bread machine did all the hard work. After baking, my bagels were a bit too crunchy on the outside, so next time I'll try 20 minutes instead of 25, but otherwise they came out great!

Bread Machine Bagels

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
3 cups bread flour (I used plain white flour)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

3 quarts boiling water
3 tbsp white sugar
1 egg, beaten plus 1 tbsp water (egg wash)

Follow your bread machine manufacturer's directions for placing the water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast in the pan (mine is water first, then dry ingredients, then yeast). Select dough cycle.

When cycle is complete, rest dough on floured surface. Start water boiling and add sugar. Cut dough into equal pieces, depending on the size you want (I got 8 smallish bagels). Roll each piece into a small ball, flatten and poke a hole in the middle. Work dough with your fingers to even out the dough around the hole and get the nice bagel shape. Cover with a clean cloth and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease a baking sheet (pam is great) and preheat oven to 375. Transfer bagels to boiling water, let boil 1 minute, flip, boil another minute. Transfer bagels to prepared baking sheet, brush with egg wash and place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

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