Have you ever noticed how our society is consumed (no pun intended) by food shapes?
It’s “tradition,” I suppose. But when was the last time you made bread in a hexagonal pan? How about blondies in a small bundt pan?
When was the last time you cut homemade pasta into curly mustache shapes? Or rolled sugar cookies into fire-breathing dragons?
My guess is never.
Why do we shape things certain ways? Perhaps it’s for aesthetic and/or practical reasons. After all, try holding onto a snowflake-shaped burger without the patty drooping and ketchup oozing everywhere.
But really, why must bread slices be square? Why must meatballs be…balls? And why does everyone cut pies into wedges?
These are the strange questions I ponder. There’s no better sustenance than food for thought.
This winding labyrinth of thoughts, in conjunction with a pre-Valentine’s-Day fixation on hearts, led me to an idea for heart-shaped bagels. Why not? I never claimed to be normal. In fact, I love plays and twists on mainstream recipes.
The oddball bagel also forced me to revise my food shapes theory. Food shapes are determined by practicality, aesthetics, and/or entertainment. Because really, who wouldn’t love tearing apart a bagel with tendrils coiling together to form an elegant, swirly heart?
I strongly urge you to try it. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had consuming a bagel.
Heart Shaped Blueberry Bagels
- 2 to 2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 package (0.25 ounce) instant yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (115 degrees F)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup wild blueberries (if using frozen, ensure they’re thawed and drained
- Extra sugar, for sprinkling
- In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, yeast, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and salt. Add warm water and combine with dough hooks on low mixer speed until dough forms. Add a little more flour or water if necessary to reach desired consistency.
- Roll out dough on lightly-floured surface. Knead until dough becomes smooth and elastic (a few minutes or so). Knead in most of blueberries. Let dough rest in a lightly oiled bowl, covered, for 10 minutes.
- With floured scissors, cut into four portions of equal size. Shape one portion into a long rope, gradually rolling out and pulling dough outwards, letting gluten relax. Place several blueberries along the inside of the rope ends and curling ropes around into spirals that meet in the center. Repeat with remaining dough ropes. Place on greased baking sheet and cover dough with a warm, damp cloth. Let rise 20 minutes.
- While dough is rising, place 1 gallon water mixed with 1 Tablespoon sugar in a large, deep pot over high heat. Once water begins boiling, lower heat until water reaches a simmer.
- Broil bagels on low at least 6 inches from heat for 4 minutes, turning once halfway through (bagels should not brown). Remove from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Gently drop 3-4 bagels at a time into simmering water. Cook 7 minutes, turning once halfway through. Drain on paper towels and generously sprinkle with sugar while still wet. Return bagels to greased baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.