For too long, I had let the shape of bagel chips convince me that they were difficult to make at home.
Tear open a bag from the store and you'll find uniform circles with small holes in the center: Are these Shrinky Dink versions of full-size bagels, I've always wondered. In order to make these at home, I thought I'd have to perform surgery—excising a thin cross-section at the equator of tens, if not hundreds, of supermarket mini bagels.
Turns out I was the only one imposing these shape constraints: You can make a bagel chip from any bagel of any size and any flavor, stale or not stale. Those bagels you're picking up for brunch on Sunday morning? Squirrel a few away and turn them into chips before your friends arrive to watch the biggest football game of the year. It's the easiest way to transition from brunch to booze.
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Sure, you won't get those perfect inner-tubes that come in a bag—and your crisps will be a bit thicker and sturdier than the store-bought kind; but your bagel chips will have eccentric, "rustic" shapes and whatever flavoring you fancy.
Here's how to do it:
Using a serrated knife, slice your bagels into thin sections (about 1/4 inch, if you can manage).
You have choices (illustrated below in option 1): You can leave the bagel whole, plop it on a cutting board, and make slices away from your body so that you have oblong discs. When you reach the hole, those ovals will split up into two smaller shapes. That's fine, too. You'll have a smattering of odd shapes, like in the topmost photo. (Of course you could also make rounds by slicing the bagel through its belly over and over, but I found this to be rather dangerous.)
Or, you can cut the bagel in half by slicing through the hole as if you're about to quarter the bagel. Then, stand the bagel up on its flat exposed edge (illustrated below in option 2) and cut so that you have "c"-shaped slices, like in the photo directly above.
Preheat the oven to 250° F and spread your slices onto a rimmed baking sheet, making sure they're all lying flat and nothing is too cramped.
Douse with olive oil or melted butter. Then sprinkle liberally with your own choice of seasonings, taking into account the flavor of your bagel:
Use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, and plenty of salt to turn your plain bagel into an everything bagel chip.
Use ground cardamom to turn your cinnamon-raisin bagel into the perfect candidate for a smear of peanut butter.
Make your whole wheat bagel more exciting with a dash of cayenne or some curry powder.
Mix it all up so that the bagel pieces are evenly coated, then bake 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every 10 or 15. When they're finished, they should be crispy and golden brown.
Snack on your bagel chips plain; cover them with shredded cheese and send them back under the broiler; or eat them with a dip (like plain yogurt drizzled with everything bagel olive oil because go big or go home) while watching football:
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.