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The Friday 5: Top Alternative Bagel Toppings

Don't get me wrong: a bagel with cream cheese is one of the most perfect foods. But sometimes I just want something more…substantial. Sometimes I feel like getting creative, and there's nothing wrong with a little experimentation! So if you're sick of lox on your bagel, or whitefish is wearing you down, try one of these alternative bagel toppings you certainly won't find on Bubbe's brunch platter.


The Breakfast Bagel – This one's a no-brainer and my number one go-to hangover food. I actually prefer it open-faced in order to get the perfect ratio of cheese to egg to bagel in one bite. Toast the bagel, and when it's nearly done, lay a slice of American cheese on each half. Continue toasting until cheese is just melted. Meanwhile, scramble two eggs with butter. Top cheesy bagel halves with eggs (if you're feeling up to it, insert sausage patties or bacon on top of the cheese), and you've got yourself the perfect breakfast.

The Pizza Bagel – What genius thought to combine New York's two great culinary claims to fame? And we can give a shout-out to Chicago while we're at it since a pizza bagel is offically deep dish. Toast your bagel, top with marinara and mozzarella, toast some more to melt the cheese. This one can be as simple or fancy as you want it: add some fresh parmigiano-reggiano, asiago, fontina, or any other cheese you like. Basil, oregano, anchovies, pineapple: the possibilities are endless.

The Elvis Bagel – There's something magical about peanut butter and banana. Sometimes I sit with a banana and a jar of chunky peanut butter and enact my very own spread, bite, spread, bite, spread, bite ritual. Put it on a bagel, and you've got a meal. Toast your bagel, let it cool a little (you don't want your pb melting), spread with the pb and top with banana slices. If you're feeling a little crazy, sprinkle on some bacon bits, as the King himself sometimes did. Try cashew or almond butter for a twist.

The Nutella Bagel – Simple, but oh so good. The first time I had Nutella, back in the sixth grade, it was so exotic. I had a friend who went to Holland frequently, and she'd always bring back jars of the stuff. Now, this chocolate-hazelnut spread is everywhere, including my pantry. Try it on top of a chocolate-chip or cinnamon bagel for an extra sweet treat.

The Cinnamon-Sugar Bagel – I must admit, this one's a bit nostalgic. When I was growing up, we always had a little Tupperware container of cinnamon-sugar mixture in the pantry, at the ready for my dad's perfect cinnamon toast. It transfers quite nicely to a bagel: Spread each bagel half with a generous amount of butter. Top with cinnamon-sugar mixture (about two parts sugar to one part cinnamon), toast until the topping gets bubbly and crunchy. Enjoy!
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