The creme bruleegle (a.k.a. creme brulee bagel) has entered the captivating world of food innovation.
This sweet and savory breakfast/dessert item masterfully combines two seemingly unrelated worlds. The humble bagel, known for its chewy interior and golden crust, meets the sophistication of the classic French dessert, crème brûlée.
origin of the creme brulee bagel
While the combination of sugar and creme cheese on a bagel has been done before, it hadn’t officially (and internationally) been elevated to the level of the creme brulee bagel until recently. The creme bruleegle became a viral sensation after its recorded inception on March 29, 2023—courtesy of foodie TikToker @naughtyfork.
At the heart of the creme brulee bagel lies delicate cream cheese. This smooth spread provides the perfect canvas for the bagel’s sweet transformation. With its velvety texture and delicate tang, the cream cheese creates a creamy foundation that harmonizes beautifully with the contrasting elements of caramelized sugar.
The original recipe calls for whipped cream cheese, but you can mix it up with different flavored cream cheeses like garlic and herb or chive and onion. If you really have a sweet tooth, you may even opt for flavors like blueberry or honey pecan.
Caramelized sugar is the crowning jewel of the creme brulee bagel. Its delicate crunch and deep amber hue evoke memories of the classic dessert after which it’s named. As you take your first bite, the thin layer of caramelized sugar shatters, releasing a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate, balancing sweetness with a subtle hint of bitterness.
The original recipe uses turbinado cane sugar (natural brown sugar). However, if you have a dietary restriction, feel free to use your preferred sweetener as long as it caramelizes. While white and brown sugar work best, here are some of the most common sweeteners to consider.
sweeteners that caramelize well with a torch
- granulated sugar / white sugar
- turbinado sugar / brown sugar
- coconut sugar
- monk fruit
- Sukrin (brown sugar alternative)
sweeteners that do not caramelize well with a torch
- powdered sugar
- Splenda (This can catch fire!)
- liquid sweeteners (e.g. honey, molasses fruit juices)
textures of the creme brulee bagel
The creme bruleegle boasts an impeccable interplay of textures. Sink your teeth into the bagel’s chewy exterior, and you’ll be greeted by the velvety smoothness of cream cheese. As you venture deeper, the caramelized sugar crackles and melts, adding a delightful crunch that elevates each bite to new levels of indulgence.
flavors of the creme brulee bagel
The beauty of the creme bruleegle lies in its ability to harmonize seemingly contradictory flavors. The inherent sweetness of caramelized sugar and the subtle tanginess of cream cheese strikes a remarkable balance. It’s a delicate dance between savory and sweet, a combination of contrasting notes that leave your taste buds fully satisfied.
How to make a creme brulee bagel
Making this sweet & savory dish is very simple as it only requires 3 ingredients. Follow this quick recipe to enjoy it for your next meal!
- 4 plain bagels
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (for caramelizing)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the plain bagels in half horizontally, creating a top and bottom half.
- In a small bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix well until the sugar is fully incorporated into the cream cheese.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly on the cut side of each bagel half. Ensure that the cream cheese covers the entire surface.
- Sprinkle a thin, even layer of brown sugar on top of the cream cheese on each bagel half. This will create the signature caramelized crust.
- Place the prepared bagel halves on the lined baking sheet and transfer them to the preheated oven.
- Bake the bagels for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cream cheese is slightly softened and the brown sugar has caramelized and formed a golden crust.
- Optional: If desired, you can further caramelize the sugar crust by using a kitchen torch. Carefully torch the tops of the bagels until the sugar turns into a rich caramel color. (Be cautious while using the torch and follow all safety instructions.)
- Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy!
Feel free to top your crème brûlée bagels with your favorite accompaniments like fresh fruits or a drizzle of honey.
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.