5-ingredient bagels for a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed

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Cathy Barrow says she stood in front of her pantry, excited to discover what she could combine with cream cheese for new schmear recipes. Photo by Linda Xiao.

The history of the bagel is often disputed, says food writer and cooking teacher Cathy Barrow. Many people believe the bagel started in Poland around 1614. Others argue the Ottomans brought the Turkish simit to the area earlier. 

Barrow taught herself to make bagels at home. “It was like a lightning bolt,” she says, after discovering that a high-protein flour was what made all the difference in the final result. High-gluten flour is 14% protein compared to all-purpose flour with about 10%. The high protein content contributes to the glossiness and crispness of the shell of the bagel with a good chew.

Cathy Barrow’s new book is “Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish.” 

Cannoli Cheese
Makes 10 oz. (280g) 

Reminiscent of sweetened citrus-scented cannoli filling, this schmear is delicious on any sweet bagel. It’s possible to make the candied orange rind at home, but it’s also available at candy shops, at cake supply shops, and online. Candied Meyer lemon is particularly floral, sweet, and tart and a nice swap for the orange rind in this recipe, if you can find it.


  • 1 Schmear Master recipe (or your favorite store-bought schmear)
  • 1⁄2 cup [90 g] mini chocolate chips
  • 1⁄4 cup [56 g] candied orange rind, chopped
  • 3 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1⁄2 tsp freshly grated orange zest


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the schmear, chocolate chips, candied orange rind, mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, and orange zest using a stiff spatula. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Pack the cannoli cheese into a ramekin or two, cover, and chill until ready to serve. It will keep for about 3 days in the refrigerator.

Reprinted from Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish by Cathy Barrow with permission from Chronicle
Books, 2022. Photographs © Linda Xiao.

Cherry cheesecake (left) and cannoli-inspired schmears put a different spin on your average bagel. Photo by Linda Xiao.

Cathy Barrow asks, “What’s a party without a platter?” She includes mini bagels, bialys, belly lox, nova, and kipper salmon. Photo by Linda Xiao.

Learn to make classic New York style-bagels at home in “Bagels, Schmears, and a Nice Piece of Fish.” Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books.