If you’re tired of hearing me go on and on about NY / NJ bagels, today is your lucky day because I’m spotlighting a bagel that I’ve been very curious about for a while, and it’s available nationwide. It’s the Chocolate Chip Bagel at Panera.
Before heading over to Panera to try this bagel, I whipped up a Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread in a small tupperware container to take with me. Talk about dessert for breakfast – mmm!
Every time I go to Panera I find myself torn between thinking that the bagels look good and that they look sad. They look good because they’ve got all fancy toppings – Dutch Apple & Raisin, Asiago, etc. but they look sad because they’re kind of small and puny looking compared to the big plump bagels we’re used to here in the NY / NJ area.
I ate half of my bagel with the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread and half plain so that I could critique both situations. As much as Panera Bagels pale in comparison to the ones I’m used to, there’s still something I like about them. They are fancied up so that they end up tasting almost more like a pastry than a bagel, which can be kind of nice.
The bagel was very fresh tasting, though I think I would have enjoyed it even more if it was properly toasted and some of the chips inside were gooey and melted. This is what I expected and was daydreaming about as I waited for it to be toasted. Unfortunately, their toaster is definitely useless – the bagel came back way too fast, had no nice toasty golden brown color and it cooled off instantly. This made me think that maybe I should be eating my Panera Bagels at home, utilizing my handy toaster oven.
This is the Chocolate Chip Bagel after being “toasted”:
They may know how to bake bread but they could use a lesson in toasting. Moving on…
If you are on the go and don’t have time to whip up the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese on your way to Panera, it seems that they must have peanut butter at the cafe since they have a PB & J Sandwich on the kids menu. Though they seem oddly averse to applying butter or cream cheese to your bagel themselves, so you might have to beg for it.
The bagel on it’s own was nice enough with an amount of chocolate chips that wasn’t overwhelming. If this were a dessert, I might complain that it wasn’t chocolatey enough, but this is a breakfast and even I can only handle so much sweetness and chocolatiness in the wee hours of the morning. The bagel had the perfect level of both, for me. The Peanut Butter Cream Cheese also had the perfect level of sweet, which was just enough to compliment the chocolate chips, but not enough to give me a breakfast sugar rush.
Overall, even though I can get a better bagel in NYC, I enjoyed this breakfast and would certainly eat it again. But when I do, I will remember to toast my bagel at home so that the chocolate chips and Peanut Butter Cream Cheese get nice and gooey. Yum!
The recipe for Peanut Butter Cream Cheese is after the break. If you can’t get your hands on a Chocolate Chip Bagel at your local Panera, just add some mini chips to your PB CC mixture. Mmm!
PB Cream Cheese Recipe after the break!
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread
3 T Peanut Butter
3 T Regular Cream Cheese
2 t powdered sugar
drop of vanilla extract
Stir the peanut butter, cream cheese and vanilla until combined, then add the powdered sugar.
And don’t forget to sprinkle in some mini-chocolate chips if you don’t have a chocolate chip bagel!