When I buy a large number of bagels, I try to transfer any uneaten ones within the first 24 hours to the freezer. That way, I can always defrost and pop a bagel in the toaster to find it tastes almost as good as a fresh one. However, there have been moments when I don’t get the bagels to the freezer in time, and they start to get a bit stale. Sure, I could try to revive that bagel in the oven or the toaster with a pile of lox but it’ll never taste quite right. With stale-ish bagels, I prefer to do something better. I make bagel chips. Ohhhhh yeah.
Begin with a sharp serrated knife. Did you hear me when I said sharp? Not negotiable. Bagel chips require slicing a slightly tough piece of bread into thin slices. I’m no statistician, but if you don’t use a sharp knife for this, there’s an 87 percent chance you’re going to walk away from this encounter with some kind of hand laceration. Just proceed with attention, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Slice bagels in half (so you have two macaroni-like shapes) and then again in the center of the bagel-macaroni.
Using a sharp knife, cut each bagel-quarter into little chips about ¼-⅛ inch thick. They won’t be perfect, but that’s okay.
Once you’ve sliced all the bagels you want to turn into chips, arrange them on a sheet pan and preheat the oven to 300ºF.
If you want to season your bagel chips, pour 2 tablespoons of oil into a small bowl. Use a fork to mix in ½ teaspoon of whatever flavoring you’d like on your chips: garlic powder, oregano, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, chili powder, za’atar, coriander, cinnamon, fennel seeds, allspice, etc. Combine seasonings for an even more flavor-packed situation. Use a pastry brush to smear the flavored oil onto both sides of the chip pieces. Just before the pan goes in the oven, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to savory chips. If you’re going sweeter, say, putting allspice and fennel seeds on cinnamon raisin bagel slices, opt for a sprinkle of turbinado sugar instead.
Bake the chips for 20-30 minutes, or until they’re as golden and crisp as you’d like. Flip the chips around every 10 minutes to ensure they’re baking evenly. Pull them out of the oven and get munching (warm or let them cool for a while). Store cooled chips in a zip-top bag or container with a lid at room temperature. These chips will be nice and crispy for about 24 hours, after which they’ll get crunchier by the day—finish them before they get so hard you risk breaking a tooth.