Hello, there. I'm Shelby, and like many other millennials before me, I finally broke down and bought an air fryer (a Ninja Digital Air Fry Countertop Oven, to be exact). And lemme tell you, I haven't looked back.
In the video, which has been viewed over 11 MILLION TIMES, @whatsmomcookin — whose real name is Carman — slathers her bagels in cream cheese, throws on a dash of cinnamon, and pops them in the air fryer.
What emerges looks like two disks of crispy, crunchy, gooey deliciousness.
Then she tops them with some honey, and voilà!
I just so happened to have all the necessary ingredients on hand, so I decided to try out the recipe for myself.
Carman didn't give any specific measurements for the recipe, so I basically went with what my heart told me for the amount of cream cheese. Once the bagels were sufficiently covered, I popped them in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes*.
When my bagels emerged, they looked A LOT more burnt than Carman's, and I realized I forgot to put the cinnamon on beforehand! Rookie mistake.
But I wasn't about to be deterred! I tried again with a new bagel slice, making sure to dust it with cinnamon and lowering my cooking time by one minute. This is what it looked like:
Immediately, I noticed that the cream cheese looked raised, almost as if it had been aerated. Eager to finally try it, I threw on some honey and got to tasting.
My first impression: pretty dang yummy! The bagel was toasted on the outside but still very fluffy on the inside, and the cinnamon-honey combo was DIVINE.
By far the most interesting and probably most divisive aspect of the recipe was the cream cheese. Just like the bagel, it had a fluffy texture on the inside, and almost a crisp outer shell. And, just as I suspected, it rose quite a bit, thanks to the air-frying. I didn't mind the texture but wasn't sure how I felt about the super-warm cream cheese. Still currently debating.
I know that not everyone has access to an air fryer, so I decided to also try out Carman's recipe in the toaster oven to see if it would have the same effect. Since my air fryer is multifunction, I simply switched it to the "bagel/toast" setting and toasted it under "medium darkness" for about five minutes. We love an appliance that can multitask!
This is what the toaster oven bagel looked like — IMHO, pretty similar, although not QUITE as crispy-looking.
Here's a side-by-side comparison:
Taste-wise, it was...decent, but not quite as good. The bagel wasn't as toasted (although you could probably toast it for longer to get more of a crunch), and the cream cheese was severely lacking. While the air fryer method seemed to really aerate the spread and make it fluffy, toasting it sort of melted and flattened it, giving it a kind of curdled/gritty texture that I didn't like at all.
So, to get the full effect of this recipe, you'll probably need an air fryer.
Overall, I loved how the air fryer perfectly toasted the bagel (MUCH better than the toaster oven), and the cinnamon paired with honey was super decadent and comforting. I think that if you aren't sure about warm, aerated cream cheese — like me — a hack is to apply the cream cheese after air-frying your bagel (just know that the flavor/texture won't be exactly the same as the original recipe).
What do you think of this recipe? Would you try it? Where do you stand on aerated cream cheese? Tell us in the comments!
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