Don't Go Overboard Topping Your Copycat Panera Cinnamon Crunch Bagels

While cereal-topped everything has been one of the bigger food trends in recent years, Panera's Cinnamon Crunch bagels aren't made with (nor named for) Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Instead, these bagels are sweetened with cinnamon and vanilla chips and covered with a crunchy cinnamon-flavored topping as the name implies. Mashed developer Patterson Watkins has worked up a copycat version of Panera Cinnamon Crunch bagels which will take time and effort to make, but if you're willing to put in the work, you'll not only have the satisfaction of doing it yourself but will also have a dozen bagels for quite a bit less than it might cost you to buy them at Panera.

While Watkins' recipe skips the flavoring chips, it does include a streusel-type topping made from brown and white sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and (of course) cinnamon. This results in what Watkins calls a "sweet crispity-crunchity exterior" that, in her opinion, "needs little adornment." While Watkins says she eschews any "muss or fuss" with the bagels, however, she doesn't eat them naked but instead opts to eat them with butter or plain cream cheese.

If you do want to top them, though, here's what might work

Not everyone likes to eat their bagels plain, and if you do want a more deluxe version, there's no reason you can't have one. Once you've baked these bagels, after all, they are yours to do with as you wish. Even Panera's own website suggests using honey-walnut cream cheese with its cinnamon crunch bagels, so that's one recommendation. Other cream cheese flavors that would work well include honey pecan and brown sugar cinnamon, while non-dairy spreads like apple or pumpkin butter could also complement these cinnamon-flavored bagels.

If you want to go all-out, you might even use these cinnamon bagels to make sandwiches. Honey-drizzled brie and apple slices would make for a lovely upscale option, while peanut butter and bacon could contribute to an intriguing sweet and savory pairing. Eggs also go surprisingly well with cinnamon bagels, while chicken salad or sliced turkey and Swiss would also work. If none of these sandwich options appeal but you're looking for a creative way to use these bagels, you can also turn them into cinnamony french toast.