The Crunchiest Croutons Ever…

Hello and welcome to my first recipe for the stupid cooking blog: CornerCooks. It’s super easy and something you can even have your kids do (if you have kids and if you’re so inclined). Please bear with me while I get the hang of the blog, my WordPress theme, etc. I hope to have things sorted and neat soon.

I’ve been cooking a lot more lately. I have a huge and brand new kitchen with wonderful appliances and friends who come over to watch Dexter and other things on Sunday evenings. This is great because it gives me an excuse to use them as my guinea pigs and experiment with new recipes or techniques or whatever.

In case you were wondering, no, I’m not a chef. I’m just some guy who likes to cook. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and I plan to let you know when it goes awry because I will need someone to laugh with me, and to offer suggestions for fixing the problems.

I have also started ordering from GoodEggs NOLA. All those good, fresh groceries have been keeping me inspired.

The first week with Good Eggs, I ordered a bag of everything bagels made by Sugerman’s and I got SO MANY BAGELS! They were delicious, but I wasn’t able to eat them all. Half of the lovely bagels went stale right there on the counter. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away and I kept thinking about what I could do with them while the poor bagels grew ever staler.

Bread pudding? No, too much garlic. Breadcrumbs? Maybe. We have been eating a lot of salads — what about croutons? Yes!

First, make sure your knife is sharp. I tried my old serrated bread knife, but this regular knife was sharper and more effective.

First, make sure your knife is sharp.
First, make sure your knife is sharp.

Depending on how stale your bagels (or other bread items) are, you will be able to break these up quickly, or, in my case, spend a large chunk of your afternoon whacking at your bagels. Eventually, I got the hang of it and started using the knife like a wedge in firewood. The bagels shattered into nice pieces from that point on. REMEMBER: SAFETY FIRST. Keep your fingers out of the way of your knife! Protect your eyes from flying sharp bits of bagel and seeds!

Crunchy Croutons

I used my knife like a wedge, shattering the bagels into little chunks. And arrived at this pretty bowl of nuggets.

Crunchy Croutons

Right about now, you should set your oven to 350 degrees, and let it heat up.

350 degrees for 20 minutes
350 degrees for 20 minutes

Here’s where the fun begins. You can put any little flavor your heart desires on your croutons. My bagels already had garlic, so of course I added more garlic. I also like pepper, Cavender’s, Tony Chachere’s, and other things. Pick whatever flavors you like with your salad (or for snacking) and go to town! Do yourself a favor, though, and TASTE IT.

Basic Croutons
Basic Croutons

Basic Croutons

  • Bowl of bread pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Cracked Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Cracked Sea Salt

Whisk all the ingredients together,

Whisk all the ingredients together
Whisk all the ingredients together

then pour over your bread pieces,

then pour over your bread pieces
then pour over your bread pieces

and toss until all pieces are coated.

and toss until all pieces are coated
and toss until all pieces are coated

Once the pieces are all good and coated, spread them evenly on a big cookie sheet.

Spread Evenly on a Cookie Sheet.
Spread Evenly on a Cookie Sheet.

Pop the cookie sheet into your hot oven (you pre-heated, right???) for 15 to 20 minutes, and let them brown. Turn them over about halfway through so you don’t have uneven color and texture.

Use a glove for safety.
Use a glove for safety.

I’ll be honest, I’m just getting used to my oven, so mine got a little browner that I’d have liked.

Crunchy Croutons

No matter, they are really crunchy and taste great.

From this basic recipe, add whatever you like, more garlic, less pepper, some red pepper flakes, more salt, snipped rosemary, whatever! For the record, I tend to add a lot more of everything, and I sprinkle the salt on when I finish so the crystals don’t fully dissolve in the oil.

Whatever bread you use, if you find a half cup doesn’t coat or saturate your bread as well as you would like, sprinkle on a little more, but remember that some of the oil will escape your bread and end up on the cookie sheet.

Y’all have fun and let me know how yours turn out!

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