Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 7

I am so excited to bring you guys the next edition of our NYC Entertaining series! When Jen and I were dreaming up concepts for our holiday post, we got really fixated on the idea of doing a bagel brunch. The concept obviously feels very New York, but I also love it, because, well- it’s easy. It allows you to create an incredibly festive menu totally worthy of company, but doesn’t require a ton of work on the part of the hostess. It would be perfect for a late Christmas morning breakfast, or an indulgent New Year’s day brunch. Everything can be purchased and prepped ahead, and only requires a few last minute things to execute the whole meal. We know you’re gonna be eager to throw this brunch yourself, so here’s how to bring it all together!

  • The week of I picked up my supplies- smoked salmon, fresh herbs, cream cheese, clementines, coffee, champagne, and so forth. I’ve provided a full grocery list below. I bought everything ahead except for the bagels as I wanted those to be super fresh.
  • The night before I prepped my pickled onions and herbed cream cheese. Since most of the elements of the brunch are store bought, it’s nice to have some homemade touches. This herbed cream cheese is truly to die for- you could even make extra and package it up in little jars for a party favor. And the pickled onions make a great condiment and add such a gorgeous pop of color to the table. Both take less than an hour to pull together.
  • The morning of I walked around the corner to my favorite bagel place and picked up an assortment of fresh bagels. If that’s not convenient for you, you can buy the bagels ahead and freeze them. Remove them from the freezer first thing when you get up that day and let them defrost on the counter.
  • Two hours before I set the table, prepped my platters and toppings, and put them back in the fridge to stay chilled.
  • 1 hour before I cut my bagels (first in half, then down the center), brewed a big pot of coffee, got some classic holiday tunes going, lit my candles, and positioned all the food on the table.

Once guests arrived I popped the champagne and began mixing up cranberry mimosas. They’re just like regular mimosas except we swapped in cranberry juice and garnished with fresh cranberries to create a truly holiday feel. To see how we pulled this whole table together- including how to safely put the toaster directly on the table, head over to Jentertaining. Jen’s giving you all the details on how to style this festive feast in no time, and for very little money I might add. Here’s to easy entertaining during the holidays!

Other NYC Entertaining Post: A Rooftop Dinner Party & Girls Night In

Photography by John Dolan

Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 3

Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 5

Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 1

Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 2

Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 4

Channeling Contessa Holiday Bagel Brunch with Photos by John Dolan 6

Grocery List (serves 8-10 guests):

  • 8 mixed bagels
  • 3 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 8 oz smoked salmon, cut into pieces
  • 2 beef steak tomatoes, thinly sliced and cut in half
  • capers
  • apple cider vinegar
  • 1 red onion
  • fresh chives
  • fresh dill
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • lemon and extra dill for garnish
  • coffee, cream or milk, and sugar for your coffee tray
  • 1 box of clementines
  • Cranberry mimosas: champagne, cranberry juice, and fresh cranberries for garnish

Below are the recipes for the onions and cream cheese. Along with your herbed cream cheese, also include a bowl of plain cream cheese on the table.

Pickled Red Onions adapted from Gourmet

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Blanch one sliced red onions in a small saucepan of boiling water to cover for 1 minute and drain in a colander. Then return them to the pan and add a 1/2 of cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and just enough cold water to barely cover the onions. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer the onions 1 minute. Transfer the onions and brine to a glass jar and chill (you can remove some of the brine if it’s too much for the glass). Serve the onions from the jar for your guests. They’ll also keep for weeks in the refrigerator, and can be used in salads, sandwiches, and anything else you can dream up!

Herbed Cream Cheese

  • 16 oz softened cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Mix together all ingredients until well combined. Place in serving dish, cover in saran wrap, and let chill for at least one hour or overnight before serving.

  1. Yelle

    I totally love this! Bagels are my fave brunch go to, and I love how extra special you made it!

  2. Yum! That herbed cream cheese looks delicious!

  3. I just discovered your delicious blog. I look forward to many more visits. Hugs! P.S. I adore Ina too :-)

  4. Beautiful styling on the table, and a brilliant way to hold a holiday gathering without breaking the bank!

  5. caraeve

    I am totally having a New Years bagel brunch in Houston. SOLD.

  6. Great idea for Christmas morning, easy and impressive.

  7. Pingback: Have A Warm & Cozy Holiday | Channeling Contessa

  8. Terry

    I think you just saved my life! I am hosting a brunch for 60-80 people. Now, I know exactly what I’m doing. Thank you. This looks special and delicious!

  9. Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought
    i could also create comment due to this brilliant article.

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