Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cheesecake Pops - Daring Bakers April Challenge

This was my first month as a member of the Daring Bakers and April’s challenge certainly challenged me! This month Deborah of Taste & Tell and Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms selected Cheesecake Pops. I think that in all my cooking I have made cheesecake once in my life, so this is still something that I have yet to master.

All month I contemplated as to when exactly I would get around to making these. I purchased the ingredients a few weeks earlier, but time got the better of me and it was just yesterday when I finally buckled down to business. (Perhaps the fact that I was supposed to be writing a paper had something to do with it.)

The pops turned out great – but how can you beat cheesecake covered in chocolate. I decided to coat my pops with graham cracker crumbs and crushed pecans, yummy!
In hindsight, I probably should have cut the recipe in half because now I have about 40 pops which should not be eaten by only two people. So, looks like Eddie’s work will benefit from my mistake.

Hope you can get around to making them soon. If you want to learn more about Daring Bakers, or check out how the cheesecake pops turned out for my fellow bakers, please go here.

Cheesecake Pops: Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined.
Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose its shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

1 comment:

Elle said...

So glad you are a Daring Baker. Love the graham cracker and pecan additions...and your pops look great! Nice job on first challenge and fun, too.