Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers- April: Cheesecake Pops

I've missed the last few Daring Bakers challenges. They have been some interesting ones, too. I definitely want to try to make french bread on my own and homemade white cake with buttercream frosting, but ran into too many obstacles these last few months. Mainly, I've been having trouble with my oven temperature. I finally got an oven thermometer and calibrated it properly, so I'm back in the kitchen!

The April recipe is for Cheesecake pops from “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” by Jill O’Connor, and the recipe was picked by Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I was really excited to make these pops. The recipe was surprising easy. I thought of the endless possibilities in decorating them. Unfortunately, I did not have much time to put into decorating. I just went with a love theme and sprinkled them with multi-colored hearts. One of them ended up looking like a heart, so I picked that one for the picture. I tried the sanding sugars, but they just melted in with the chocolate. I probably should have used more. I think that they would be great rolled in any kind of nuts (walnuts, almonds, salted peanuts), but my husband doesn't really like nuts so I didn't try it. Maybe I'll try it for supper club sometime. These would be a good finger food for a cocktail party. They were a great treat after a long day outside at Jazz Fest!

I didn't have any lollipop sticks so I used toothpicks and made the pops with a small ice cream scooper. I've noticed that other Daring Bakers used cocktail stirrers, which I thought was very cute and creative.

Here is the recipe:

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 it’s 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.


Deborah said...

How fun that the one ended up looking like a heart when you had a love theme going on! I'm glad you were able to get your oven working correctly so that you could enjoy this challenge!

Dolores said...

Great job with the April challenge... I love the heart theme.