Sunday, April 27, 2008

My First Daring Baker's Challenge-- Cheesecake Pops

This was my first Daring Baker's challenge. I was really excited when I opened up the recipe, Cheesecake Pops. The picture that was attached looked so fun and so appealing and bright and cheery and colorful, that I couldn't read the recipe fast enough! I was happy when I finished the recipe to learn that there didn't seem to be anything that made me too nervous about attempting this.

This month's challenge was chosen by Elle and Deborah. It is from the dessert cookbook Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor.

It definitely is one that I will make again when I want to bring a festive dessert to a gathering or party. They tasted amazing... however, I think I would have liked the chocolate shell to be a soft and creamy chocolate rather than one that hardens (although the presentation wouldn't have turned out the same). I also left a few cheesecake pops naked so that we could swirl them in caramel before eating. Heavenly!!

The actual preparation of the recipe went well and without incident. I chose to stretch it out over 2 days so that I could take advantage of the refrigeration and freezer times. The only little mishap I had was when I prepared the water bath, it seemed to be a bit tricky to pour the water in the roaster without the water getting into the prepared batter pan. I quickly scooped out the water from the batter and ended up taking the entire cheesecake pan out of the roaster and filling the roaster with water first and THEN placing the cake pan back into the water (which of course, led my fingers to dip into the scalding water.... ouch.). And mine seemed to take a bit longer to bake until it was set.... it was probably closer to an hour before it was ready to come out of the oven.

Here is the recipe:

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

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (omit if using flavored coatings)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees (optional )

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

**I had this great cake slicer that worked perfectly for cutting the cheesecake into 2 oz. (give or take) squares and helped alleviate any messy edges that a knife would create**

6. 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.

7. 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 confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.
Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.


la tribu' said...

It was the first challenge for me too,and I feld in love with this experience! See you soon on Daring Bakers

Marye said...

congrats on completeling your first challenge.

Susan said...

I can't see your photos :( but I'm sure they look beautiful. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

JMom said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge! This was only my second one and it was a lot of fun.

Great job on the pops. It took me a couple of days to do this challenge too since I had to look for popsicle stick.
~JMom @ Cooked From the Heart

Lina said...

congrats on your first challenge! I just joined DB and will be starting with next months challenge! Im so excited!!!

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! Well done on your first challenge. Too bad I can't see your photos

Deborah said...

I can't see the photo for some reason, but it sounds like the turned out wonderfully! Great job on your first challenge!

Jenny said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I like the naked in caramel idea with these cheesecake pops.

Jen Yu said...

Great job on your first challenge! I like the way you sliced the squares - much cleaner than rolling balls! :)

Kristen said...

Great job on your first challenge. I like how you used a cake leveler to cut the cheesecake into cubes, what a great idea!

Divya said...

Congrats on completing the first challenge successfully ..yours are nicely cut ...
Great job !!

Augustina said...

You did a great job on your first challenge. Congratulations!

Milli said...

Congrats on your first DB challenge!
You did a wonderful job!!

Tartelette said...

Great job on your first challenge! Your pops turned out fabulous! Welcome to the DB and cheers to many more successes!!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Michele, your pops look so pretty! What a great idea to save some "naked" ones for dipping! Caramel! Oooh! Wish I'd thought of that!

Caramella Mou said...

Hi Michele,

Welcome to DB and well done on completing yourfirst challenge! I love your cake cutter. I've seen those before and always wondered what the point is of such a tool - well now I know and if I keep thinking about it, I might go and get one too.

I thought about using caramel as coating too, but I have a feeling my pops are way too soft and would dissolve in the caramel. Please let us know how that worked.


KJ said...

Welcome to the DBs. Great job on your first challenge!! That cake slicer is a fearsome weapon. I think you could shoot arrows with it :)

Big Boys Oven said...

looks awesome! must taste good!

April said...

Congrats on completing your first challenge! Great job!

moowiesqrd said...

Hello from a fellow newbie! I loved the cake cutter idea... definitely made quick work out of creating the pops. They look great!

I(dot)J said...

good job on your first challenge..
Your balls look amazing.
Great work.

Iisha of

itssf said...

that slicer is fantastic, everything looks so neat! good job!

Jess said...

Great job on your first challenge! LOVE that cake slicer! I must find one!

Lunch Buckets said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Renee said...

Congratulations on your first challenge. This was my second - it is so much fun. Your pops look great. I like the idea you had of the slicer. The most challenging part was rolling those balls!!


wmpe said...

What a great write-up so open, honest and funny. It is tricky pouring that boiling water into the bain marie. I use a tea kettle. Dipping fondue style is a great idea as well as the cake cutter to make squares! I enjoyed your about me section explaining the title of "a big cup of tea" and thought the "a big glass of cheap wine" was pretty funny:) I start my day with a steamy cup of tea too and don't feel complete if I have to skip it. Lovely pops!!! Wendy

Dharm said...

Great Job! My cheescake didnt set as well as yours. Also, I have one of those cake slicers too but wasn't smart enough to use it! Well done you!

SweetDesigns said...

Congrats on your first Challenge!! They look great!

MamaDotz said...

Well Michele, It seems I'm not the ONLY one reading your blog and checking in regularly!!! Congratulations with your first challenge (although I'm not sure just what THAT means?!?!?) but everyone on your site seems to be really excited for you so I AM TOO!! Well, I was anyway but now I'm even MORE excited for you cause this must be a really big deal. I love, Love, LOVE looking at all your pictures and reading all your entries. They are wonderfully typed and they are just like talking to YOU personally! Love it! Keep up the GREAT work. ~Vicki

nek0 said...

wow! I don't have a cake cutter but now I need one! ;))