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.
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.