Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers: Cheesecake Pops

This month's Daring Bakers challenge was incredible! The challenge was hosted by Elle ( Feeding My Enthusiasms ) and Deborah ( Taste and Tell ). They chose the challenge recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor.

I had never made cheesecake before, so I was a little nervous about this challenge. The recipe was actually rather easy to follow. I did, however, end up cooking my cheesecake for around 60 minutes. The center looked too soft at the suggested baking time.

As for toppings, I decided to melt some Hershey's Milk Chocolate Symphony bars. I then rolled the pops in coconut, Andes Mint chips, Heath Bar chips, or sprinkled them with colorful sprinkles. After the milk chocolate ran out, I melted some white chocolate Ghirardelli chips. These I drizzled with some left over milk chocolate.

I actually had some trouble with the white chocolate. I tried to melt the chips, but ended up with a hard, lumpy mess. After a quick google search, I found up that the chocolate had 'seized' up. This can happen if the smallest amount of liquid gets in the chocolate, or if you try to heat the chocolate too fast. In any case, I ended up adding some more vegetable shorting and the chocolate came out alright.

These little delicious desserts are fun to make, look great, and are simply wonderful. I hope that you have as much fun making and sharing these little treasures. Let me know what other toppings you think up.

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 (or longer).

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.

Suggested Toppings:
Coconut Flakes
Andes Mint chips
Heath Bar chips
Candy Sprinkles
White Chocolate with crushed Oreo cookies
White Chocolate with crushed pepermint candies


Jenny said...

I love all of the fun varieties you made with your pops. Something for everyone! Very nice!

Elle said...

Your pops are great! That is a fantastic collection of toppings...I'd go for the ANdes mints myself. Nice that you used both white and darker chocolate, too.

Jade Is Green! said...

Yours look beautiful. This was my first time making cheesecake too. Mine however didn't turn out quite as well as yours haha. Great work!

Bumblebutton said...

Great assortment of toppings, and really good lookers too!

Nikki said...

I loved them....Thank you so much!

Laura said...

Wow so many toppings. You are ambitious--and they turned out beautifully.

Melanie said...

Yours look great!! I've read that other DBer's had similar issues with white chocolate seizing - I'm glad you included info on how to prevent that. Great job!

Lunch Buckets said...

Andes mints...hmmmmm :) but what I really want is some of those heart shaped sprinkles. I don't know why, I just do!

L Vanel said...

I loove love love your cheesecake pops and also your creativity.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a great job on your pops. My favorite is the one with the white chocolate coating and the drizzled dark chocolate. Yum!

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

chrismacd1 said...

Your pops were beautifully executed and I am so impressed! Great job!

Kelli said...

Thank you for sharing with our family! Cory enjoyed them. Lucky guy!

Barbara said...

What pretty pops! I love the variety of topping combinations you used.

Mindy said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful mini cheesecakes with our family. I admit that I was pretty stingy with them. They were all delicious. I think my favorite topping was the heath bar. Yum!

Nikki said...

hey Dave can you e-mail or post your cake in a jar? My recipe I did not think was great, ok but not great. I need my sweets in food storage. Thanks your a peach. I prefer an e-mail.