I get excited every month about posting the Daring Bakers challenges. Actually it is more like an act in three part. On reveal day, I check our site in my pajamas like a kid waiting to open her Christmas present. I give myself a week or so to think about how I want to go about the challenge, baking, cutting, plating and photographing. Then, I usually get them done the second week and then I tend to lose the mood until posting day. That's when it hits me, why I love it so much: it's the sense of community, knowing that there is a bunch of us out there loving the same thing...baking and sharing the fruits of our labor. It may be more or less challenging for some of us each time but it gives me the opportunity to share my love of baking and eating with you all. I just realized my first challenge was on December 2006 with Biscotti, right after Lisa and Ivonne introduced the concept of a group baking session. Time flies when you are having fun!!
Since I have been in the States for over 10 years, I can't say that cheesecake is new to me, having churned about 2-3 a day at work back in the days and a few here on this site However turning a cheesecake into a lollipop was something I had never done before but always wanted to try, ever since I had watched a show on a restaurant dunking big slices of cheesecake in chocolate and serving them as ice cream pops. But you know...so many recipes, so little time! That's until Deborah from Taste and Tell and Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms chose these Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. Thank you ladies I don't know when I would have gotten around to making these bites but thanks to the Daring Bakers, now it was... (I know, not grammatically correct but you get it).
I made the pops for our weekly gathering with the neighbors and decided to make half the recipe. This turned out to be a little mistake since one of the couples present was celebrating their anniversary yesterday and he asked me if I could make some as party favors and a small box with heart sprinkles on them especially for her. I forgot about it until yesterday morning and I was still duking pops a few hours before the party a la Bridget Jones....read with curlers in my hair and a party dress on. I also almost walked into the reception room with one curler still on my head but that is another story!
Anyways....each half batch took about 40-45 minutes to bake which makes me think that the 55 minutes indicated for the full batch is very very conservative, and from what other Daring Bakers have reported throughout the month, it was more like over an hour of baking time. I went for the queen of flavors (just my opinion) for the cake, vanilla, scraping a whole bean into the batter and the cake tasted like vanilla ice cream. I thought about adding a blueberry or a raspberry into each pop but in the end I kept relatively simple. The result? Decadent pleasure...
I used good old store bought chocolate chips for the coating and it worked perfectly. The only problem with a recipe that calls for variance in temperatures like dunking the frozen pops into hot chocolate coating where I live is that within 20 minutes with the humidity and the heat around make the chocolate sweat. I notice that this morning when I was dunking the remaining bites and taking extra pictures. It was humid and hot in the room where I was and it made my pops go into thermal shock!! No big deal, they did not suffer long... Will I make them again? Probably but this time I want to cut bigger slices and put them on ice cream sticks, ahahaha!!!
Cheesecake Pops, (full recipe) adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor
Makes 30 – 40 Pops (or more if you make them small like I did)
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs (I used 3 eggs when I baked half the recipe without a problem)
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, seeded
¼ cup heavy cream
Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, chopped or in chips
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) I also used cut chocolate transfer sheets.
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 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 to 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 paperlined 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.
Don't forget to check out the other Daring Bakers' creations here and again thanks Lisa and Ivonne for your hard work this month setting us up with a brand new forum!!