First off, I have to apologize for my absence in the blogging world. School and interviews for a summer job (I found one! at a place that makes waffles and pancakes) have kept me very occupied, and with finals and what not coming up soon I'll continue being busy for a while. I'm updating my blog when I can but I know I'm greatly falling behind in visiting other people's blogs. I love and appreciate all of your comments and visits to my blog though! I look forward to being done finals (end of May) so I can have more time to bake (I'm already compiling a long list of the things I want to make this summer) and do food blog things. I'm not trying to be a snob by not visiting and commenting!
Deborah from Taste and Tell and Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms chose cheesecake pops for this month's Daring Bakers' challenge. I wasn't really excited by the idea of cheesecake pops, though I am a huge fan of cheesecake. They seemed like more work than they were worth and I didn't want to have to find lollipop sticks. (I ended up using sticks meant for caramel apples.) BUT of course this story turns around.
I loved these cheesecake pops. Like really loved them. They were so cute! I especially fell in love with the one I coated with broken Reese's pieces (not the peanut butter cups but the pieces that are like smarties/m&m's which are so much better than peanut butter cups). It was really fun to come up with different chocolate/topping combinations and I had lots of yummy things in the house to play around with.
The variations I made were: white chocolate & oreo, white chocolate & oreo & gummy bears (had to have one with gummy bears!), white chocolate with toasted coconut, milk chocolate with crushed Reese's pieces, and milk chocolate with crushed animal crackers. (Speaking of animal crackers, I am still dying to make this lemon cheesecake that uses them in the crust.)
For the first pop, I attempted to first coat the ball in crushed up oreo cookies and then in white chocolate - which is why you see cheesecake pops that just look like "cookies & cream" because it all mixed together. Delicious though.
All the flavour combinations were really yummy, and I was surprised at how much I liked the cheesecake when it was covered in chocolate like that. I didn't add shortening to my chocolate (an allowed deviation), and found the texture of it perfectly matched the cheesecake. The chocolate hardens really quickly on the frozen cheesecake pops though, so you have to work fast. This might not happen if you add the shortening to the chocolate though.
I would definitely make these again for a special occasion or party. Or maybe have a cheesecake pop decorating party! Mmm. I 1/5 the recipe and it turned out really well. You can see the measurements that I used at the bottom of the recipe. Go check out the other Daring Bakers' cheesecake pops!
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Makes 30 – 40 Pops
5 8-oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 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.
Note: I 1/5 the recipe and the measurements worked out really well. I made sure that the batter would come up 1 1/4 inch in the baking dishes I used (3 little ramekins). I baked it for the same amount of time as you're supposed to bake the regular cheesecake.
The measurements I used (makes about 6 or 7 pops):
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese
86 grams sugar (0.4 cups)
7.6 grams all-purpose flour (0.05 cups)
a little less than half of a 1/8 tsp measure if you have it
1 large egg
0.4 egg yolk (eyeballed this obviously)
0.4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp (15 mL) heavy cream