Month two of being a Daring Baker = Cheesecake! I'm beginning to like this... Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell chose this recipe for cheesecake pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. Now, this was sort of fun - we could make cheesecake and then play with it! Dip in chocolate, drizzle with chocolate, roll in sprinkles, whatever!
But since I wasn't about to use 40 oz of cream cheese, I did halve it. Baking it in an 8in cake pan was easy, although it never browned like the recipe said it would. Then again, I'm a bit of a worrier about overbaking cheesecake. What a travesty that would be!
Even better was that I had a photographer! Yep, I roped the boyfriend in on this challenge so that I could get step-by-step pictures along the way. Muwahaha! Then again, I figure if he gets to eat them, he has to humor me a bit. As a result, I ended up with tons of pictures, which is basically what you're going to get from this post. Oh, and that I seriously make more friends every time I bring cheesecake into the office. Except for one woman who's pregnant and bitter that I have time to bake... but whatever!
My pops were a bit smaller than called for in the recipe - about 0.6 oz rather than 2 oz. This size was a little easier and meant that my half recipe made ~50-55 pops. The chocolate set up easily, although rolling the cheesecake was a bit messy. But hey, messy is fun! My favorite of all the toppings was the crushed salted peanuts - the saltiness with the sweetness of the cheesecake was wonderful.
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.
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.