Early last month, I received an email from Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms. She was up next to host for the Daring Bakers Challenge, and she wanted to know if I would like to co-host with her. I was really excited, because even though I have now been a Daring Baker for 10 months and I joined when there were probably less than 100 members, I knew that if I were to wait for my turn, I’m sure I’d still be waiting for a couple of years! So of course, I accepted Elle’s invitation.
She originally wanted to do a cake, but seeing that we just did The Perfect Party Cake last month, we didn’t want to do 2 cakes in a row. She said that she had just received the book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor and that these Cheesecake Pops had caught her eye. I nearly jumped out of my seat, because I also own the book, and this was the first recipe in it that caught my attention. So the decision was made, and alterations were decided. And I have to say, I’m so happy that there was so much positive feedback from this choice. And before I even get to the recipe, I really need to encourage everyone to check out as many of these creations as they can, because what I’ve seen so far has been absolutely amazing! There are some extremely talented and creative bakers out there! So make sure you visit the blogroll and check them out!
The only downfall I had to doing this recipe this month is that I didn’t have an occasion to take them to. These really are a show-stopper, and they would really shine best at a party or get together. There wasn’t quite enough excitement with just my husband there to enjoy them! I halved the recipe without any problems. I know many people had to bake theirs for quite awhile, and I honestly can’t remember how long I baked mine for, but I don’t remember thinking it was really long.
For decorations, I wanted to go with something really girly. If you have seen this book, you know that it is all pink and blue and polka dots and stripes – seriously the cutest book I own. And every time I look through it, I just want to make everything really cute!! I knew I wanted to dip some in regular semi-sweet chocolate, but I also decided to get some candy melts so that I could make some in different colors. I figured that the chocolate would taste the best, but that it would be fun to have the colors. Dipping these actually turned out to be harder than I expected. Because you are dipping a frozen cheesecake into the warm chocolate, the chocolate hardens up very quickly. On some of mine, I didn’t even get the sprinkles, nuts or crumbs on before it was too late! You definitely need to dip and then add whatever you are putting on the outside, otherwise, it just won’t stick.
For the candy melts, I just decorated with colored sugars. For the chocolate, I decided to go with crushed graham crackers, to really give it that cheesecake taste, and chopped peanuts on others. I absolutely loved this cheesecake recipe. It was so creamy and wonderful – it was really the highlight of this whole challenge for me. And surprisingly, both my husband and I preferred the pops with the candy melts over the chocolate. Mostly because the chocolate overpowered the cheesecake a bit too much, in my opinion, while with the candy melts, you were really able to taste the cheesecake the most. But both were certainly delicious!!
I also need to add that at first, I thought the pops were too big, like many others had commented, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really liked the size – mainly for the reason I stated above – more of the cheesecake flavor. I’m afraid if you got much smaller, the ratio of cheesecake to coating would be different, and like I said – I liked the cheesecake the best!!
So, thank you Elle – for the opportunity to co-host, and thanks to all of the Daring Bakers for the wonderful support!!
Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
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.
Now – go on over and check out all of the other creations!!