Sunday, April 27, 2008

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Daring Bakers: Cheesecake Pops

I have found the secret to making the perfect cheesecake. The first time I made cheesecake wasn't a disaster per se because it tasted good, but it wasn't pretty. The cake didn't bake evenly and I ended up having very brown edges and a center that didn't set. I was especially nervous because this was my attempt at impressing Alex's family with yet another dessert. Luckily enough, the cherry topping I used hid all the imperfections. After making this month's challenge I realize that what I missed out on was a water bath. I have never made a prettier cheesecake and all credit goes to the water bath. The cake baked evenly and beautifully. I was actually sad to have to break it up and scoop it into balls, but duty called and the Daring Bakers challenge called for it. So on I went scooping away (and licking my fingers and washing my hands between each scoop) and building excitement for the final dipping. I chose to use white chocolate because I wanted to make sure that my pink and black sprinkles showed and, plus, I love white chocolate. Dipping them was the funnest part for me and waiting for them to set was torture. It was all worth the wait because they tasted great! Again, I halved the recipe, so if you'd like to see the whole recipe go check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll and have a field day looking through all the delicious blogs.

Thanks to Elle of Feeding my Enthusiasm and Deborah of Taste and Tell for picking April's challenge.

Cheesecake Pops

Source: Jill O'Connor's "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey"

Makes 20 – 25 Pops
- 2 8-oz. plus 4 oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cups sugar
- 1⁄8 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 2.5 large eggs (I scrambled the third egg and just used half of it)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄8 cup heavy cream
- Boiling water as needed
- Twenty to twenty-five 8-inch lollipop sticks
- 1/2 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.)
- 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
- 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 9-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.

So Pretty :)

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 its 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.

Sprinkled and all done up.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Closeup of Goodness.

Eat and enjoy! (I preferred eating them cold because the chocolate was cold. I left them out and they got warm and weren't as good in my opinion).

It was creamy and fluffy.

I can't's Perla with a cheesecake hat.


Robin said...

Your pops are beautiful! Nice job!

Christine said...

Love your pops they are beautiful!

Amy said...

How pretty!! I love the black and pink sprinkles!! (My favorite color combo!) Well done!

landa said...

Very pretty. I love the black and pink.

Jerry said...

My mother saw the cheesecake and said when we could have a slice. I told her I couldn't, but I now have a good cheesecake recipe!
Great job!

Susan said...

I hear you about having to corrup a beautiful cheesecake. I guess we'll both have to make it again! Your pink and black sprinkles look so elegant with the white chocolate.

Andrea said...

Your pops look so pretty with the pink and black against the white! Very chic!

Jenny said...

I think the white chocolate was a great choice. Nice job!

Deborah said...

Your pops are gorgeous! Great job on this challenge!

Barbara said...

Very pretty pops. I bet your dog was just praying you'd accidentally drop that pop. :)

Barbara Bakes said...

Picture perfect pops!

Dolores said...

I had the same reaction... my first non-cracked cheesecake and I have to deconstruct it?!? Yours turned out great though... the black and pink are delightfully dramatic against the pristine white chocolate.

Stef said...

I LOVE the dog with the cheesecake pop hat! So cute :)