Today is a very special day in my blogging history! I just accomplished my first Daring Bakers Challenge! This month’s challenge is being hosted by two wonderful Daring Bakers: Deborah of Taste and Tell and Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms. For the April challenge, they picked the recipe for Cheesecake Pops.
I had never made cheesecake before this challenge, so I was a little nervous. But luckily the process wasn’t as intimidating and difficult as I thought it would be. In fear of ruining something, I strictly followed the recipe (see below) and everything seemed to flow easily until I read “scoop the cheesecake into balls” part. I had a hard time doing so.
I used ice cream scoop and obviously, it was a bad idea. It simply didn’t work and soon I knew my cheesecake was going to turn into mashed potato if i didn’t stop. I welcome any suggestions from those of you who succeeded making the balls:) Anyway, I cut the cake into rectangulars. I had exactly 40 pops as the recipes read. I decided to try dipping the pops into raspberry jam and then coat them with melted chocolate. I tried the jam on a few pops then gave up, because the jam was more spreadable than dippable and was guaranteed to break my pops. I gave up on jam. I continued with plain chocolate coating, but hated my chocolate because it would harden so fast. See the imperfections on the first picture:)
Another challenge was how to fit these long sticks in my freezer? I had to rearrange the freezer to fit them, and boy, it was a lot of work:))
The fun part was decorating. I wanted something interesting. So I had this idea of marrying the two pops and inviting the rest to their wedding:)) This is how Mr. Cheezypop and Mrs. Cheezypop were born. I really don’t know what sort of creatures the Cheezypops were, but they were really cute and funny looking. I had some fresh raspberries at home that served as their noses. The broom had beautiful almond shaped eyes and the bride had almond shaped ears:)) She was wearing a white dress and a long white veil with coconut-flakes pattern:)) Their stylist was a little sloppy and they weren’t the neatest newlyweds in the world. And the photographer took the worst pictures of her career, too.
The guests were wearing black tuxedos and dresses. The ceremony was a lot of fun! The couple danced and sang, took pictures - they were simply happy. And they lived happily ever after. Not true. They lived happily…until… we, the gluttons, happily ate them. The End. Sad but sweet:) And we had a lot of dressed up wedding guests left over in the freezer to eat the following days. Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it?
But to be serious, I was a bit frustrated with the way my pops looked but the many compliments I received later for my crazy imagination lifted my spirits, so I am happy I tried the recipe!
If you want to make your own cheesecake pops, follow the recipe below. I thought my step by step illustrations could be helpful too, so I am posting them for you. Also, please check other wonderful Daring Bakers to read about their cheesecake pop adventures and to see the pictures of their masterpieces. Viva the Daring Bakers!
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
1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.
_ Oh, Mr. Cheezypop, this is the happiest day of my life!!
- Ah, Mrs. Cheezypop, let it always be so!
Verdict: This is one fun recipe! A keeper. It was a hit in our family and among our guests! But I think there were too many pops. So, unless you are throwing a big party, make half of the recipe. That’s what I’ll do next time. Enjoy!