This month was quite the challenge! However, I think the biggest challenge was managing my time. In fact, I just looked at the DB message board and saw that we are suppose to post today…. oops! So, here I am at the last minute trying to put this together.
This month’s challenge was hosted by Elle, Feeding My Enthusiasms, & Deborah, Taste & Tell. They chose Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor for all 1,000 Daring Bakers to prepare. I immediately ran out to buy the book because I had just been perusing it at the bookstore the day before (weird, huh?!?!). I had the chance to flip though the book several times while hanging out at the pool during spring break & I felt I had a mastery of the recipe (huge mistake). I was confident with my visions of perfectly sized spheres with an even coating of chocolate & a delicate dusting of crushed pecans and pink sprinkles.
WARNING: My Cheesecake Pops are not very pretty. They are not round. They are “interesting.”
imagine me still in my bathrobe 2 minutes ago running the the backyard
THE JOURNEY: Despite the complains I have with the way they look, I will tell you that they are YUMMY! They are fun to eat even though I made them too big & you have to shove the whole thing in your mouth or it breaks apart. They are perfect for sharing with friends. And, they were a joy to make.
The joy came from sharing this month’s challenge with my daughter. I normally have a DO NOT ENTER sign up when I’m in the kitchen, but I’m trying to get over that. I keep reading on other blogs about how they have fond memories of cooking with their mothers or grandmothers. Because this baking project was so darn cute, I had to allow my daughter to help. She was thrilled by the opportunity! And, I am forever grateful that I had this chance to share a counter top to discuss pink sprinkles, unicorns & princesses.
ADDENDUM: Hi, it’s Monday morning (back in my bathrobe) & I wanted to add a follow-up to my original post. Thank you to all who left the sweetest comments – you were right, I was too hard on myself. I had about 35 of these Pops in my fridge when I made the decision that they were too good to keep at home (read: 10 lbs doesn’t lose itself!). First, I packaged a plateful for my friend Michelle who loaned us money at a swim meet so we could buy hot dogs on Saturday! (We were NOT expecting to be at the meet for 8 hours!!!) Thank you, Michelle! The rest I took on a tray to the cabana to share with our neighborhood friends. Everyone LOVED them. The best part was when I was gathering my things to leave and I walked out of the office with the remaining Pops about 10 kids ran up to me knowing my intentions (how do they do that? yet, you ask them everyday to put their dirty clothes in the hamper & they look at you like you’re crazy). Happily, everyone walked away with the last of my tasty Pops. I call that a success!
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.