Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge #6

Cheesecake Pops
(Makes 30 – 40 Pops)
My comments are in blue.

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.

Yes, the tops cracked, but you couldn't tell after the cakes cooled and fell slightly.

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.

Sorry I don't have any chocolate dipping pictures, but guests were watching and the chocolate began misbehaving (see below).

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.

I loved this challenge, but I do have a few comments. First off, I made the batter and it turned out great, but as I began filling my 10" pan, I realized that we had too much batter for the pan, so I pulled out a few of my small springform pans and filled those up too. I'm glad I did~ the batter rose as much as I expected and the top of the cake came to the top of the 10" pan and the small springforms. If I had to do it again, I think I'd pull out my really big 12x3" round cake pan.

To scoop the balls, I used my #40 disher (it holds around 1.5 Tbsp). The #20 just looked too big and we were entertaining some friends and there were quite a few children present, so I took the liberty to downsize the balls slightly. After all, this is cheesecake, and since 2 oz = 1/4 cup, I thought that might be too much for everyone.
Using the #40, this recipe made ~60-70 pops.

The other issue was dipping the pops in the chocolate. Unfortunately, after I melted all the chocolate together and it looked glossy and delicious, my chocolate seized. Yikes. I've only had that happen once before and it was a long tome ago, but I remembered chocolate CPR and it revived and I finished the batch. My theory as to why it happened was that a small piece of cheesecake fell off into the chocolate bowl and combined with the chocolate and the cheesecake seized up the chocolate's moisture quickly. I wonder if any other DB'ers encountered this. For the second half of the recipe, I was very sure to keep that cheesecake frozen so it would be less likely to drop off into my chocolate. Over all, my guests were very happy with the outcome and I will use this excellent recipe for plain old cheesecake next time. My husband could barely walk away from it after he tried the first bite!


HoneyB said...

I've never had chocolate seize on me - but then again, I haven't worked with it a whole lot! I used the Wilton Candy melts and they seemed to work really well.

Your pops look nice!

Elle said...

Great post! The chocolate could have seized from some of the cheesecake...that's why frozen works better than not frozen I guess. The smaller size is fine and very cute, too. Glad you did the challenge and the you liked the cheesecake part so much. Me too :)
Great job!

Tanya said...

Those look great!

Amy J. said...

Good job! I've never had chocolate sieze up on me - agggh! I'd just have freaked &/or dumped it, because I don't know chocolate CPR!

Lunch Buckets said...

My first batch seized but I didn't have time to monkey with it - I just shoved it in the fridge and went on with a fresh batch. No idea what caused it, but a cheesecake bit could have been the culprit.

Christine said...

Good job. I never had chocolate seize on me but i used the melts. I would have freaked out and never done a challenge with chocolate again! Congrats on your pops!

Dolores said...

I can't believe I'm still commenting on cheesecake pops when the May challenge is revealed tomorrow. I'm with your husband... these were difficult to resist. Great job!

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