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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Great Balls of Cheesecake!

Another month and another great Daring Baker Recipe Challenge!

The Daring Baker principles have always remained the same - to test our baking skills on the same recipe every month in a friendly supportive environment. There is a lot of lively discussion and some consoling over baking snafus. The great range of expertise among the bakers makes everything seem possible, even jumping over mounds of cream cheese in a single bound! It's been a great learning experience for me and I love - just love - the fact the recipes chosen are always ones that broaden my experience.

The recipe this month was Cheesecake Pops from the recipe book Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. Our gracious hostesses this April were Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah at Taste and Tell. The full recipe can be found at their blogs.

What did I learn from this challenge?

1) Cutting a recipe in half that calls for 5 packages of cream cheese is a very good idea. My family, my neighbour's family, and my neighbour's family's family wouldn't be able to eat that much cheesecake in a month of Sundays. With the knowledge that we could die trying to eat that much cheesecake, I cheerfully cut the recipe in half.

2) The baking time indicated in the recipe was very short. Even with half of a recipe, my baking time was over an hour. I've put the time variation in bold brackets for future reference.

3) Smashing peppermint candies for coating is fun, therapeutic, and mildly violent.

4) Little children will eat the chocolate outside and leave the cheesecake.

5) Have an eight year old "sous chef assistant" creates a chocolate coating on everything!

6) This is a great recipe for feeding a crowd. The portion of cheesecake is perfect for dessert and the serving utensil is tossed after the last lick. What more can you ask for?

7) I used Callebault dark chocolate chips and tempered them instead of adding shortening. The chocolate was fantastic!

Thank you Elle and Deborah. My children thank you, my neighbours thank you, and my neighbour's children thank you.

Cheesecake Pops

The cheesecake is New York style, the pops can be jazzed up with different toppings, and they are FUN…just right for a party. They are from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. Isn’t that an alluring title for a cookbook?

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 30-40 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped 2 tbsps vegetable shortening

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, coconut) - 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 spring form 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, (one hour and....) 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.

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 confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.

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

For a gluten free version subsitute sweet rice flour instead of wheat flour. Carrie at GingerLemon Girl made successful gluten free cheesecake pops.

34 comments:

Deborah said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this challenge! They look wonderful!

glamah16 said...

Beautiful job. It was a lot of cheesecake, I have tons in the freezer still.

Jenny said...

Hehehe cute little pops you have there. And I agree on the little sous chef observations - I did the dipping here but we did have little candies everywhere!

Robin said...

MMMmmm, your chocolate sounds great... and being that your sous-chef was so "helpful" I'm sure you can have fun licking it off the fridge, the counters, the everything in your kitchen!!

marye said...

they look great! My sous chefs were all sleeping for this one.

Baking Soda said...

Yes, lots and lots of cheese cake, and you're right, my kids did exactly that :-D! Love your pops!

Lis said...

hehe are you still finding chocolate covered items in unexpected places? :D

Your pops look yummy! What did you use for the pops that weren't covered in nuts or coconut?

Well done as always sweetie!
xoxo

pixie said...

you and your 8 year old sous chef did an amazing job!

BC said...

The pops that weren't covered in nuts, were covered with smashed peppermint candy. That was fun!

Susan said...

I made the full recipe and agree that it could have easily been halved and still been quite enough! Yours look great.

Annemarie said...

Excellent lessons, particularly the first. I've also done a half recipe and can't imagine the army needed to eat a full version of it. Well, actually, it would be a rather fat army, wouldn't it?

Megan said...

I love the lessons that can be learned each challange. Good looking pops!

Tartelette said...

I did half too...but had to do them another time for a friend, but I still sthink it was more manageable that way. They turned out beautiful!

shellyfish said...

I love your title! And your picture is great!

Maggie said...

I love your variety of decorations! And hats off to you for tempering chocolate. That's my Achilles Heel, I get so flustered watching the temperature go up to fast or down too far.

Amy J. said...

Great title! :) My little sous chef actually liked the inside better - isn't that weird?

Joey Biscotti said...

we need to learn how to temper chcolate... Your pops look great!!! I know a group of people who could eat them all...

Jenny said...

I know, I could not believe how many pops this recipe made. Great to know it would be so quick to make treats for a crowd. Yours look great!

Nemmie said...

Gorgeous pops! Sous chefs, as messy as they are, are totally worth it :)

Shandy said...

You sound like everyone had a blast making these cheesecake balls. . .almost as fun as eating them all! My daughter wanted some saved and set aside as plain cheesecake balls so that she could make a sundae with them. I was thinking these would be just as fun making bon bons out of them. Everyones ideas and imagination is absolutely inspirational! =D

Shandy said...

You are wonderful! Thank you so much for your advice on melting the chocolate. I was nervous trying this and excited when I started getting the hang of the sprinkles staying on and not falling off in clumps with the melted chocolate. I am still not sure how everyone is able to roll the balls with the melted chocolate into crushed toppings without the chocolate looking like a mess. I was just tossing my sprinkles on like a mad chicken =D

BTW, I have plenty of chocolate to share =D

cookworm said...

Mint is a great idea, that must have been really tasty. Nice to hear you had a great time with the recipe!

L Vanel said...

Love your tips and info about the little ones! I also divided this recipe for the same reasons you did. Your pops look wonderful.

Veron said...

Your cheesecake pops are adorable. I cut my recipe in half too because I cannot imagine using 5 packages of cream cheese!

I(dot)J said...

yeah, I do... I love your cheesecake.Your balls look amazing.
Great work.

Iisha of
http://thefablifeofi2daj.blogspot.com/

Dolores said...

Lesson 5A: a 48-year-old sous chef assistant provides the same effect.

Jen Yu said...

Oooh, nice job on all of those cheesecake pops! Callebaut is one my favorites (next to Valrhona!) - sounds great :)

Lunch Buckets said...

You know it's really not that hard for a family of 4 to eat a full recipe. Really :(

pixie said...

they look so elegant washed in natural light. I halved my recipe too. There was no more cream cheese in the grocery so I had to make do with my 3 8oz packages in my ref!

Augustina said...

I loved the title of your post! Very cute. And your pops look great--i liked your idea of crushed peppermint candy pops.

Aamena said...

great balls :P

SweetDesigns said...

Fantastic job!!They look wonderful =)

creampuff said...

Great title and great pops!

jj said...

I've so been enjoying looking at how creative everyone has been with these, and yours look so pretty! Great job!