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.
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.