Hello friends~

This month was my first challenge as a Daring Baker. The challenge was Cheesecake Pops from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook. It was hosted by Deborah of Taste and Tell and Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms.

The cheesecake turned out really well and it was the first time my cheesecake didn’t crack upon cooling. After doing some research, I found out that leaving the finished cheesecake to cool in the oven is the trick. By leaving it in the warm oven, the cheesecake can cool slowly. Another tip I have to making a successful cheesecake is to make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature. This will ensure a creamy cheesecake with no thick lumps.

Though I loved the idea of this dessert, I must be honest and say that I didn’t think think it was worth the effort. The cheesecake slid off the sticks while I was dipping them and while Jason was eating them. I couldn’t get a good coating of chocolate on them either but I think that was my fault. Note to self, Nestle chocolate chips are best in chocolate chip cookies and not melted for a candy coating. I had an inkling that might be the case but it was the only chocolate I had in the house at the time (I have been on a chocolate chip cookie craze). The other wonderul Daring Bakers out there had beautiful results though and are obviously more artistic than I. Check theirs out!!

Sorry that the picture below is suffering from jaundice. I snapped it while Jason was eating it on the living room couch.

On a more positive note, I think these would be great at a bake sale and/or as an activity at a little kid’s birthday party.  It can get messy though so I’d suggest doing it outside and having a hose handy.

I can’t wait for the next challenge and hope I’ll have better luck with it!


Cheesecake Pops

makes 30-40 pops

40 oz of cream cheese at room temperature (I used 1/2 full fat and 1/2 neufchatel cheese)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the insides of one vanilla bean)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Boiling water as needed

thirty to forth 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, etc…

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.