It's Daring Baker time again! This month, we're making cheesecake. Cheesecake pops, that is: little chunks of cheesecake on a stick, dipped in chocolate and chilled. Yum! I will admit, a recipe with 5 blocks of cream cheese does make me hesitate for a second, but hey - it's only once a month that I indulge like this, right? Ahem.
We were given the opportunity to play around with this recipe, as long as we kept the cheesecake 'white'. I decided to get a bit tropical - for heavens sakes, when I made this it was freezing cold outside (and it is APRIL in KANSAS, it should be in the 70s). I thought some warm-thinking would maybe jump-start the weather around here.
Well, to me nothing screams 'warm and tropical' like tiki men and exotic flavors. Hence my theme! I made a pina colada cheesecake, using pineapple and coconut liqueur. I stacked my blocks of cheesecake on bamboo skewers (to get that true tiki statue feel), and dipped them in a coconut-spiked white chocolate. And the crowning touch: to decorate, I used yellow sparkling sprinkles and sugar-cast tiki masks.
Deborah and Elle hosted this month's challenge, and a big thanks to both ladies - the challenge was fun, and the cheesecake recipe is a keeper. The cheesecake is so smooth and creamy, so rich that the cheesecake is perfect for these little dipped bites.
Don't forget to check out the other cheesecake pops out there, compliments of my fellow Daring Bakers! We're hundreds strong, so I'm sure there are a lot of fun variations out there :)
(Recipe taken from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor)
5 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 c. sugar
¼ c. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ c. heavy cream
Boiling water as needed
30-40 (8-inch) lollipop sticks
1 lb. chocolate, finely chopped (whatever type you want for dipping)
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
Assorted decorations (sprinkles, sanding sugar, chopped nuts, etc.)
Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 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 (*note: I baked mine for an hour, so keep in the oven longer if needed).
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.