I’m thrilled to tell you that I’ve joined the Daring Bakers, that fearless group of blogging bakers that dare to go where no other baker has gone before. OK well maybe that’s over dramatising things a touch but nonetheless I’m sure that they’ll help me to push my baking boundaries and experiment with recipes that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across or tried.
For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the Daring Bakers, they’re a group of over 400 bloggers across the world that each bake the same recipe each month, chosen by fellow members. For this month, and my first challenge, the recipe was for these Cheescake Pops from the book ‘Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey’ by Jill O’Connorc.
To make these cute lollipops you bake a cheesecake, create little balls from it and coat them in chocolate. It was all very straightforward but I found forming the balls quite messy and at times the cheesecake mixture came apart in my hands. I also found, as did several other Daring Bakers, that the cake took much longer to cook than specified – 70 minutes for me. I halved the recipe and used 3 whole eggs, which worked out just fine. Here’s the original recipe:
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
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 – Optional
(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)
1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.
And here’s the list of ingredients, converted into British measurements, which I used:
565 cream cheese
200g caster sugar
15g plain flour
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
30 ml double cream
100g milk chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable fat (Trex)
I used an 8 inch pan and this was perfect. I did actually use a springform pan despite advice to the contrary and simply covered the bottom in two layers of tin foil to prevent the water leaking in. I couldn’t find any lollipop sticks so I just cut up some drinking straws.
P.S. I’ve been listening to Mika‘s album recently and thought this was apt and would be good for some Sunday evening entertainment: