My first impression when I saw Elle and Deborah’s choice for this month’s Daring Bakers challenge was that it was going to be a pain in the ass. Then I convinced myself that it wouldn’t be so bad. I figured it would be a valuable recipe to have in my arsenal. It’s transportable, perfectly portioned, visually impressive, okay to sit at room temperature for a few hours, and well-liked. And how hard could it be? Scoop out some cheesecake, poke a stick in it, dunk it in melted chocolate. Easy cheesy.
Mixing up the cheesecake batter was as easy as I expected. The flour is an unusual ingredient in cheesecake which I’m assuming is there to stabilize the cake enough to form balls. I ate a lot of batter during this part. I like batter.
But after the batter-eating, things got dicey. I made half the recipe in a pan exactly half the area of the pan the recipe called for. I baked it far longer than the recipe stated and took it out when a normal cheesecake would be done – when an instant read thermometer read 150 degrees and it was a bit jiggly in the center. I let it chill overnight.
The next day, the center was far too liquidy to be formed into balls, although the outer half of the pan was more solid. I found out later that others had this problem as well. They came up with creative solutions such as piping the batter instead of rolling it and keeping the batter frozen. I just ate the too-soft middle portion with a spoon. Yum.
The rolling process was still a mess. It seemed like there was cheesecake everywhere. The dipping went similarly. Far messier than I had planned for.
But the real problem was that the balls weren’t stable outside of the freezer. Because the cake was so soft, the balls would fall right off the stick. Not good.
Tasty though. It’s hard to go wrong with cheesecake.
Makes 30-40 pops
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
¼ cup (1.25 ounces) 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
(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) – 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 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.