Saturday, April 26, 2008

I'm a Daring Baker!

Daring Bakers is a (very large) group of bakers who, monthly, are challenged to make the same recipe, without modifications to see what results that recipe will yield.

After some convincing from my friend Danielle, who had been urging me to join Daring Bakers, I decided to bite the bullet this month. I don't think I could have joined during a better month considering April's DB recipe was for cheesecake pops! Even the title sounds yummy!

This recipe was a lot of fun. We were given some creative freedom and we could use any kind of chocolate and any other toppings to roll the pops in which I used as an excuse to clean out my pantry a bit. I dipped my pops in dark chocolate first and then I rolled some in coconut, some in walnuts, some in crushed M&Ms (which I kind of over-crushed, oops!), and some in colored sprinkles. The result? A smorgasboard of pretty cheesecake pops, that were pretty tasty to boot!

This recipe for the cheesecake was the creamiest I've come across yet! Using my round cake pan, I found it took a little bit longer than the directions said, but all in all, this was a fabulous recipe and a really fun way to eat cheesecake!

Check out what other bakers did by checking out the DB blogroll. I'm sure there will be some wonderful variety this month. I can't wait to see what other DBs have come up with!

Cheesecake Pops
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
(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.


Christine said...

I just joined DB and what a wonderful challenge to start off with. Your pops look beautiful!

Katie B. said...

Great first challenge! Your pops look delicious!

maybelles mom said...

I just started DB and I am glad to read so many peoples ideas about the same recipe. Yours looked so full of toppings, yum.

Lunch Buckets said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! Your pops look great, they sort of remind me of pom poms for some reason :)

Lindsay said...

I agree...this was the creamiest cheesecake I've ever eaten! Cute pops!

That Girl said...

They're so colorful

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

They look great. M&M's is a great idea, I did some without candy or decorations and they were no where near as good! Well done.

Cooking and the City said...

Robin your pops look great, so cute. I love all the toppings :-)

Ally said...

Great job on the pops, they look wonderful!

Jerry said...

Glad you enjoyed the challenge!

Miss T said...

These look super yummy!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a lovely job on your cheesecake pops. They are beautiful.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Deborah said...

Great job on your first challenge! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Jenny said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I love the variety of pops. Which one was your favorite?

Robin said...

I think the coconut was my fav!

Jigginjessica said...

Congrats on your first challenge. I think they look great. Seems like everyones cheesecake took a lot longer to bake!