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April Daring Bakers: Cheesecake Pops!!

April 27, 2008

Yes, I don’t think of these as mere cheesecake pops — I say “cheesecake pops!!!” every time I eat one. What a cute idea for this month’s Daring Bakers challenge! I’ve been enamored of the dessert pop idea ever since I saw Bakerella’s cupcake pops (aren’t those amazing?), and I was thrilled to have these as my second DB challenge.

The pops are a New York-style cheesecake — smooth and creamy — rolled into balls and coated with melted chocolate. According to the rules for this month’s challenge, we had leeway as far as flavoring the cheesecake (though it had to remain white), as well as what we used to decorate the pops. I divided my batch of cheesecake batter in two and made half raspberry-flavored (with Chambord) and the other half hazelnut flavored (with an organic hazelnut extract.) I rolled both kinds of pops in dark chocolate, and then drizzled white chocolate over the raspberry pops and rolled the hazelnut pops in finely chopped toasted hazelnuts. They were really delicious, and I’ve been keeping ours in the freezer…which makes them OH so good. Like frozen chocolate-covered cheesecake! We’ve been having some every night for the past week; no one is complaining.

Here’s how the cheesecake pop adventure unfolded:

The batter had five whole blocks of cream cheese in it (yes, it was super creamy) — it proved to be quite the task for my Kitchenaid mixer, volume-wise!

You know how it’s generally not a good idea to get distracted when baking? Baking requires some level of precision and following-directions-to-the-letter. Well, I got distracted at this point. I was trying to do something else at the same time, and when I saw that the mixing was slow-going, I just turned up the speed on the mixer so it beat the ingredients into submission.

Then I looked at the directions and read “if using a mixer, mix on low speed.”

Oops.

Well, it was too late at that point, and everything looked fine and smooth, if a bit voluminous.

At this point, I divided the batter into two bowls. Into one bowl, I mixed some Chambord extract; into the other, I added the hazelnut extract. (On a side note…isn’t the design of the Chambord bottle just delightfully gaudy? Look at all that plastic faux-gold!)

Now here’s where I think my failure to “mix on low speed” might have come into play: the recipe directions instructed us to bake the cheesecake batter in a 10-inch cake pan. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just use my two trusty 5-inch pans, pouring half the batter in each.” Should work perfectly, right? Well, let this be a lesson learned to me, if you beat cheesecake at high speed you will end up with more volume than fits into a single 10-inch (or two 5-inch) pans. After I scraped as much as would fit into my 5-inch pans, I just mixed the remaining batter together and baked it off in a separate pan at a later point.

The recipe instructed us to use a water bath to bake the cheesecakes: this method allows them to cook more gently, and provides more moisture for them while baking. In the past I’ve used water baths to bake cheesecakes, but it’s been in conjunction with a foil-wrapped springform pan, and I’ve always had some water seepage into the bottom of the cheesecake. Baking the cheesecakes in solid cake pans obviously avoided that problem.

Though my cheesecakes took a bit longer to firm up sufficiently than the directions stated it would take (60 minutes instead of the 35-45 minutes listed in the recipe), they still turned out nicely.

I refrigerated my cheesecake overnight, and the next day, scooped out 2-ounce chunks and rolled them into balls. This was fun, but kind of messy — the cheesecake was super creamy, and though the cheesecake around the edges of the pans was a bit firmer and rolled pretty well, the cheesecake from the center was a challenge to roll into a nicely shaped sphere. They ended up being golf ball-sized, and some of mine (the ones rolled from the center cheesecake) looked more like flying saucers than perfect spheres.

The balls went onto a parchment-lined sheet, at which point I stuck lollipop sticks into them. Now they were starting to look like pops! Into the freezer they went for a nice cooldown before they were to be rolled in melted chocolate. I ended up leaving mine in the freezer overnight, which worked out well for rolling them — they were really frozen and easy to roll in the warm chocolate without melting.

I chose to melt some dark chocolate to dip my pops into, and though the recipe instructed us to melt some solid vegetable shortening into the chocolate to help with “snap,” I do not keep that stuff in my house — so as some other shortening-averse DBers did, I substituted canola oil, and it seemed to work pretty well in creating a nice snap when you bit into the chocolate coating.

Here I am ready to roll: I had my bowl of melted dark chocolate, a little bowl of melted white chocolate, and a bowl of chopped toasted hazelnuts. Since the pops were solidly frozen, the melted dark chocolate firmed up almost instantly after dipping them.

For the raspberry pops, I used a fork to drizzle melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate coating. They got dressed up for the picture with a raspberry-colored ribbon.

I rolled the hazelnut pops immediately in the chopped hazelnuts after twirling them in the melted dark chocolate. And these got gussied up with a turquoise and chocolate-brown ribbon (my favorite color combo.)

At this point, I stuck them back into the freezer to harden up again. It was a nice, sunny (i.e. warm in the kitchen) afternoon when I made these, so I figured a frozen pop would be pretty refreshing, and oh boy, were they.

It should be really interesting to see what other flavor and decoration combinations others did for this challenge! Thanks, Elle and Deborah, for choosing such a fun challenge! You can check out the other cheesecake pops via the Daring Bakers Blogroll. The original cheesecake pop recipe is listed below as it was given to us, and I’ve noted my customizations in blue. Enjoy!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Cheesecake Pops

From Sticky, Gooey, Messy, Chewy by Jill O’Connor

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

Ingredients

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 [I divided the batter in two, and used 1 teaspoon Chambord in one half, and 1 teaspoon organic hazelnut extract in the other]

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.) [I used all dark chocolate]

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening [I substituted canola oil]

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional [I used melted white chocolate and chopped toasted hazelnuts]

Directions

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.

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49 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2008 9:56 am

    What a good Idea. I love Hazelnuts! I’ll have to add this idea to my recipe for next time.

  2. April 27, 2008 11:43 am

    Beautiful!

  3. April 27, 2008 12:02 pm

    Wow! They look great! I bet they tasted soooo good!

  4. April 27, 2008 12:14 pm

    Just lovely, it was an adventure worth reading. Cute pictures as always.

  5. April 27, 2008 12:16 pm

    Ooooh, adorable! What I wouldn’t give for one of those right now…

  6. April 27, 2008 12:32 pm

    Those look great, and I love the flavours you chose (especially the hazelnut)!

  7. April 27, 2008 12:32 pm

    Your pops are so adorable! Great job on this challenge!

  8. April 27, 2008 12:42 pm

    Hazlenuts were an inspired idea. I need to make these agian, I have gotten so many good ideas.

  9. April 27, 2008 1:08 pm

    These are gorgeous! Mmmmmmm Chambord and hazelnut. Must try it.

  10. April 27, 2008 1:10 pm

    Oh man, my mouth is watering looking at your pops!

  11. alexisthetiny permalink
    April 27, 2008 1:44 pm

    Oh my god, they are gorgeous. Chambord cheesecake in chocolate, that’s like a dream come true. Yuuum. Suddenly, my Oreo doesn’t look quite so interesting any more.

  12. April 27, 2008 2:35 pm

    hazlenut! oh how delicious! And beautiful pictures, too!

  13. April 27, 2008 3:29 pm

    What a good idea to add flavor to the cheesecake itself. Mine came out a little bland but your solution would have taken care of it!

  14. April 27, 2008 3:56 pm

    I also had pops that were rolled from the “center” wind up being oblong and spikey because it was a little creamier than anticipated. I think you did a lovely job on your pops! How pretty :) Great work.

  15. April 27, 2008 3:59 pm

    Love your cheesecake pops! Great idea with the hazelnuts and flavoring!

  16. April 27, 2008 4:15 pm

    Wow, what a great idea! I’m sure they were as tasty as they look! :)

  17. April 27, 2008 4:55 pm

    I love the idea of the flavored cheesecake and the decorations to go along. They look just lovely Amy – great job!

  18. April 27, 2008 5:40 pm

    Amy, your pops look adorable! Using hazelnuts was a good idea. I have to learn how to make those drizzle on chocolate. Looks so cute!

  19. April 27, 2008 6:23 pm

    Beautiful! I love your flavor combinations – hazelnut, mmmmm.

  20. April 27, 2008 6:59 pm

    Mmm….chamboard. That’s a delish idea!

  21. April 27, 2008 7:07 pm

    Lovely!

  22. April 27, 2008 7:15 pm

    fantastic cheesecake pops.they are truly delicious, arent’ they?

  23. April 27, 2008 7:16 pm

    Chambord sounds like a delicious addition (hazelnut too but I’m especially partial to raspberry). They both look so perky with their color-coordinated ribbons!

  24. April 27, 2008 7:30 pm

    Aw, the ribbons are such a pretty touch. Your pops look delicious!

  25. April 27, 2008 7:33 pm

    Looks great! The ribbons are a nice touch!

  26. April 27, 2008 7:33 pm

    Those are the cutest things ever! I love, I mean LOVE cheesecake and if I had these around, I wouldn’t stop eating them!

  27. culinography permalink
    April 27, 2008 7:43 pm

    So beautiful! I love the ribbons!

  28. April 27, 2008 7:46 pm

    Your pops are so adorable – and the hazelnut flavoring is such a great idea! Yay cheesecake pops!!!!

  29. April 27, 2008 7:52 pm

    ohh…those ribbons give a gorgeous touch, so feminie!

  30. April 27, 2008 8:15 pm

    Those ribbons are great–and Chambord, I wish I had thought of that.

  31. April 27, 2008 8:29 pm

    Those look awesome! Mine wouldn’t all fit in my 8×8 pan so I baked the rest of it in a loaf pan. It wasn’t exactly ideal, but it worked! They also took longer than the required baking time, but that was ok too.

  32. April 27, 2008 8:29 pm

    Turquoise and brown is my favorite color combo, but I digress. I also like the flavor combos you chose for your challenge. Great job!

  33. April 27, 2008 8:45 pm

    They are so sweet with the ribbons!

  34. Tanya permalink
    April 27, 2008 9:07 pm

    These sound so delicious! You did a great job!

  35. April 27, 2008 11:38 pm

    you did a really good job with those little things. well done!

  36. April 28, 2008 12:40 am

    Hahahaha! I beat mine on high briefly, too. OOPS! Those pink and choco pops are soooooo cute. And the little bows to match…Darling!

  37. April 28, 2008 1:04 am

    Absolutely beautiful! Great job on your 2nd challenge (it was my 2nd challenge too!) This is fun, isn’t it??

  38. April 28, 2008 3:48 am

    Ooo … I *love* the idea of adding chambord, that must’ve tasted great! I made a few vodka-glazed ones – pretty tasty :)

  39. April 28, 2008 8:55 am

    Very pretty! Great job here!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  40. April 28, 2008 9:57 am

    I love your step-by-step and your results are breathtaking!

  41. April 28, 2008 5:20 pm

    Very pretty pops, love the ribbons!

  42. April 28, 2008 8:25 pm

    They look cute with the big bows!

  43. April 30, 2008 7:57 pm

    Look at them all standing at attention! So cute!

  44. May 1, 2008 9:16 pm

    Great job!! They look wonderful..and that link to those cute cupcake pops..omg adorable hehe!!

  45. May 2, 2008 10:01 am

    Oh, Chambord–my favorite flavor! Your pops look divine and delish! Great job!

  46. May 5, 2008 9:28 pm

    You did a wonderful job on your pops! Simply yummy.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  47. Cheryl permalink
    May 6, 2008 8:13 am

    Absolutely adorable! mmm Can’t wait to give them a try . . . thinking a baby shower w/ blue and pink ribbons.
    Am wondering how you would display them on a table. . . since they are on a stick???? styrofoam . . not very pretty. Any ideas, ladies?

  48. February 25, 2010 1:17 am

    just going through the blog…i just discovered it and love it! i just signed up for CSA boxes today, inspired by your beautiful photos!

    a quick note about this recipe: the reason your batter didnt fit is a math issue:

    the area of the bottom of the pan is determined by it’s radius — half the diameter. the area in the bottom of the 10′ pan is: 78.5 square inches, the area of the bottom of 2 5′ pans is: 19.625 square inches x2 = just under 40. unless the 5 inch pans were twice the height of the 10 inch pan, you should end up with only half the batter being able to fit into your smaller pans

  49. Silvana permalink
    April 19, 2010 7:54 pm

    what a great idea! I love them

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