Monday, April 28, 2008

Eat a cheesecake pop, will you?


When I first read about cheesecake pops being the DB challenge for April, it took me a while to figure out what these crazy things were. I had to read and re-read the recipe before understanding how these pops got done. They're made of cheesecake, but there's more to them. They look like lollipops, but that isn't what they are. They need to be frozen, but they are not icecream. They're a crazy olio of dessert techniques leading up to these really fun looking finger foods! Crazy, eh? There's a DB challenge for you :)

This month's challenge was organized by Elle (Feeding My Enthusiasm) and Deborah (Taste and Tell)- they picked these funky cheesecake pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor. Seriously, this is the perfect title for a book that has a recipe for cheesecake pops! They're gooey all right, was quite a bit messy assembling them, sticky - a bit ... chewy - somewhat :) I've never baked anything from this book before, now I'm totally intrigued about what other quirky recipes it contains!

These cheesecake pops make for the perfect party food. And given that tomorrow is Vodka's b'day, I decided to tailor these for him. A few pops got the prescribed chocolate dunk, but a few others were set aside for Vodka - they got a yummy crust of sliced almonds in a vodka-honey sauce. That's the tradition - for the 9th year running - the pooch gets a Vodka-based dessert on his birthday :)

This was actually a really simple and straightforward recipe - a basic cheesecake baked using a water bath. There is plenty of flexibility in the dipping flavours and colours which was fun! I ended up going for the traditional cheesecake balls instead of any fancy geometric shapes, but the fun started with the dipping and decorations. The first few got dunked in semisweet chocolate and topped with sprinkles - very festive! And then Vodka's preferences took over - which made for a big hit!

****


Cheesecake Pops
(based on Jill O'Connor's recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey)

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 va
nilla 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 vege
table shortening
(Note: White chocol
ate 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.

****

Allowed Variations

Yes you can make some changes to this cheesecake as long as you promise to use the basic cheesecake recipe (although you can add a flavor to it if you like) and do keep it white (sorry, no chocolate or coffee or mocha), and keep the pops to the 2 ounce size.

The dipping flavors and colors are completely up to you.

If you want to use decorations, go for it. Same with drizzles and ribbons on the sticks. Or leave them plain after dipping them. You can even dip them in graham cracker crumbs and then the chocolate – to get more of the cheesecake feel to them.

You can cut the cheesecake into geometric shapes instead of making balls…triangles or squares or diamonds…just keep them about 2 ounces each. We can't wait to see what combinations our Daring Baker come up with…just make sure to use the basic cheesecake recipe, to make the pops 2 ounces or close to that in size, and to dip each pop in chocolate or confectionary coating and have it on a lollipop stick.


Opinion?

This isn't my typical kind of dessert, I'm not even a big cheesecake fan, but these things turned out pretty good! I was afraid the cheesecake was going to be super dense, but it was actually pretty light - probably courtesy of a couple of changes I made to the recipe - I used neufchatel cheese instead of regular cream cheese, I skipped the egg yolk and heavy cream in favour of a couple of tablespoons of silken tofu - these made for a much lighter cheesecake! Dipping the pops in chocolate was a cinch, rolling them in sprinkles and nuts was ... a piece of cake! :)


The best part of it all was that Vodka absolutely loved his treats and then sat around licking his chops for a while after! :)



Thanks, Elle & Deborah for this really really fun challenge. I had a blast and Vodka is thrilled to bits - nothing like making a pooch happy on his birthday!

And now it is time for me to stay up all night checking out all the other awesome DB posts!

40 comments:

HoneyB said...

Great job and those pops look absolutely (and sound!) lovely! Vodka looks like he had his fill :)

chriesi said...

Nice pops!

sunita said...

Kay,vodka really looks so satisfied...happy b'day to him :-)...and yes, those are lovely pops :-)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

They look fabulous and very neat! Great job! I love your cute Labrador...

Cheers,

Rosa

Rachel said...

Haha! Vodka looks perfectly satisfied with his pops! love the coloured sprinkles!

noobcook said...

wow the pops look stunning! Must be really delicious. Your dog, Vodka, is very adorable too!

Thanks for visiting my blog, you have a nice blog & I'll be back for more! :)

RecipeGirl said...

Nice job on your pops!

(and a very cute pup :) )

Susan said...

Beautiful! Thanks for the info on the modifications to lighten the cake up a bit (although I love the richness, you can just feel it going directly to the arteries)-- I'll keep in mind for next time.

Steph said...

Great variation on the pops! Your pictures are awesome and Vodka is adorable!

Deborah said...

Your pops look great! And lucky Vodka - I'm sure my pup would have been over the top for one of those!

ms said...

very pretty cheesecake bouquet!

Sig said...

Happy Birthday to Vodka... that is one lucky pooch... :)

bee said...

vodka is so gorgeous. your smileys don't show on safari. all i can see are question marks in blue boxes.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

These are positively delightful! The hardest part is limiting yourself to just one. Or two. Ok, three's the limit.

Mansi Desai said...

wow, I wish I was Vodka:) those pops look amazing K, and yes, I'd surely have any leftovers:)

kimberleyblue said...

Vodka-honey glaze! Oh my!

That sounds fantastic - great job. (and lucky dog!)

Divya Vikram said...

Drooling over ur cheesecake pops..

dobetter said...

Oh wow, yours are so pretty! I love the sliced almonds. Gorgeous photos! A very special treat for vodka...well done!

farida said...

Cute looking pops! Lovely colors. you did a great job! And looks like Vodka couldn't be happier:)) I laughed out so hard when I read the name Vodka:))) Does he drink a lot?:)))))) You have a cute blog here and I just subscribed to you to be updated on your recipes and Vodka, too:)))

Leah said...

Oooh, those are just adorable -- some of the cuter ones I've seen today!

The Lab is cute too -- I'm a fan, myself! We have a two year old black lab named Crazy - uh, I mean DAISY! She's a little mental. She'd pass on the cheesecake pops and go straight for the closest bike helmet or Ugg slipper!

Lina said...

Yea, I basically stayed up all night looking at everyones amazing cheesecake pops too! Yours look great~. The nut toppings looks so crunchy and yummy... I just joined DB and ill be starting next month. Im sooo excited!!!

Rosie said...

Lovely chessecake pops and what a lovely doggie too :)

shriya said...

Thats one delicious pops and am craving her for it. It soo yummy. Love the pics it just makes me to drool over here for sometime. happy B'day to vodka looks so cute.

culinography said...

Awww! Love your pup! And your pops look lovely!

Kevin said...

Nice looking pops! I have never had neufchatel cheese. I will have to look for some.

Katy said...

your dog is named Vodka? That's hilarious!!! your chesecake pops look lovely!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Your pops look great! They're so pretty! I like Vodka's pops too;) Well done!

Jen Yu said...

Your pops are really lovely. I like the different toppings. But what I love most is your pup's picture - sooooo sweet :)

Seattle Tall Poppy said...

Holy cow! These look amazing. Sweet creamy deliciousness on a stick. What's not to like? :)

L Vanel said...

The ones with the Almonds must have been excellent. Great job!

Namratha said...

Wow, they look pretty Kay!!

Brilynn said...

Those look great! Nice variations.

Kelly-Jane said...

Great post, and your pops look lovely! I like your paws ribbon too - very cute, as is your adorable dog!

Dolores said...

Vodka's party pops look perfect! Great interpretation of this month's challenge!

cookworm said...

Really neat idea for the vodka-honey sauce. Your dog is really cute. :) Great job on the challenge!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

They look lush, always love almonds and chocolate. Cute pup who now has had cheesecake pops!!

remya said...

nice pops... gud job...looks fabuluous!!!!

Texana said...

Awww, lucky dog. Vodka's got a very creative mommy!

Aparna said...

Couldn't do this challenge, but you seem to have figured it out alright. The pops look pretty.
Infact, the second picture reminds of kulfi. Never seen kulfi on a stick though. :)

Sheltie Girl said...

Simply beautiful job!

Natalie @ gluten a go go