Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fun Food: Cheesecake Pops

Daring Bakers Challenge April 2008

Cheesecake Pops (03) by MeetaK

It's been a bit quiet around here, I know! Thanks to everyone who have mailed me, concerned if all is well or not. Yes, all is well here. I've just been enjoying the great weather we're having here. Spending my afternoons with Soeren, going for bike rides or gardening. The evenings were spent with neighbors and friends outside on the terrace, sipping wine and counting stars. I just took a spontaneous break from blogging.

However, today I had to come on over and celebrate my 1st birthday with everyone!

Yeah - one whole year of being a Daring Baker! I joined this amazing group last April, when the group was still small and I was able to comment on everyone's posts. My first challenge was a looker too - the amazing Chocolate Crepe Cake. After that there was no looking back. The group's popularity grew and so did the number of members. I have to be honest, I have lost count but I am guessing we are breaking the 1000 mark! I really want to thank Ivonne, who lovingly persuaded me to join the group, and Lisa whose energy motivates me to extreme extents.  These two lovely girls are the founders of the Daring Bakers group. A huge thank you also goes out to many of the members who spend so much time helping those of us who have 1001 questions each month regarding the challenges. I am thinking about people like Helene and Pea, just to name two of the many. Without your help I am sure many of us would fail miserably.

When I read this month's challenge I really had to smile. It could not have been more fitting to celebrate my 1st Daring Bakers birthday. Cheesecake Pops chosen by our gorgeous hostesses this month, Deborah of Taste and Tell and Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasm from a book that sounds like a real lot of fun: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O'Connor.

However, when I got all the ingredients together I was thinking "Whoa! That is a lot of cream cheese!" There is also no butter in the recipe and a closer look at the method showed that it was very different to the cheesecake I make. The recipe called for the cheesecake to be baked in a water bath which really intrigued me as I have never baked cheesecake in this fashion before. I was expecting a lovely light and fluffy cheesecake. Once out of the oven we were supposed to cool for a few hours and then scoop balls out of it. I left my cheesecake forms in the fridge overnight and was a little disappointed the next day when it was not very firm as it should have been. So, what to do? I formed the balls as best as I could and froze them. The rest was pretty straightforward. Melting chocolate and coating with nuts. I wanted to do something a bit more with the chocolate coating so I added an aromatic sprinkling of cinnamon to the melted milk chocolate. Pistachios and hazelnut brittle were used to coat these. I also made a second batch with white chocolate, which I then divided in half, adding a few drops of natural red food coloring and raspberry flavoring to one half. As I did not have lollipop sticks I used a few nice looking shashlik sticks, the ones coated with white chocolate were left without and served like pralines.

I think these would certainly make great party treats at kids birthday parties, although they are quite heavy. Making the balls small and bite-sized it the best way to go here. The fact that I have to keep them in the freezer is not so bad. Whenever we want a little treat I take them out about 30 minutes prior to eating.


Cheesecake Pops
(adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O'Connor)

Printable version of recipe here.

Cheesecake Pops (01) by MeetaK 

 

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

Cheesecake

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
1 vanilla bean, seeded
¼ cup heavy cream

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.

Cheesecake Pops (04) by MeetaK

Cheesecake Pops

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
1 pound chocolate, chopped or in chips
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.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake 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 to 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 paperlined 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.


Verdict

Cheesecake Pops (02) by MeetaK

They were good. But I think there can be a lot more done with this recipe. The kids loved it, which is not surprising. Although Tom and I found this a great and different type of dessert, I thought they were too sweet and bit heavy.

Would I make this again?
I like the idea behind this recipe. However, I think the next time I make this I might use my own cheesecake recipe. I expected this to be fluffy as it was baked in a water bath, but it was more on the soggier side. Maybe I should have cooked it longer, who knows. I do think I will make this again adding a bit more flavor to the cheesecake and playing around with it. A great idea for Soeren's birthday this summer.

What did I learn from this challenge?
Fun! That was the main part with this challenge. Making cheesecake in a water bath was quite interesting and although it did not work out 100% well I still like the basic idea.

Twelve wonderful challenges to boast about - boy do I feel good!

The previous challenges
April 2007: Chocolate Crepe Cake
May 2007: Gâteau Saint-Honoré
June 2007: Real Honest Jewish Purists Bagels
July 2007: Strawberry Mirror Cake
August 2007: Chocolate Caramel Tart
September 2007: Sticky Cinnamon Buns
October 2007: Bostini Cream Pie
November 2007: Tender Potato Focaccia and Bread Rolls
December 2007: Bûche de Noël/Yule Log
January 2008: Lemon Meringue Pie
February 2008: French Baguette
March 2008: The Perfect Party Cake

Thanks to Deborah and Elle for being such fantastic hostesses. Now I am off to check out a few of the other colorful and bright cheesecake pops. Care to join me? Check out the Daring Bakers' Blogroll for more.



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

61 comments :

  1. Beautiful as always, Meeta.
    marye
    bakingdelights.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your photos are just georgeous, Meeta! Wow! And I love the pink ones :)
    Happy anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad u r enjoying quality time with your family Meeta! the cheesecake pops look awesome! hope everything's well on your new workfront:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. We all need breaks from time to time. Yours look lovely. I eat mine staight from the freezer like ice cream.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful photos Meeta! I've had better cheesecakes as well but the idea is really fun, especially for a party. Enjoy the nice weather with your family!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Meeta, beautiful pops. Wow, you've been a Daring Baker for a year! And I'm just staring out - this is my first ever challenge. I'm looking forward to lots more.

    ReplyDelete
  7. these look really yummy!! I loved mine, mmmmmmmmmmmmm...maybe I need to make more!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ooooh its like little truffles!
    Very pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dang, I missed my birthday!
    So I guess I'll just give you a double Happy DB Birthday wish. It has been a wonderful time with this group!
    The only thing about this that wasn't to the letter for me was the time this took to bake - twice what the recipe called for.
    I'm going to do cheesecake on a stick from now on. Really love the pistachio - oh my how fun for St Patty's day! I have some leftovers I'm doing with peanut butter.
    I'm sure any cheesecake would work with this technique.
    Beautiful as always Meeta.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Perfect party food -- likelittle truffles on a stick!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yay for one year with the DBers! Congrats on the milestone AND on some gorgeous pops. You never fail to turn it into something amazing :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. congrats on one year as a DB! your pops came out beautiful, even if the taste wasn't all there. love the pistachio toppings!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wonderful job on these! Congrats on one year as a Daring Baker!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, fun idea...there is lots of room for playing with it on your own.

    ReplyDelete
  15. kudos for the 12 beautiful creations! Your cheesecake pops look great, as with the rest of your food.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Daring Baker anniversary Meeta! your photos are gorgeous as usual. Wonderful flavor combos, too. I think the 2 oz amount may be too big...smaller bites sound good. Glad you are having fun with family and friends, too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such a wonderful job, Meeta - but then again, yours always look great! Congrats on a year as a DB!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Meeta, as always, gorgeous photos! I love the variety you're showing. And speaking of next time, I know there are cheesecake recipes that are non-bake that I think these would be PERFECT for. They are fun to eat, and the decorations and flavor possibilities are endless. Congrats on your 1 year anniversary.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I know what you mean: I realized while writing my post that it was challenge 17 for me...could not believe it!! The pops turned out beautiful! It was a little sweet for us but the kids around loved it! Gorgeous shots!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Happy DB anniversary! Your pops look great, and I especially like the pink ones.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 12 challenges! Congrats! Your pops look good, well done, it was an interesting one wasn't it. Happy anniversary.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Very pretty! I love the presentation! Well done!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very pretty pops, Meeta.Yes, it was a fun challenge...the only thing was that it took much more time than mentioned :-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. They are gorgeous Meeta! Love the added crunch, wish I had thought of that being a cheese cake virgin.
    Enjoy yr days, never a better way of having a blog-acation!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think the cheesecake is meant to be fairly dense otherwise they would be hard to ball and handle. And I agree - definitely a good kids party kind of treat.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Meeta, your cheesecake pops look beautiful!! I was wondering why I hadn't heard from you : )
    I'm glad to hear that everything is well and that you were just enjoying the great weather - me too!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello Meeta, your pops are beautiful, I think like you this pops are too sweet, but I have a kid at home, my husband, and he loved these. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. wow a whole year of daring bakes. Your pops look lovely and would make perfect ptits fours after dinner

    ReplyDelete
  29. So thrilled to read that all is well; and happy 1-year anniversary of being a Daring Baker!! How fun!! :0)

    I LOVE your variation of the cheesecake lollipops!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Congrats on your 1-year DB birthday! Coincidentally, this is my first birthday too -- 1 month though, LOL.

    Beautiful pops - you did a great job!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Happy DB-versary!! Way to celebrate with your beautiful pops!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ahhh, Meeta, your pops look amazing! I love your choice in toppings.

    ReplyDelete
  33. pretty in pink!

    happy birthday meeta - you've made some amazing things over the year.

    ReplyDelete
  34. thanks so much everyone. it really has been a fun 12 months and i've learned so much in the process. look forward to another 12 months of challenges.

    ReplyDelete
  35. They are GREAT - I love your pops! As always you did a fantastic job!

    ReplyDelete
  36. How pretty! I love your pops! The pistachio ones are my favorite. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  37. serving the white chocolate ones like truffles is a great idea! and i love te sound of hazelnut praline/dark chocolate! i also am storing mine in the freezer...i made a small batch, but still way too much to eat!

    ReplyDelete
  38. It's your DB birthday!!! Happy DB birthday, Meeta. The group just wouldn't be the same without you!!!

    Your pops are so pretty ... like you!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Beautiful! I love the combo with the pistachios! yum!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Gorgeous, as usual, Meeta!

    Am intrigued--I may have missed it in the post--but what are the sticks you used?

    j

    ReplyDelete
  41. hi meeta,
    myself very new to this blog world, so first time visited ur blog...Voooooooow, ur every dish looks so tempting to eat, and the presentation and snaps are really tooooo gud..
    nowon'll be ur regular visitor...

    ReplyDelete
  42. Meeta..thats one stunning pops!..congrats on your anniversary!..Its been a great pleasure checking each and every creation from you!...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Your photos are fantastic. Your outer coatings are so creative - pistachio with hazelnut brittle! I need to use up my hazelnuts from a previous challenge. Lovely pops. Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love the topping combos you came up with, and congrats on your one-yea anniversary with the DBs. Your creations are always inspirational to me!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Happy DB Birthday! I like the idea of pistachios with the pops! They look lovely and I think we all had problems with the firmness.!!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Beautiful Meeta!
    I actually like the pops straight out of the freezer, no defrosting required...

    ReplyDelete
  47. Well done on a year as a DB! You've done a great job on these pretty pops :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Welcome back Meeta...you have been missed! Lovely pops & happy DB birthday to you. I love the pistachio & chocolate ones; my fave combination!:0)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Gorgeous as always! Love the contrast of the dark chocolate with the pistachios!

    ReplyDelete
  50. hi, your cheesecake lollipops look wonderful! and congrats on being a DB'er for 1 year already. Wishing you many more challenges to come!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Happy Daring Baker birthday, sweetie! :D

    Your pops are lovely.. and those photos just have me drooling all over again!

    We're so happy you're part of this group.. you know, you bring quite a bit of inspiration to the table as well!

    Hugs!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  52. You said you think more can be done with the recipe - any creative bursts of what you'll try next time?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Congrats on the one year! Time goes by so fast. I love the chocolate and pistachio combo, it was really tasty.

    ReplyDelete
  54. You Daring Bakers are not helping the rest of us stay on our diets- these cheesecake bites are one of the prettiest tidbits I have seen

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thanks everyone for your comments and feedback!

    Jasmine, I used normal shashlik sticks that I found at a store here.

    Jenny I was thinking of making this less cheesecake and slightly more on an ice-cream basis - using an ice-cream maker. Need to experiment if it would work!

    ReplyDelete
  56. yes it was really funny :)
    personnaly I learned that tempering chocolate wasn't that difficult, and neither dipping the pops
    Your photos are beautiful !

    ReplyDelete
  57. Lovely pops and lovely pics too! Been trying to post a comment for a while but been having problems. Dunno why. Great job as usual!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta