Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lemony Cheesecake Pops

This is my first, and unfortunately, only post for the Daring Baker's challenge. I over-estimated the amount of free time I would have to contribute and therefore withdrew from their blogroll. It's a fantastic idea though and I hope to rejoin in the future.

That said, lemony cheesecake pops! I was a bit dubious at the prospect of a cheesecake-on-a-stick, but the end result turned out very nice. A couple of notes:

1) These are better frozen than refrigerated. After forming the balls and inserting the sticks, you'll find them too soft to dip if you don't freeze them first. Also, they taste much better frozen as as they warm up the textures become too similar and you lose the transition from chocolate to cheesecake. My ultimate preference was to roll them in something crunchy (in this case, candied lemon peel, although I tested roasted hazelnuts as well) then freeze them for a few hours before eating.

2) I had big problems scooping these out. I didn't want to overcook the cheesecake so I actually baked it ~10 minutes less than the recipe calls for. It tasted great, but each scoop would fall apart as I formed it. I ended up rolling them in my hands which led to messy fingers but nicely rounded cheesecakes.

Overall they tasted like a heavier version of bonbons -- one was more than enough. I probably won't make these again -- there wasn't enough texture variation to allow you to truly appreciate the cheesecake versus the chocolate. They are very decadent-looking though, and no-one on the receiving end would think of complaining. ;)

To make these lemony, I added 2-3 tbsps of fresh lemon juice and the zest of one lemon to the batter before baking. Recipe for the candied lemon zest can be found here.

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, confectionery 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.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer set at low speed, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at lwo speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Lightly grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan). Pour the cheesecake batter into the cake pan and place in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with 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 cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchemtn paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the 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. 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 confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.


Elle said...

Your pops look wonderful! Glad you did the challenge and very sorry you won't be doing more Daring Baker challenges...maybe later.

chriesi said...

Beautiful pops!

Kim said...

Love the lemony cheesecake pops, they are beautiful. This is my first month sorry you aren't staying.

Katie B. said...

Aw, it's too bad you won't be staying with us - your lemon pops look yummy! (And I bet the lemon helped offset the heaviness of the cheesecake!) Great job!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great looking pops! With that candied rind, they must taste wonderful... Well done!



kimberleyblue said...

I was thinking of making lemon cheesecake for these as well, but changed my mind at the last minute.

Sounds delicious, and I love the candied peel.

Tarah said...

Those look wonderful!

marias23 said...

Beautiful creation :) I hope you will rejoin the DBs in the future!

Amy J. said...

Awesome!! They are so beautiful. So sorry you won't be able to keep doing Daring Bakers - maybe another time, though!

KayKat said...

Candied lemons? That's a great idea! Too bad you're pressed for time, I hope you can come back soon!

Congratulations on your first challenge!

Anonymous said...

So, so lovely!

Lunch Buckets said...

Welcome to the...oh, you have to go so soon? Your pops are lovely - bet they were weevalicious! Join us again soon!

Barbara said...

Lemony cheesecake, yum! Lemony cheesecake pops? Double yum!

Merav said...

Mmm...these look scrumptious! Love the candied peel!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Sorry you won't be able to continue with the challenges. Sounds like you did a great job with this one! Lemon & cheesecake sounds delicious!!