This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was a success, posting it was not! The deadline to post was Sunday, today is Thursday…. I even had done the challenge a few weeks before, brought it into work for a birthday surprise but failed to take a picture of it before – oops… still new to this whole “take the picture of your food” thing.

Anyhow, Elle and Deborah from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Taste and Tell, respectively, hosted. They chose little cheesecake pops. The creativity of the other Daring Bakers was inspiring. I loved the people who had geometric shapes, perfectly cut and clean…then were those who had been meticulous with the details like the Daring Baker at Delicious Days.

Anyhow, mine were simple. The cheesecake recipe. Melted chocolate chips some vegetable shortening (mmm, yes I know, tasty tasty) and rolled in graham cracker crumbs. I would make these again for sure. They are cute, festive and most importantly yummy. The recipe below is the FULL recipe, I halved it, and I would halve it again, as it made nearly 25 pops (which was plenty).



Ingredients:
Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5X 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

Directions:

  1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.
  10. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.


This recipe is adapted from Jill O’Connor’s book
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth
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