Sunday, April 27, 2008

Popping Goodness!

Like clockwork, daring bakers know when it is the end of the month. A stirring within bubbles into excitement and voila---a few pounds heavier and a blog later, we come together in cybercelebration.

I never really liked lollipops. Hard sugar candies, even on a stick just did not appeal to me. But when I saw this month’s challenge, I thought, now who would not like cheesecake lollies?

This cheesecake was particularly easy to bake. I halved the recipe and baked it in a square 8” pan. It took a little over 40 minutes to bake through. After 24 hours, I used a square and round cutter to make my pops. I wanted bigger circular pops so I cut them in half just so they wouldn’t be too heavy.

When they were ready to be enrobed in chocolate, I melted some white chocolate chips. They didn’t have the right consistency though so after coating one, I gave up. For the dark chocolate, I decided to use couverture to ensure the quality. Initially it melted beautifully then dried up so I guess I over heated the chocolate. I added more dark chocolate and it was much better.

I wasn’t sure how to decorate my pops and I didn’t have much time to do so either as it was midnight and I was going to the beach very early the next morning. I tried using cake glitter but that melted right away. I used sprinkles for a festive feel but I still wanted to do something a little different. I decided to do monogrammed pops! We were two couples going to the beach and I wanted to bring some for dessert. So using gold dust, I painted a P, two Js and an O. It was so cute---crude but cute! With all the computer work i do, i no longer have a steady painting hand. Unfortunately, the chocolate was sweating and I had to work fast. I tried a few more patterns, stripes, card suits and a flower. I have to practice  a bit more before I can post a picture I'm proud of!

The next day, everyone enjoyed the pops, amazed to find cheesecake inside. Two of the monograms got damaged during the transport but still, they made waves in the beach!

Thanks to Elle of Feeding my Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell for a great theme for april!

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, 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

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.

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor


Marye said...

I love the monogramming

Susan said...

The gold dust monogramming was inspired! Beautiful job.

landa said...

Oh how beautiful!

BC said...

I used chocolate couverture too and I was not disappointed.

C.L. said...

Well FANCY! Love the luster dust. I wish I had thought of that! Brilliant!


Barbara Bakes said...

I love all you different ideas, especially the monogramming!

Deborah said...

I love the monograms! What a great idea! They look wonderful.

L Vanel said...

The gold stripes and monogram really make these special! Excellent job!

Lisa said...

Fantastic! I love the stripes! Yes, I have found that chocolate chips don't work well at all for dipping - they just want to hold their shape too much. Anyway, your pops are very original and well done!

Christina said...

Great idea using gold dust! I especially like the stripes.

I was thinking of using gold leaf flakes, but I decided not to because I didn't think I could make it look good.

Yeah, again about the white chocolate chips, chips in general are made to retain their shape so it's harder to melt than baking bars.

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Tartelette said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I love the gold stripes and the monograms!

Julia said...

Wow! Monograming your pops was a brilliant idea! Can you imagine how nuts a bride would go for monogramed pops like yours? I think you have a winner on your hands!

You did a fantastic job!

Chantal said...

a few pounds heavier indeed, lol.
Your pops are great!

pixie said...

Thanks marye, susan, landa, bc, cl, barbara, deborah, I Vanel,lisa, christina, tartlette, Julia and Chantal! It was really fun to do this. Wasn't it a fantastic challenge? =)

Lunch Buckets said...

Oh nicely done! Love the square striped one - so elegant :)

Candace said...

Very nice! The monogram is fabulous!

Jen said...

I love the monogram idea!

Melanie said...

Spectacular idea to monogram! Very elegant! (And I love the presentation of the pops in your pictures.)

SweetDesigns said...

wow... Your pops look amazing! Elegant and wonderful..great job =)

Jaime said...

wow, the first one is gorgeous and so professional looking!

Mobula said...

I love your pops!!! so delicious an great idea...the monogram!!!


How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Ooh so fancy! :P

Lis said...

I love the shapes of your pops.. and the monogram is too cute!

You did such a great job with these!!


Anonymous said...

Those pops look delicious. I was just wondering, have you ever used carob in place of chocolate.
I find that the trick is to find the right carob. Once that is done, the switch becomes really easy.
For me, my favorite place to buy carob comes from Holy Food Imports