Sunday, April 27, 2008
Cheesecake the daring way....
This months challenge appeared to be really easy. Cheesecake, which I've made before, just with a new twist. Rolled into balls, dipped in chocolate and served like a lollipop. I hate to say it, but I'm really not sure that I can call this a "successful" challenge. This is really the first challenge that I haven't felt very happy with. There were several places where it just seemed to go wrong for me.
First, I under baked my cheesecake. The recipe says to bake for 35-45 minutes. After 60 minutes I finally felt like it was set enough. The center was still a little jiggly, but it usually is with cheesecakes. So I let it cool and then stuck it the fridge to firm up over night. At first touch it seemed firm. But I knew with the very first scoop that something was not right. When I went to try and roll it into a ball it turned to goop in my hand. Only the very outer edges were firm. All I can say is thank goodness for my pampered chef scoop! I used that to form some very sloppy balls.
I had a few topping ideas in my head. I knew I wanted to dip the cheesecake in semi sweet chocolate since I don't really care for milk chocolate. I also planned on rolling them in chocolate sprinkles (or jimmies), drizzling with peanut butter, and I had a grand idea of flavoring the chocolate with raspberry extract. I think the problem was that my cheesecake was very oddly shaped. So it was hard to dip and then roll. Then on the last half of the batch I tried my extract. Big mistake. For some reason my extract turned my perfectly melted smooth chocolate into a stiff, sticky mess. Certainly not suitable for dipping and rolling. So I pitched the chocolate and got lazy on the second half and just drizzled.
The good news is that the cheesecake tasted good, and I managed to take some decent pictures despite their sad sad look. I think I would like to try this recipe again and make sure that my cheesecake is all the way set next time.
There is other good news too! The Daring Baker's have launched a new site that has public forums where non-members can post their baking trials and triumphs! Stop by and check it out. Also check out the blog roll to see what the other DBer's have been up to! Thanks to Elle & Deborah for a very challenging challenge! ;)
Adapted 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 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.