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May 11, 2008

Cheesecake Pops

So last month My friend at Duff ABC's and I were so busy that neither of us had time for a Chocolate Therapy challenge. We talked about it a lot, but not only didn't have a lot of time, but couldn't decide on what we wanted to make next! Then we saw the monthly Daring Baker's round up and knew we had a winner! It was perfect... So we got started. She finished hers the first week of the month, but I waited until this week, perfect for Mothers day.
Cheesecake Pops
makes 30-60 depending on size
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature (2 1/2 lbs)
2 C sugar
¼ C flour
¼ tsp salt
5 lrg eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ C heavy cream
lollipop sticks or anything else you want (I used bamboo skewers)
1 pound chocolate or candy coating chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Assorted decorations (such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, etc..)
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth on low. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the vanilla and cream. Scrape the sides. Then add the whole eggs and the egg yolks one at a time, just incorporating and scraping the sides after each addition.
Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a spring form 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, 45 to 60 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.
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

Okay a few notes on the recipe. For cheesecakes: I used to hear that over mixing the batter is what caused cheesecakes to crack. But then I heard that it isn't the batter that you don't want to over beat but the eggs. So now I make sure everything else is mixed and smooth and always add the eggs last, and just stir them in without a mixer. It has something to do with the bubbles that develop if you over beat the egg whites. I learned the trick from my sister who learned it from a Martha Stewart recipe or show or something. Anyway, so I took the original recipe and changed it to fit this rule. The cheesecake was nice, not amazing and will definitely make these again using my favorite cheesecake recipe instead of this one. For coating I used Ghiradellis semi sweet chocolate chips, and for the dipping I used: crushed Graham crackers, chopped almonds, chopped pistachios, coconut, colored jimmies (for the kids), melted Reese's peanut butter chips and then a mixture of melted peanut butter chips then a dip in the chocolate. Our favorites were the peanut butter chocolate, the peanut butter, and the chocolate Graham crackers. The rest were fine, but those three were really good. Also, I have more freezer space than fridge space so I kept mine in the freezer, so you can see the condensation on them... But they were still great! And I didn't have to worry about eating them all in a week (although they were gone in that time anyway)