My First Daring Baker’s Challenge

I’ve joined Daring Bakers! At the end of each month I watch my Google Reader with much anticipation waiting to see what that month’s challenge was and the beautiful photos that accompany the delicious recipes. Each month I tell myself, “well I could have baked that”.

Baking isn’t my strong point, I don’t have a ton of baking experience. To me baking does not provide the freedom that cooking does. Baking is a science, and measurements need to be accurate. The precision involved intrigues me. I decided to spread my wings and give it a try. I contacted the creators of Daring Bakers and asked to be involved with the challenges. I got my request in just the nick of time, and before I know it I was emailed with all the details, including the theme of April’s challenge.

April’s theme is Cheesecake Pops. Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell hosted this month’s event. This recipe is an adaptation of one from Jill O’Connor’s book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.”

I have made only one cheesecake before, it was a recipe from Cooking Pleasures magazine. It turned out wonderfully, so I was really excited to tryout these Cheesecake Pops. I baked my pops at the beginning of the month and experienced some of the same problems as other bakers. The recipe says the cake will bake up in 35-40 minutes, I like most of the bakers had to increase the baking time to 60 minutes. Just keep your eye on it! These pops were so creamy and delicious! I divided my batter into two separate pans, one I flavored with orange extract. I look forward to using this recipe again, and experimenting to make it lower in calories.

I really enjoyed this month’s theme. My family loved these pops, they are a fun treat for Sasha to enjoy. If you want to see more photos of the pops, check out the Daring Baker’s blogroll. I look forward to next month’s theme, check back at the end of May to see what else I’ve dared to bake.

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 confectionery chocolate pieces) as needed.

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

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9 Responses

  1. You did great! Those are lovely pops – so festive!

  2. Great job on your first challenge!!

  3. Great job on your first challenge! Looks like someone really liked your handiwork.

  4. First you did a great job on your DB challenge. They look ooey and gooey and delicous!!!
    Second I wanted to tell you that I am so happy you are a stay at home mom. I raised 3 daughters and feel fortunate that I was a stay at home mom. I now have two grandsons and wish they all were here to taste my pops. Your daughter is precious!!! God Bless.

  5. Fabulous job on your pops! Obviously they tasted wonderful if your daughter’s face is anything to go by. She’s precious.

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  6. Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I look forward to reading your posts in the future. The pops look delicious.

  7. Great looking pops, and a mighty cute taste-tester! Congrats on your first DB challenge!

  8. Great job with your cheesecake pops! Lovely eater as well! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!!

  9. Those look DIVINE! Great job!

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