Sunday, April 27, 2008

Procastination As Usual

Now, if I was on the ball these last two weeks, this blog would already be written. The cakes rolled and pictures post-able.

Well... as usual I'm showing up to the party late. Why the need for punctuality you ask? Well, today I post my first (mostly completed) Daring Bakers challenge. Chocolate covered Cheesecake pops.

Here's how the recipe reads :

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.

Now here's how I messed it up...
  • Completely forgot to add the cream.
  • Dont have a big enough cake pan, used a springform putting the water bath below.
  • I dropped the temperature down to 250 after the first 20 minutes and baked it for about two hours til 160 degrees.
  • There are no lollipop sticks in this town. No way.
I dont know how the lack of cream is affecting it. The springform worked ok. The baking temp tampering made the cake wonderfully smooth and creamy (which I demand in cheesecake) so I'll try it again next time I bake one, but alas, it did not set up quite firm enough for hand rolling. So it got frozen.

Now for my greatest pride with this recipe, having failed to find lollipop sticks and settling for short and sharp bamboo skewers, I dreamt a dream. A baking dream, where in I was finishing my cheesecake pops, and was looking for my sticks. My chocolate covered biscuit Pokey sticks. Thats right. Eatable chocolate covered lollipop sticks. Score one for the subconscious... but as it turned out the size of the cheesecake balls was a tad bit large for them. Most of them broke down the the chocolatey part, making it a bit of a mess to eat.

And note to everyone working with dipping or drizzling chocolate, don't use chocolate chips! They don't drizzle, they glob and plop, hence the giant drizzles on my two tones.

So for being a bit soupy in the middle, and thickly covered with chocolate chip chocolate... they were pretty good. Definitely not something I would do on my own, but heck, Daring Bakers are pretty inspiring.


Deborah said...

Your pops look great! Wonderful job on your first challenge!

Mehgan said...

Fabulous job, darling! Your pops look fantastic!

Whit said...

Wow! Those look beautiful! You're food pictures are so pretty. Have you gotten on flickr yet?

Gretchen Noelle said...

I love the idea of the edible sticks - genius! Wonderful job! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!!

strawberriesinparis said...

love the pink sugar crystals!!!

Chantal said...

Great job!!! Welcome to Daring Bakers! Love your blog name Cardamom and Lavender, hmmm could be a very interesting flavour combo

Jj said...

Edible sticks; what a great idea!

amadan2 said...

I ate one of them. It was quite an adventure. Also very tasty. Yes.