These were my contribution to the holiday potluck at my workplace and they were well-received. As one of my co-workers put it, anything on a stick is good. Indeed.
I flagged this recipe for cheesecake pops just about as soon as I cracked open the cookbook "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey," by Jill O'Connor. I've said this before, and I'll say it again, this book is just dreamy. It makes me want to want to roll around in flour and dark brown sugar until I finish every single recipe in the book.
Recipe adapted from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey"
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar¼ 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
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, confectionery coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 170C/325F
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on a low speed, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt until smooth. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (still on a low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
3. Lightly grease a 10-inch cake tin (not a springform pan). Pour the cheesecake batter into the cake pan and place in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with 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.
4. Remove the cheesecake from the waterbath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
5. When 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 pops, uncovered, until very hard - at least 1 to 2 hours.
6. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate coating. Place the chocolate wafers in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. If the chocolate is not completely melted, microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. (Or just melt some chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water.)
7. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop into the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completly. Hold the pop over the melted chocolate and shake off any excess. Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined tray to set. Repeat with the remaining pops, melting more chocolate if needed.
Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or until ready to serve.
My substitutions:The only way I strayed from the recipe is in the sprinkles I used for decor - I used festive red-and-green poinsettia sprinkles, bright red sanding sugar, sweetened flaked coconut, and white snowflake sprinkles.
Would I make this again?
These would make a lovely hostess gift and add a bright dash of colour to any sweet table. Already I'm planning the next batch, this time only with white chocolate and pastel coloured confetti sprinkles. While I read that some other food bloggers halved the recipe because they ended up making too many cheesecake pops, I did indeed end up with between 30-40 pops, so the recipe was accurate for me. However, I wish I had bought more chocolate. I bought about one-and-a-half pounds, which was more than the recipe called for, but I used every last drop and became increasingly nervous as it began to run out.
Four stars out of five. While these are delicious and pretty, they are also time-consuming. I started two nights before actually serving them. On the first night I made the cheesecake then put it in the refrigerator. On the second night, I scooped out the cheesecake balls, froze them for a couple of hours and then decorated them. Unless you're a veritable Betty Crocker who stays at home, most of us can't finish it in one go.