It's Daring Baker Challenge time again! This month it was Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor. Now I happen to love cheesecake, but the Brain and a significant portion of his family are lactose intolerant so I knew that I needed to find a place to give these babies away or I would really become Jaba the Butt. As it so happens, last Wednesday I was cleared by the physical therapist to be able to drive up to Michigan to go to the opera. My best friend T. and I have season tickets and La Rondine by Puccini was playing and it hasn't been performed in 37 years. It was I think my favorite opera so far and the people at the Michigan Opera Theater were really great about moving my balcony seat to a box seat and letting us have a primo parking space. They were really terrific about the challenges I faced on crutches.
Conveniently my friend T's son, my godson, is turning 2 on Tuesday (yes, this is an old photo) and he had a big birthday party yesterday. So I merely transported these babies up to her (and about 10 to my family) and minimized the risk of me eating the entire batch of cheesecake pops by myself. And trust me it was a real danger. They were delicious! And my track record for sampling as I was making them was pretty sad.
The batter went together super easy. Although I sort of shuddered at the 5 8oz packages of cream cheese, I figured that there's no butter in it and if you only eat one pop it wouldn't be so bad for you. That's one pop. Not 4 pops that you run out of chocolate coating for. I licked the beater so I knew the cheesecake was going to be good, the batter is good. And for the first time I actually put the cheesecake in the water bath. My cheesecake baked in about 55 minutes and was nice and solid.
The recipe says to scoop the cheesecake into 2oz balls. So I got out my little scooper. I'm sure it has a fancy name, its a little ice cream scoop that I use for portioning out cookie dough or frosting. Anyhow, I was scooping away and eating the scraps of cheesecake, which turned out about as yummy as I imagined, when I decided to stick one of the little buggers on a scale. It was 3/8 oz. Crap. They looked good though. Just a nice bite. But I am a direction follower so I got out the big ice cream scooper that I use for portioning out cupcakes. And I scooped one and weighed it. It was 1 1/4 oz and they looked pretty big. I started thinking that 2 oz was about the size of a softball and the cheesecake was far to rich for that.
So once I had all my little 3/8 oz balls rolled and scooped out and my tummy was seriously hurting from eating too much cheesecake ("What did you have for dinner?" "cheesecake"). And I somehow managed to rearrange my freezer to be able to have all these cute little balls on sticks fit, I froze them. I should mention here that lollipop sticks can be found at Walmart. I just happened to conveniently have some bright orange candy melts in my pantry. Don't laugh, my sister Super G discovered she had a can of Jamaican sardines in her cupboard this week. It happens. So I melted those up and coated my little cheesecake lollipops. And it was a kitchen of orange. I have an orange Kitchenaid and orange plastic mixing bowls and my favorite spatula is orange. And somehow these candy melts were the exact color of orange. Which thrilled me. I am easily thrilled. Even when my stomach is hurting from eating far too much cheesecake.
I did have a little trouble getting them to stay on the stick when they were thawed out so I did have to keep sticking them in the freezer. My sister M when she tried hers at home fell of the stick too. I think they'd be almost as fun just without the stick. As like tiny little bon bons. This was definitely a challenge for me. I'm not sure if it was just complicated for me to scoop them out and roll them into a ball and then dip them in chocolate or if I was just at the point in the day where standing becomes uncomfortable and I'm pretty much done. I don't think I'd make this again for a weekend dessert or a casual birthday party, but probably if I was going to a bridal shower or baby shower I would. They're a lot of work, but they're really impressive.
Thanks to the wonderful Deborah at Taste and Tell and Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms for picking a recipe that I probably wouldn't have picked myself. It was a good challenge. Also make sure to check out all the other talented Daring Bakers. And if you'd like the recipe, you can either buy the book, or check out Deborah's blog. And I'm headed back to the couch.