Sunday, April 27, 2008

My First "Daring Bakers" Challenge!

I finally completed my first Daring Bakers challenge! (Which was on my honeymoon!!) =) For those of you who aren't familiar with the Daring Bakers, we are a group of food bloggers from around the world who make the same recipe each month and post our results on the same day at the end of the month, and it’s always so much fun to see all the different variations that arise when a large number of people do the same baking task!. After checking out several Daring Bakers sites I finally got the courage to join the group and attempt to bake with the best! =)

Our April challenge was a jazzed up cheesecake.It is little bites of cheesecake, held on a stick and dipped in sprinkles. The recipe appeared to be more complex than it actually was. it was actually quite simple. Here is a little insight to my process....

Cheesecake Pops, Adapted from "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey" by Jill O’Connor.

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.


Christine said...

Your pops look great! This was my first challenge, what a fun way to start!

Lunch Buckets said...

I like the disc shapes, very nice! Welcome to the DBs :)

Jerry said...

Congrats on completing your first challenge! Your pops look great!

Milli said...

Congrats on your first DB challenge!
I think you did a wonderful job!!
And welcome to Daring Bakers!

Deborah said...

I love your circles - they are so different from so many others! Great job on this challenge and welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Barbara said...

Great job on your first challenge. Welcome to Daring Bakers.

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your pops!

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Jenny said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I love the consistency of your pops, the shape is great.

Texana said...

Love your rounds! Bet they're easier to bite into than the balls I made. Great job!

Gretchen Noelle said...

I *love* the form you used for these! They are wonderful lollipops! Great job with them and welcome to the Daring Bakers!

May said...

Thanks alot you guyz! I'm so excited with my results, can't wait for the next challenge!! (^_^)

STRaWBeRRy said...

loved it loved it loved ... lucky me i tried the real thing ... congrats on ur first DB challenge, and hope you join many more ( i would love to taste them ;) )

uaefeme said...

congrat on ur first db challange that's looks yummy !! mashallah 3alaich =) all the best

Jacque said...

Your little circles came out so clean and nice. I'm jealous! Great job, they look terrific!