Yay yay yay, I finally get to post my Daring Bakers April Challenge! Drop the cupcake confetti! Strike up the octogenarian marching band! Introducing:
Vegan Cheesecake Pops
Original Recipe 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.
First of all, I halved everything because as many wonderful friends that I have who humor my baking – I was afraid of having a freezer full of cheesecake pops haunting me day and night; tempting me with their charm as cheesecake pops are apt to do. Secondly, I replaced the (2.5) eggs with (3/4 C) firm silken tofu. For the heavy cream, I used Silk soy creamer combined with 3 T cornstarch – just in cake anything decided to get soggy. I shaped the bites into squares at first – no easy feat. Since I used a 9 inch cake pane, I decided to just slice the chilled cheesecake into squares after trying to shape the first four. I used semi-sweet vegan chocolate to dip and decided to forgo the use of shortening. Finally, I made a little mixture of confectioners sugar and water for a white decorative drizzle.
WOW. These were SO good. And precious. And POPULAR! In a coincidental turn of fate, my friend Dawn celebrated her birthday a few weekends ago and asked me to make – what else – cake lollipops for her Murder Mystery dinner. I couldn’t believe it when she asked me to turn on Martha Stewart because she was making lollipops out of cake. I was like, Martha Who? So already on top of it.
I really didn’t have much of a hard time with these at all. I was scared, since it was my first time making cheesecake AND my first Daring Bakers challenge. It probably went so well because I was extremely cautious and followed all the instructions carefully. Which is what I normally don’t do. Ever. Because I believe in anarchy and chaos and general rule breaking.
I walked these kids to Dawn’s party in an insulated case because I didn’t know how they’d hold up to the heat as I walked up the street (yay for having wonderful neighbors!). The party-goers, all dressed up as literary characters, gave these things a loving reception. Sure, people were getting murdered left and right, but that didn’t stop anyone from enjoying lollipops. Because that’s what life is really all about: Overcoming the bad stuff and eating good stuff.