Sunday, 27 April 2008
Chocolate covered Snowballs
It's Daring Baker Challenge time again and unlike the last few months i have been able to join in for which i am very grateful. Partly I am physically more able even with a baby to work round and partly this months recipe was less intensive than most as far as making time and effort is concerned. That is not to say that it hasn't challenged me, the very concept of the recipe had me boggled to start with and i couldn't decide if it was a fantastic idea or bonkers. In the end i think it's both!
As Daring Bakers has grown we have gained more people who are gluten free or dairy free or vegan or other restrictions and we have gained a collective name so now I am not just a Daring Baker I am an Daring Alternative Baker !! This month we had an on-line cook along between a few of us to discuss the changes we needed to make which was great fun. This recipe wasn't really a problem for me as gluten free but those who are dairy free or vegan had a much more interesting time changing things about and some of the options they came up with sounded so interesting I am considering trying them just because.
Anyway on to my attempt.
The basic idea is small balls of cheesecake mix covered in chocolate and stuck on lolly sticks, told you it was a mad idea! However as it turns out it's also a fantastic idea. The recipe comes from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor and was picked for us by Elle at Feeding my Enthusiasums and Deborah at Taste and Tell.
I have put the original recipe at the bottom of this post so what follows is my notes on how it went assuming you have read either the recipe or other Daring Baker entries.
The cheesecake mix is made first and is meant to be cooked off as one large amount. Making the mix up went quick quickly and smoothly. There was very little I needed to do to make this gluten free because there is only a small amount of flour in the recipe just to stablise the mix a little i think and that i just replaced with a generic gluten free flour but I suspect almost any flour would work here.
The original recipe is quite large, enough for a party, so i made half the amount and cooked the mix off in two small bread tins, in common with most people I found the cooking time given was not nearly enough and I know it wasn't my cooker which normally takes less time than stated not more. In the end my two small tins took 50 mins each. The resultant cheesecake was set but still very soft and sticky in the middle, it did sink a bit after I took the pictures but stayed nice and fluffy. Even making half as much I still got 18 balls about of just over one tin of cheesecake so left the rest to be eaten as slices with fruit sauce and cream (which I recommend as an alternative).
Once the balls were made I froze them. If you try this do put the balls on grease proof paper and put the sticks in first I did neither and while it didn't stop it working I did have a few moments because if it. My sticks didn't stay in well and that is probably because I had to force a hole in the frozen mix though we decided we liked them just as much just as balls so it was no big thing. The sticks I used were actually packaging which had held sets of cutlery together we bought recently, I knew they would come in handy though I had been thinking for stirring paint not as lolly sticks!
Our chocolate mix didn't ever go as thin as i would have liked even hot so the layer of chocolate was little thicker than I would ideally like. We decorated some with sprinkles for the kids and some with crushed walnuts. Some of the decorating and other coatings Daring Bakers have come up with these bare checking out from what I've seen on the forum.
My official tester, my four year old is seen here with the test one. He sampled it carefully and declared that the inside was like snow.. in fact he went on at some length about this as he gradually polished it off. The other tester, his father thought them good enough he is considering making them for an upcoming event.
Makes 30 – 40 Pops
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour (I used Dove Farm gluten free plain 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.