April’s Daring Bakers challenge was cheesecake lollipops dipped in chocolate. I had first seen and eaten these cheesecake pops at Davidburke and Donatella restaurant in New York (their pops come with bubble gum whipped cream) and thought the concept was really quite inventive and playful. In an episode of Road Tasted on FoodNetwork, it was revealed that David Burke’s children were the actual inspiration for these pops and now they’re a huge seller. A chef from the restaurant demonstrated how their pops are created. After baking the cheesecake, it is whipped, put into a pastry bag, piped onto a sheet, then dipped into chocolates, tuxedo style. In our challenge recipe, the cheesecake was baked, frozen, scooped into balls, then dipped in chocolate.
We were given free reign in our choice of toppings and in the shapes of the pops, so I eventually settled on five toppings: cocoa nibs, chopped dried cherries, crystallized ginger chips, crushed chocolate chip cookies, and crushed chocolate cookies. I think my pops turned out resembling meteoritic space balls, but I was not unhappy with the look.
At first, I dipped a single topping onto each pop, but I starting mixing it up a bit to accommodate eaters who might like to sample several of the toppings at once.
I also experimented with the shape a bit and used round cutter to create a drum-like shape with sides. This allowed me to alternate toppings a bit easier.
Thanks to Deborah from Taste and Tell and Elle from Feeding my Enthusiasms, who were this month’s hostesses. Deborah has the recipe posted on her site if you’re interested. The recipe calls for adding shortening in the chocolate to create a snap, but I used cocoa butter instead, which worked well. I also flavored my pops with seeds from a vanilla bean. To be frank, if I made these again, I would try another cheesecake recipe. I think at the very least, the cheesecake itself could have used a kick with more citrus flavors. I would also try the piping method to avoid the mess created from rolling the cheesecake balls by hand. To check out what other Daring Bakers have done for this challenge, click here.