Daring Bakers – the name just makes me giggle! And the logo? Fab! I was so excited to join this nifty group of amazing bakers from all walks of life and types of kitchens. It’s a group of bakers who all participate in a monthly recipe challenge, then post about their success or struggles with the recipe. Just my sort of thing. Hey, I bake without gluten and dairy! I am already daring! Woo! So, the day arrived. I received my invitation, I signed on and checked for my first challenge. Would it be some sort of fabulous rustic roasted garlic olive loaf? A yeasted sweet roll? They had just done a beautiful party cake and lovely baguettes the months before. Maybe a cream puff, a ‘la “cream puffs in Venice”? I clicked on the window and saw, um, Cheesecake Pops.
Did I mention I am dairy and gluten free? Cheese. Cake. Hmmmm…. Maybe this Daring Baker thing is REALLY going to be more of a challenge than I thought. But a good cheesecake recipe is never a bad thing to have under your belt, unless it makes it difficult to buckle that belt! And the photos of the cute little pops (little bites of cheesecake on a stick, dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles) were adorable! You know I can’t resist cute food!
I’ve made tofu based cheese cake before, back in our vegan days, and it was okay, but I knew it could be improved, maybe with the tofu based mock cream cheese. Also, what about soy? It’s high allergen and I wanted to see if a non-soy based cheesecake was possible. So, I started my challenge deciding to run through it with the cream cheese substitute first, than try to find another substitute without soy.
For my soy free version I wanted to try to use my coconut yogurt to make a “cream cheese” and for the soy version I simply used Tofutti brand soy cream cheese. They both turned out very creamy and delicious. I used a bittersweet chocolate as a counterpoint to the creamy filling and really enjoyed how they turned out. They were not too difficult to make, mostly just a bit time consuming with the different chilling/freezing times. They will be something we will make again for a special occasion, as they were delicious and so very cute. My kids loved them, my mom (the cheesecake queen) thought they were delicious (I have to hide them now!), and my husband (who DOES NOT like cheesecake) decided this wasn’t so bad especially with the chocolate coating it. My dad is even bringing a couple to work. He likes to sometimes show people that gluten and dairy free doesn’t mean you have to be deprived of tasty fun.
I am so glad I joined this group! If this month’s challenge is any indication, I have a lot of fun to look forward to! Thanks, everybody!
Angela’s Coconut Yogurt “Cream Cheese”
Scoop one batch of coconut yogurt into a strainer lined with cheese cloth. The strainer should be over a bowl to catch the liquid “whey” that will drain from the yogurt. After a couple of hours, I tie the ends of the cheese cake to a wooden spoon and place the wooden spoon on the top of a water pitcher, suspending the yogurt inside the pitcher. Secure the handle of the spoon to the pitcher’s handle with a rubber band. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-24 hours depending on the desired consistency. The longer the yogurt sits, the thicker the yogurt cheese. Allow 1 cup of yogurt for every 1/3 cup of yogurt cheese.
Suspended coconut yogurt cheese…
Coconut yogurt cream cheese, unwrapped!
Original recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor – altered to be gluten and dairy free by me.
Makes 30 – 40 Pops
5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature (use same amount of Tofu cream cheese or coconut yogurt cream cheese)
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour (use 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (be sure gluten free)
¼ cup heavy cream (use the thick portion of coconut milk that has risen to the top part of the coconut milk can)
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.) (I used a gluten and dairy free bittersweet chocolate)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I used organic palm 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 (be sure to use gluten and dairy free options)
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.
This is my half batch pan set up in the water bath.
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. (I cut the cheesecake into even portions, then rolled gently into balls.) Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours. (I did overnight.)
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.
April Daring Baker’s Challenge – Cheesecake Pops!
Sunday, April 27, 2008