I return to you red-faced and ashamed. Several weeks have gone by with nary a peep from the Outpost, and yet another day would have passed with no updates had I not at the last minute remembered that today is the posting day for the April Daring Bakers challenge. Happily, I have been scheming and cooking in the kitchen these past few weeks and I actually have quite the menu to share, but today it’s all about the DBers.
This month’s challenge was Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Pops. No joke. Since becoming vegan three years ago, I have had no desire to attempt a vegan cheesecake. You see, the thing is – I just didn’t miss it that much. I may never have made a vegan cheesecake if it was not for this particular challenge. For that reason alone, I am so thankful to Elle and Deborah for choosing this month’s recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. My end product was incredible. Amazing. Delicious. I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.
I knew from the get-go that I wanted to make a Key Lime Cheesecake. I was inspired by the famous frozen chocolate covered Key lime pie slice on a stick in Key West. I used to live in the Keys and, shortly after moving there, I was told that I had to try one of these. No excuses. So had one I did. The entire thing. It was so good going down, but I had an instant belly ache soon thereafter. The bellyache was so terrific that I never again had a frozen chocolate covered key lime pie slice on a stick. That taste, however, really was undeniably delicious and that was what I wanted to replicate with my chocolate covered cheesecake pops (though I make no guarantees that bellyaches will not ensue after consuming massive quantities of these cheesecake pops).
The original recipe for these cheesecake pops calls for 5 packages of Philly cream cheese, 5 large eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 2 cups of sugar, among a few other ingredients. This one required a lot of work to make it vegan and slightly less sweet. I was really pleased with what I came up with. What I found to be so interesting about this adaptation process is that several other alternative DBers came up with their own versions of the recipe and each of these versions is unique and, I am sure, delicious. I love the creativity that these challenges inspire! (Here is where I send a big hug and an enthusiastic high five to my fellow alternative DBers who took on the challenge of cheesecake and emerged victorious with pops in hand and chocolate smeared faces.)
I had an opportunity to make these when I co-hosted a friend’s baby shower several weeks ago. She is expecting a boy, so I wrapped blue ribbons around the pops to transform them into baby rattles for the party. They were very cute and festive
Makes 40 Pops
2 tubs of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 Packages Mori Nu Firm Silken Tofu
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup key lime juice
4 tbsp corn starch
½ tsp vanilla
1 pound chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Set some water to boil.
2. Process the Tofutti and Mori Nu in a food processor until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer and mix in the sugar until smooth. Next mix in the flour and salt and beat until smooth.
3. Process key lime juice and cornstarch together in a food processor, blender, or, in my case, small Magic Bullet blender cup. Beat into the batter. Finally, mix in the vanilla.
4. Grease a 10 inch cake pan (or, in my case, an 8 inch cake pan and a loaf pan) and place into a large roasting pan (or two oblong casserole dishes). Fill the pan(s) with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan(s). Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, approximately one hour.
5. 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 three hours or up to overnight.
6. 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 used a spoon to scoop and my hands to roll into a nice little ball). Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
7. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate (I used Ghiradelli semi sweet 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 (I like Spectrum non-hydrogenated 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 its 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.
8. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. (I actually dipped just the top and then spooned and smoothed chocolate over the rest of the pop and this worked out very well for me). 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.
9. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.