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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Pops

There's no doubt about it, these Cheesecake Pops are a labor of love. With multiple steps that take place over a number of hours (or days), this is the kind of recipe that you have to be willing to exercise patience for. Patience is not exactly my, err, strong suit, but I was determined to include Cheesecake Pops in my Cheesecake Extravaganza menu.

I'm glad I mustered up some inner patience and set out to make these, because they were absolutely worth it when I saw how cute they looked in the buckets on my table! Not only were these one of the most eye-catching desserts I've ever attempted, but my friends at the party loved them. Of course, that's to be expected anytime you combine peanut butter with chocolate.

Eating foods off of a stick is just plain fun, which is why I recommend you set out to make these some time...no matter how much you lack patience. If I can do it, anyone can ;) These are perfect for a party, a birthday, or a shower. They can be made ahead of time and frozen for a few weeks (which is what I did), and you can stretch the various steps out over time as needed. You won't regret the labor of love you put into them--nor will the people who you share them with. I can't wait for the next special occasion to make them!

One Year Ago: Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Pops
slightly adapted from Food Network

-1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
-1 1/2 lbs 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-2 large egg yolks
-1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
-1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
-1-1 1/2 lbs dipping chocolate (approximately)
-sprinkles, for decorating
-lollipop sticks

1. To make the cheesecake, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray (I used an 8 x 8 dish and then also poured some of the batter in another small glass dish...you could easily just use one larger dish!).
2. Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add the cream and beat slowly. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, mixing just until combined. Gently fold in peanut butter, taking care not to overbeat.
3. Pour and evenly spread batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven to release some heat, then close the oven door and lower temperature to 200F. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes, until the outside is set but the center still jiggles. Turn off the oven and allow cheesecake to cool for 45 minutes.
4. Cover with foil and freeze, at least 4 hours.
5. Remove cheesecake from freezer and use the aluminum foil to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Stick a lollipop stick into the center of each pop. Lie pops on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for at least 1 hour.
6. When ready to decorate, remove pops from freezer. Prepare dipping chocolate according to package instructions. Dip the pops in the chocolate mixture to cover about half of the pop (you may need a spoon to help push chocolate up around the edges). Decorate with sprinkles or other desired toppings. Place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet to set. Serve cold or freeze up to 2 weeks (I froze mine in an airtight container with pops on wax paper.)