Cheesecake pops are a type of bite-sized cheesecake on a stick. They contain the same basic ingredients as standard cheesecake, but the filling is rolled into small balls or cut into cubes. A lollipop stick is then inserted into the bottom of the ball or cube to create a portable version of cheesecake that is eaten without a fork. Many of these pops are also dipped and rolled in various toppings.
Basic baked cheesecake recipes combine cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and cream. The cream can either be sour cream or heavy whipping cream. Additionally, other ingredients, like flour, lemon juice, or spices, may also be added. Regardless of the specific cheesecake recipe used to create the cheesecake pops, the baker must start with a baked cheesecake, rather than a no-bake cheesecake. The density of no-bake cheesecake is lighter and does not hold together well enough to form compact balls or cubes.
Round cheesecake pops are more common than cubes. The confectioner starts with a fully-baked, chilled cheesecake and scoops rounds of the filling out using a melon baller, small ice cream scoop, or spoon. He or she may need to roll each cheesecake round by hand in order to smooth it out and create a neat, clean ball. Each cheesecake ball is typically rolled in finely crushed graham cracker crumbs. This coating mimics the taste of cheesecake crust while minimizing stickiness and preventing the balls from losing their form.
Individuals making round pops can make their own cheesecake or buy a pre-made cheesecake. Those making square cheesecake pops must usually make their own cheesecake, however, because they need to cut out cubes from a square cheesecake, and most pre-made cheesecakes are round. Instead of baking an entire cheesecake, the confectioner only needs to prepare and bake the cheesecake filling without the crust. After baking a standard cheesecake filling in a square or rectangular pan, he or she should allow the cheesecake to chill in a refrigerator for eight hours or more in order to firm up. The filling is then removed from the pan and cut into even, bite-sized cubes.
Once the balls or cubes are prepared, the confectioner inserts a lollipop stick into each one and lines the cheesecake pops on a cookie sheet. These pops are then placed into a freezer and chilled up to one hour. If the cheesecake is too soft to insert the sticks, the balls or cubes may first be frozen 20 to 30 minutes and then put back into the freezer for another 30 minutes after the sticks are in place. After coming out of the freezer, the cheesecake pops are technically ready to serve, but most individuals also prefer to decorate the pops with some type of topping.
Melted semi-sweet, milk, or white chocolate are among the most popular toppings. The frozen cheesecake pops are dipped into the chocolate until coated all the way around. Before the chocolate completely sets, the confectioner may roll the dipped pops in a number of other prepared toppings, such as sprinkles, coconut, grated chocolate, nuts, or crushed cookie pieces. The cheesecake pops are then refrigerated once more to allow the chocolate to finish setting. These pops must be kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve to prevent the cheesecake from spoiling.