Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers April Challenge - Frozen Cheesecake Pops

Steven here, good friends, and I gotta tell ya - Joey turned over the honors this month to moi, yours truly, because he's such a great guy. I LOVE cheesecake, chocolate and just about anything you can add to it to make it even yummier. This month's challenge is to make "cheesecake pops" - lovely little balls of cheesecake on a stick, glazed with a delicious chocolate coating, and enhanced any way you choose to do so. I had a blast with this one. The basic cheesecake recipe is SO good, that we will surely incorporate it into future desserts. The consistency is dense and rich, just the right amount of sweetness, and holds its shape well - important when you are forming balls.

I started by combining the cheesecake ingredients, mixing them according to the recipe, and baking. The directions called for a 10" cake pan, but in lieu of that (we don't happen to own one that size- YET)...I used a 9" square pan which is a bit deeper than usual - we often use this one for brownies. I baked the cheesecake (longer than called for because of our freakin' oven which has a mind of it's own and never maintains a proper temperature.grrrrrrr.) Then cooled to room temperature and proceeded to chill the lovely golden mixture overnight. Saturday morning I woke up, headed straight to the utensil drawer for our ice-cream scoop, and dug into that pan to start forming 2 ounce balls. I wore rubber gloves because the mixture is sticky, and shaped the balls and placed them on parchment for the next step - freezing. At this point, Joey, with sticks in hand, plunged the lollipop handles into the balls and we shoved them into our already bulging freezer for several hours, during which we ate, shopped, and I rested while Joey made a Tres Leches cake for a co-worker's birthday.

That afternoon, the chocolate came out of hiding and warmed itself by the fire for the enrobing of the balls.

We dipped some of the balls into crushed chocolate grahams, then into three different kinds of melted chocolate - some in white chocolate (tinted green as we had bought it for St. Pats and not had a chance to use it), semi-sweet and bittersweet. While still warm, we immediately rolled them in various toppings: multi-colored jimmies (see photo), mini cherry chips, toffee bits, chopped toffee peanuts, and for a few we just covered one type of chocolate with it's opposite drizzled on top...its such a lovely tray of goods.

Cheesecake Pop Assortment

Cheesecake Pops

Cheesecake Pops 2

I hope you all get to try these - we surely will add them to our menu, and can't wait to see the look in your eyes when they roll back in your head. Several who tasted them at work today said they had little mouth orgasms (if you'll pardon the use of the word).

More comin' atcha soon - stay tuned...but don't stay hungry - order from us NOW!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Very Special Day!!

Ok, what do you do when the guy you love bakes his own birthday cake??? Gosh, I'm Stumped, but the very least I can do is to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOEY! This is such an important day, and because you bring so many sweet endings to other people's days, its only fitting that yours begin with wishes for the most amazing year of your life! Remember - this is YOUR year, and you will reap the rewards of having been so good to so many for so long. Kharma, THATS a "just" dessert!

Today I am baking my sweet/tart - sweet flaky crust shell, a layer of lovely chocolate brownie, topped with Lime curd and baked until just set - so delicious. It's a variation on Ashley's Dilemna - hers has a chocolate crust and the filling is lime and drizzled on top with more dark chocolate...I just wanted to shake things up a little.

Be sure and check back in this coming sunday when we post about our latest Daring Baker's challenge - this one will leave you like a man in the desert - probably so in need of sweets that you'll want to lick your monitor screen - but don't! - order some from our menu instead!

We love all of our good and supportive friends, family and co-workers, and we hope you'll continue to enjoy our posts and, more importantly, our sweets. We bake so much love into them that they will set your hearts on fire - like mine is for Joey!

Ciao for now, good people...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

If at first you don't succeed...

...Just eat the darned thing and make another one! That seems to be our motto lately - not that we fail often when baking something terrific. Tonight Joey made a "Night the Lights went out in Brooklyn" cake for a co-worker's wife's birthday, and for some odd reason, something didn't go quite right and he's in the middle of making a second one (at my insistance, I'M the perfectionist who cannot let something out of my sight when it's been paid for and is expected to be not only delicious, but to LOOK delicious.) It's one of my flaws and I swear I'm working on it) - but when you're trying to do something professionally, to have it taste AND look like it it came from a bakery, then you go the extra mile - or, as in tonight's case, stay up late making a second cake because you want to give your patrons only the best you possibly can. Poor Joey - he's the best and is being quite a sport. It's tough when you work a full time job and can only bake in your off hours. If something goes wrong, you have to put in the extra hours to make it right - so tomorrow may be a sleepy day for us both.

On the plus side, last week I asked my friend, Ashley, to suggest something for us to try next (we're always looking for input from our friends, family and co-workers.)
She thought about it a moment (I could tell she was battling with herself over what favorate flavors to spring on me!) and her eyes lit up and she said something to the affect of: "You know, I've been craving lime and dark chocolate lately - think you can do something combining those?". Well, that sounded excellent to me - and so I started rummaging through the recesses of my mind for recipes that could work in combination. I decided to make a tart. Mildly sweet chocolate crust, a thick layer of lime curd, and drizzled on top with bittersweet chocolate. I gotta tell ya - it was SO GOOD(if I do say so myself!. It is definitely one we will be adding to our menu.

This weekend is the company bake sale to raise money for the AIDS Walk, and of course, everyone expects wonders from our I'm thinking of doing Cupcakes a la Night the Lights went Out in Brooklyn: rich chocolate cake, filled with delicious pudding, wonderfully milk chocolaty frosting and more cake crumbs mashed into the frosting - its so good it will make you want to slap someone. And if there is time, some mini tarts like the one described above - I'm sure those will sell, and its for a great cause.

More from the kitchens of Joey Biscotti soon, so Ciao for now, dessert fans....