SYDNEY’S PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE BITES
2011 NATIONAL PEANUT FESTIVAL RECIPE CONTEST
STUDENT GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Sydney Ginther, Headland
1 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
½ cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
12 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line an 8-X8-inch baking pan with foil, letting long flaps overlap on each side. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until very smooth. Add the cream and beat slowly; then add the yolks and vanilla, mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peanut butter. Take care not to over beat the mixture â€“ this incorporates too much air and causes the cheesecake to crack.
Pour and evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven to release some heat, and lower the temperature to 200 degrees. Continue to bake the cheesecake until the outside is set but the center is still loose, for about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and cool cheesecake in the oven for 45 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours or overnight.
Lift cheesecake from the pan by lifting up the foil. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Stick a wooden pop stick halfway into each bar and freeze for one hour.
Meanwhile, put the shortening and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Dip the pops into the chocolate mixture, and stand on waxed paper to set, about five minutes. Serve cold (straight from the fridge), or freeze up to 2 weeks. Frozen pops make a cool summer treat, or can be allowed to temper for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.