Introduction: Cheesecake Pops
Arby's had, for a while, the most decadent, indulgent dessert that any fast food chain has ever conceived: deep fried cheesecake bites. I don't go to Arby's often, but when they had the cheesecake bites, I went as often as I could. They were delicious! Then they stopped carrying them, and I have not seen them since.
When something I want does not exist, I make my own. This is how I make deep fried cheesecake bites. For good measure, I even put them on a stick. Everything is better on a stick.
1 cup sugar
24 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1 pint sour cream
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon extract
bamboo skewers cut to approximately 5 1/2 inches each
Step 1: Cheesecake Batter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it is soft.
Add 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon.
While the mixer is on, add the flour a bit at a time, and beat until smooth.
Step 2: Bake the Cheesecake
Pour your cheesecake batter into a 13x9 inch baking dish.
Place a pan, like a lipped cookie sheet, onto the middle rack of your oven.
Put the dish with the batter in the middle of the pan.
Pour hot water into the pan until it comes about half way up the side of the baking dish.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Turn the oven off, leaving the cake inside.
Allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1-2 hours.
Remove the cake from the oven.
Step 3: Make Balls
Line a large baking pan or a tray with baking parchment.
Scoop ping-pong ball sized balls of cheesecake out of the baking dish, roll them between your hands to get them smooth(ish), and place them on the pan.
Stick the bamboo sticks into the balls so that they stick out, pointing upward.
Place the balls with sticks in a freezer for a few hours until they are solid.
Step 4: Coating
Crush the graham crackers into crumbs. The easiest way is to put them into a zippered plastic bag, smack them with a fist or kitchen mallet, then go over them with a rolling pin.
Pour the buttermilk into a bowl, and put the graham cracker crumbs into another bowl.
Holding it by the stick, dip a frozen cheesecake ball into the buttermilk, then give it a gentle shake to remove any excess.
Put the buttermilked cheesecake ball into the graham cracker crumbs, and roll it around gently to coat it evenly.
After coating all of the balls, put them back in the freezer for an hour.
Step 5: Frying
Heat a pot of oil to 350 degrees F. Keep a thermometer in the oil so that you can maintain the oil between 330 and 360 degrees F. Too hot will burn the pops, too cold will make them greasy.
Fold three paper towels together until you have a wad that is about 2 inches wide by whatever the natural width of the paper towels is. Fold your wad in half lengthwise and wedge it between the handles of a long pair of tongs. (Please refer to the pictures.)
Place the sticks of a few pops between the folds of the paper towel inside the tongs, and squeeze the tongs closed.
Holding the tongs at the end opposite the hinge, lower the pops into the hot oil.
Hold the pops in the oil for about a minute. Pull the pops out when they reach a golden brown color.
Serve your pops while warm with a side of warmed strawberry jam or some chocolate sauce. Enjoy!