Want to know a secret? I have a real weakness for cheesecake. It’s so rich, creamy, and decadent! It’s even better when it’s topped with fresh berries. But it takes hours to make a cheesecake! Not only do you have to prepare and bake the crust, but the cake takes an hour in the oven and then needs to cool in the fridge for several hours or overnight. When it’s hot outside, I just don’t feel like spending that much time in the kitchen or heating my house up by having the oven on that long. I do, however, still want cheesecake. The solution? Frozen Cheesecake Pops! Fast, easy, and free of refined sugar, these frozen treats only contain organic cream cheese, fresh strawberries, honey and a touch of vanilla. Add a few cracker crumbs on top if you want to get fancy! All the rich decadence of cheesecake, faster and more healthy. This is one dessert-on-a-stick that will have the grownups just as excited as the kids!
In preparing this recipe, I had to do some thinking about what makes a cheesecake taste like cheesecake. As I considered the list of ingredients in a traditional cheesecake, I realized that much of what goes into the batter is actually there because it’s needed to make the cake bake, rise, and set up. If you’re not going to bake it, you can strip cheesecake down to its bare essentials: Sweetened cream cheese, vanilla and berries. I was hoping that raw honey would work as well as sugar in this recipe, and I was happy to discover that it does indeed work very well! Fresh, ripe strawberries whipped into the batter are the perfect touch.
Just soften some organic cream cheese (here’s how to make it from yogurt) and throw it in a food processor with fresh organic berries, a touch of vanilla, and a few tablespoons of raw honey. Puree it until the berries are incorporated…or, if you’d like your berries a little more chunky, use a mixer to blend it up. I decided to make the pops a little fancy, so I saved a little of the mixture and added extra berries and honey to make a “topping” layer. I also crushed two squares of gluten free graham crackers to sprinkle on the top, to give the pops a cheesecake look. These are really just for decoration, though…totally optional!
Layer the “topping” by spoonful in an ice pop mold, then spoon in the rest of the cheesecake mixture. Top with a few crumbs if you’d like (I put a bit of extra cheesecake over the crumbs, to keep them from just falling out when you un-mold the pops). Then freeze them for several hours, until they are solid and ready to eat! This is honestly the hardest part of the whole process. I had to make myself stop checking the freezer obsessively, trying to see if they were frozen enough to eat! But it was worth the wait. These are just as good eaten barefoot on the deck on a hot day as they are served as a creative dessert at a summer dinner party!
- 8 ounces organic cream cheese (here's how to make your own from yogurt)
- ½ pound fresh organic strawberries, washed and hulled (perfect time to use over-ripe berries)
- 3 tablespoons organic, raw honey
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- 4 extra berries and 1 tablespoon extra raw honey, for topping (optional)
- 2 squares organic graham crackers, crushed (optional)
- Soften cream cheese. In a food processor (for smooth-textured pops) or mixer (for chunkier pops) puree the cream cheese, ½ pound strawberries, vanilla and raw honey. Pulse or mix until smooth.
- If layering the pops, remove all but about 1 cup of the cream cheese mixture and set aside. To the remaining cream cheese mixture, and add the four extra berries and tablespoon of honey. Pulse or mix until smooth.
- In an ice pop mold (like this), spoon the "topping" mixture evenly into all the openings. Layer with the cheesecake mixture, a spoonful of crumbs (if using) and a small layer of cheesecake mixture to hold the crumbs together. Place the "stick" part of the mold into each pop, and freeze. If you'd like, you can make these using paper cups and fancy paper straws (like this).
- Freeze several hours, until solid.
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What do you think about serving ice pops at a dinner party?