Hobby #3: Convo Heart Cheesecakes

Inspiration Convo Hearts

So, as predicted, I’m super slack about hobbies, and my absence for the later part of 2014 and the first few months of 2015 has only proved this. BUT I SWEAR I’ll do more this year, really. I’ve actually half-started 4 hobbies, which is pretty impressive, considering my track record. 

The problem is, Paul’s really stepped up his game. Beyond creating beautiful paintings for his art classes, he’s really taken to this whole knife making thing, and they’re AMAZING. Point is: his hobbies have thrived, while mine have fallen to the wayside. He makes me look bad. So I’m going to step up my game.

Oyster knives with spalted tamarind and Damascus steel, geeze.
And Paul’s painting of an oyster shell. How can I compete?

I know you’re thinking, “By stepping up your game do you mean learning how to make a new cocktail?” Why, yes! Yes it does. Though not today. One of my overarching 2015 hobbies will be “Actually Making Shit on My Pinterest (AMSOMP),” so stay tuned for lots of mediocre recipes and possibly some crafts that look nothing like those of the Martha Stewarts who make them.

The first installment of AMSOMP is just in time for V-day, or as we like to call it, Balentime’s day. You read that right. I’m going to make super cute, convo heart shaped mini-cheesecakes because I love mini things, I love convo hearts, and Paul loves cheesecakes (because he’s human, despite his ability to do everything better than everyone else). 

AMSOMP#1: Convo Heart Cheesecakes

Here’s the link to the original directions, but I’d be totally offended if you followed those and not mine. 

  • Buy some cute-ass heart shaped silicone molds. I surprised myself by planning ahead and ordering these in January; I’ll be selling them at our next garage sale if the cheesecakes turn out terribly.

  • Buy some convo hearts and a bottle of champagne. (I also bought some V-day themed red wine).
Got these on Amazon.
V-day appropriate booze.

Cheesecake Ingredients & Supplies

• 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (15 squares): I had 16, woot! • pinch of cinnamon: done • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted: of course I had butter; I’m not a barbarian • 16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened: alas, I only had feta, bleu, and parm • 1 cup sugar: yeah, got this • 3 large eggs: go chickies, go! • 1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream: I needed this but only because we eat SC all the time • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract: done • food coloring – pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, and red: ok, so I had red, yellow, green, and blue, but because I went to first grade art class, I know that red and blue make purple and that pink is just a lighter shade of red—so I’m not buying those colors • Other Supplies Needed: basic crap in your kitchen plus a fine-tipped paint brush, of which we have hundreds because Paul is an art supply hoarder. NOTE: These cakes need a water bath, so make sure you have something you can put your molds in so they’re immersed halfway up in warm water. Pyrex casseroles do the trick. Recipe lady recommends warming water up in the holding pan in the oven as you’re pre-heating, and this seems reasonable, so I’m not gonna go rogue. She recommends some other stuff about the water bath blah blah blah, but I lost interest.
  • Find a recipe for cheesecake you like, and scour your kitchen for ingredients. I used the one on the side bar because the first rule of AMSOMP is nobody talks about AMSOMP following the actual Pinterest instructions.

  • Pour yourself a glass of champagne. Get yourself in the mood (for baking, you pervs). I was given some fancy Tiffany flutes for my wedding, but I did not use one of these, because I’m not insane and I knew I would break it with the hand mixer.
Super-cute plastic won’t break.
  • Put some raspberries in the champagne for V-day color.
Pretty!
  • Pre-heat the oven per your recipe’s instructions (probably 325 degrees), and put your bathing Pyrexes quasi-filled with water in there to warm up.

  • Make the graham cracker mixture for crust. Look up a recipe. The one above makes WAY too much crust and it doesn’t call for sugar, which is fine. I also didn’t think it called for enough butter, so I put in another tablespoon or two. I crumbled the crackers up in my new Ninja, AND IT SCARED THE BEJESUS OUT OF ME. Ninjas are supposed to be subtle. This thing is nuts.

  • Take a sip of champs.

  • Put about a tbsp. of buttery crumbly mixture in each little heart and smoosh it down. The recipe didn’t say this, but I baked mine for like 5 minutes (since the oven was pre-heating).
Crumbly stuff.
Crazy Ninja.
  • Make your cheesecake. This recipe called for a crapton of sour cream, which made me nervous, so I read the reviews of the original recipe and everyone was like, OMG cook it longer than what it says or your cake will be a puddle. Noted.

  • Divide the cake mixture into 6 bowls. Recipe lady had 6 same-sized glass bowls and 6 adorable tiny spatulas because I swear she bought those supplies just for her pictures. I happened to have 6 different colored Fiestaware bowls, but alas, I’m short on tiny spatulas and had to use spoons.

  • Color the mixtures to look like the convo-hearts. Recipe lady says to use 4-8 drops of color, but I only used like 2-4, so I don’t know what she was talking about. Paul came home at this point and offered unsolicited advice: Cheesecake is yellow-ish, not white, so keep that in mind when mixing colors. In essence, when mixing red and blue to make purple, you’re really mixing red, blue, and yellow, so you may want to go a little heavier than I did on the dye to compensate for yellow-impaired colors.
Super creamy cake batter.
I tried to match the six convo-heart colors.
  • Fill your molds up all the way (I divided the colors evenly in a very OCD kind of way), put the molds in the warm bath and DO NOT BAKE FOR 20 MINUTES LIKE RECIPE LADY SAYS. Bake the cakes like you would a normal cheesecake, for 45 minutes.

  • Breathe and remind yourself that Pinterest is setting you up for failure.
You should probably make your molds be EXACTLY the same.
Ready for baking.
  • After your cakes have baked long enough to become firm, let them cool, then—this is important—dump the water out of the Pyrexes and wipe them down. Put the molds back in the Pyrexes, cover them, and freeze them for two hours or overnight. I almost put the Pyrexes in the freezer with the water and would have been very unhappy to discover my cheesecakes frozen and stuck in their ice mold.

  • Get in the hot tub. Finish the champagne. Go to bed.

  • In the morning, take two Advil and drink a large glass of water.

  • Take your molds out of the freezer and pop the cakes out. As they thaw, they’ll form condensation on top, but don’t fret—this will dry, and when it does, you can attempt to write convos on your hearts.
  • To write the convos, use your fine point brush and some red dye. Paul, knowing that I have the worst handwriting of any human being alive, suggested I get a practice cheesecake to write on. I think he suggested this because he wanted even more cheesecake, but I agreed. He also wanted to show off his fancy painting skills and asked if he could “try” a word on the practice cake. As you can see, my REDRUM looks psychotic, like it was, in fact, written by a crazy person, whereas Paul’s REDRUM is all nice in neat, like it was written by a crazy person.

At this point Paul gave me even more unsolicited advice: Steady your writing hand with your other hand to lessen the shaking. He then asked if he could paint some of the words on the hearts and it was suddenly clear to me: Paul’s trying to take over my hobby. I painted 6 hearts and let him do the other six because, at the end of the day, I want to give some of these away and take credit for the cute baking as well as the flawless font.

A 3-year old did not write this.
P’s vs Mine. I think we know who the winner is.

And so, here’s the final result, pictured next to the “inspiration” originals:

Aww, how cute!
Ok, cute enough!

The cake was really good—recipe lady was right. It was creamy and fluffy, and it tasted NOTHING like actual convo hearts.

Wink. I mean it, WINK!!
All together, now 🙂

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Making cute things is fun.
  2. I should never, ever, ever attempt projects where I have to write.
  3. I seriously need to do the photography hobby soon because iPhone and iPad pics just aren’t cutting it. The colors are way off.
  4. Even though this was my hobby, and even though Paul tried to take it over in the end, I realized that the collaboration was nice. I welcomed his advice (and only rolled my eyes once), and I suppose if I’m ever going to share a hobby, it can be when the theme is love.

Happy Balentime’s, y’all.

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