I consider the Christmas Bow Cheesecake to be my first major project. The original plan was to bake a regular cheesecake and make it fancy with a big fabric ribbon bow on top. But as I was watching a video tutorial on tying the perfect bow, my boyfriend said something crazy and a little mind-blowing.
“Why don’t you just make one out of chocolate?”
My first reaction was simultaneously “wow, that sounds impossible!” and “wow, that would be incredible!”. It was chocolate manipulation on an entirely different scale from anything I’d done before. But the idea took root and I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I decided eventually that I had to give it a try!
Here’s how I made the bow:
- First, I tempered the chocolate (Tempering is what gives commercial chocolate its smooth color and shine, its texture, and its higher melting point). Tempering is particularly essential when melting and reforming chocolate, partly because tempered chocolate hardens very quickly. The process of tempering involves heating and cooling the chocolate repeatedly. For this project, I did it by hand on the kitchen counter. As you can see from the photos, the temper isn’t perfect – partly because it was done by hand and partly because I kept touching it before it was ready. I couldn’t help it! I was too excited.
- I poured the tempered chocolate over rectangular strips of wax paper. Then I lifted up the strips with an icing spatula to get clean-edge rectangles.
- Before the chocolate could fully harden, I folded the strips into loops. I made about twelve loops total.
- I then “glued” the loops together into a bow shape using chocolate from a squeeze bottle
- After the cheesecake was made (following the cheesecake recipe here), I placed the bow on top. The white cake contrasts really nicely with the dark bow, don’t you agree?
Success! Everyone loved it – so much so that some of them thought I bought it at a store. I chose to take that as a compliment!
The Christmas itself was my favorite one yet. Not only did the cheesecake turn out beautifully, it was also my first Christmas with my boyfriend in our new apartment. We filled each others’ stockings in secret and spent the morning alone, just the two of us. We also got to spend time with both our families. It was a holiday full of warmth and love.
PS: Remember how before, I talked about how the tempering was imperfect because I did it by hand? Well… for Christmas, my mom got me a tempering machine! She even had it hidden away while I was shaping the bow. With my new tempering machine, I was ready to take on even more challenging projects…