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Making Malt Cocoa Mousse with Woodmark Pastry Chef Nichole Hillis!

This one's for all you chocolate - no, let's make it dessert - fans out there. After all, this mousse is so perfect that it could tempt even those that shockingly aren't in favor of cocoa creations. 

For those local to Kirkland and our guests at the Woodmark, Beach Cafe is a favorite spot, and even lunches easily turn into lunch + dessert. 

We are very fortunate to have an amazing Pastry Chef, Nichole Hillis, who makes all our sweet treats in house. Nichole has been with us for over 4 years now and has advanced her role several times at The Woodmark.

We are proud to announce that her dedication and passion to the pastry department and the Woodmark culinary program as a whole has earned her the recent promotion from Beach Cafe Pastry Chef to Woodmark Hotel Pastry Chef! Nichole will be expanding to guide and direct our pastry efforts for the entire property, and for that we are so thankful. 

I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her culinary background, and learning how to make this amazing Malt Cocoa Mousse! 

This recipe is perfect for entertaining...but why share if you don't have to? 

Happy reading!

Malt Cocoa Mousse

Step 1:    

3oz sugar, 2 oz. water + 2oz cold water, boiled to soft ball stage at 244 degrees

6 egg yolks

  • With wire attachment on medium mixer, whip egg yolks on high one minute.

  • Add hot sugar slowly while mixing on medium speed.

  • Continue mixing till cool and 'ribbon stage'.

  • Turn out into a larger mixing bowl, set aside.

Step 2:                 

 8oz Milk chocolate

  • Melt chocolate gently. Set aside. 

Step 3:

12oz Malt cocoa mix

22 oz. heavy cream                        

  • Combine and whip cocoa mix and heavy cream to soft peaks in large mixer.

Step 4:

Now you’re ready to put your mousse together. You have 3 separate components: the egg/sugar mixture, the melted chocolate, and the cocoa/whipped cream mixture.

  • Quickly add one cup of the egg/sugar mixture to the melted chocolate and stir.
  • Add all the melted chocolate mixture back into the egg/sugar mixture and fold in quickly. 

  • You're left with two mixes now - the egg/sugar/chocolate mixture and the cocoa/whipped cream mixture.
  • Add one third of your cocoa/whipped cream mixture to the egg/sugar/chocolate mixture and beat till incorporated and smooth.

  • Add one more third and fold in gently.
  • Add the rest, folding in gently.

  • Put in piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

  • Pipe into half pint jars 2/3 full.

  • Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

  • Wrap and store, up to 4 days.

This is where Nichole spices up her presentation with malt ball crunch and fudge drop cookies with burnt marshmallow topping! Feel free to also customize however you would like. The methods are endless, and you can serve this time and time again. 

Thank you, Nichole!


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Years in Review: Woodmark Wedding Moments

Every wedding has incredible moments. From the firsts - the first look, the first kiss, the first dance, to the lasts - the last toast, the last song, and the last goodbye before running off towards the future.

Here are a few of our favorites from Woodmark weddings over the past few years. Thank you to all of the wonderful couples and their friends and family, we are thrilled to have shared these moments with you!

Are you planning your Big Day? Find out how we can make it as unique as you are - visit us at the Seattle Wedding Show this coming weekend!  We'll be the ones in Booth 721.

Here's to all these special moments, and the many more to come.

01. Celebrating with your best friends the morning of...

02. Seeing your family for the first time...

03. A ring bearer carrying a precious gift...

04. Exchanging rings as a symbol of your love...

05. A kiss to seal the ceremony...

06. Celebrating with a boat ride on the Woodmark II...

07. A beautifully classic 'get-away' car...

08. Your grand entrance as husband & wife...

09. Cutting the cake (and deciding whether or not to 'smoosh'!)

10. And a grand farewell...

Wishing you all a wonderful 2016! For any wedding inquiries, please visit us at

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Post-Holiday Detox Tips

The holidays are fast approaching! As joyous as they are, they can sometimes lead to a feeling of burn-out. Too many treats, holiday beverages, or just too much running around can lead to a serious need to start fresh in the New Year. Luckily, our team at Still Spa has a number of ways that you can eliminate toxins, refresh your spirit, and re-center yourself for 2016. To make an appointment at Still Spa, please call 425.803.9000.


  • First and foremost, hydration is key to any detox. The water is what eliminates the toxins from your system. Whether you spice the water up with some lemon and ginger, tea, or just go with plain H20, make sure you get those fluids!




  • Try a Mt. Rainier Stone Revival Massage | 60 min $160 | 90 min $190 | The deeply heated stones vaporize the essential oils, of rosemary, ginger, cypress and geranium, creating a relaxing and grounding effect, while increasing circulation and loosening your muscles and joints. Includes a back scrub with Jindilli. Ending with a gentle face massage using cool stones.




  • Make it a point to be early. Not only will this save you stress, it will allow you to rest your mind. We recommend coming to Still Spa early to spend 20 minutes in the dry hot sauna before any treatment. With relaxation & detoxification benefits, it's a win-win.




  • Prepare to be pampered with a Sugar & Shea Body Scrub | 45 min $100 | Your skin is nourished by a sugar exfoliation leaving it silky soft and then it is drenched in a deeply hydrating shea butter cream - can we just say yum? Add this on to your massage to perfectly indulge yourself.



  • Sweat it out! Just like in the sauna, pure exercise can help you remove toxins from your body. Get moving - walk, run, bike, you name it. Just make sure to drink enough water, and breathe deep.




  • Take care of yourself with a Lavender & Sage Body Wrap | 60 min $160 | 90 min $185 | A potent blend of pain-relieving arnica, relaxing lavender, healing sage and detoxifying mud is used for this deep therapeutic treatment. Your therapist will target areas of pain or tension beginning with steaming hot towels to relax the entire body. Warm detoxifying clay will be applied to key points including back, inside of arms and legs. While wrapped, receive a focused neck and shoulder massage with a concentrated arnica salve.



  • Try a digital detox. Unplug from social media, or even just your favorite TV show that's keeping you on the couch. Unwind with a book, or go outside. See if you feel a difference in your focus & your mood.


Take time to find out what works for you, and savor the moment. Allow yourself to feel a sense of renewal. Breathe...Indulge...Be Still... And have a rejuvenating start to 2016. 

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Gift Ideas for the Traveler on Your List

Who can believe that the holiday season is here? Are you postponing your shopping because you aren't sure what to buy?


We've scoured the Internet to bring you the best recommendations for that traveler on your list - whether they like to travel to the other side of the world, or to work and back. Here are our favorites for the year:


01. Glassware with Street Maps

Fun and personal, you can order glassware with street maps from a hometown, or from a favorite city they've visited. Throw in some photos from the location and you have a simple, yet thoughtful gift.


 Atlanta Maps Mug


Cost: $12.50 - $40, available at Uncommon Green.


02. LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

LifeStraw's advanced filtering can remove 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites. This is a crucial gift for those that love the outdoors, or plan to travel to places or countries where filtered water is not available.


Cost: $30.48, available at Amazon


03. Kindle Paperwhite

The latest Amazon e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for a traveler who loves escaping in books just as much as they love escaping in travel. With a higher resolution display and built-in front light (rather than back light), it does not glare in sunlight and will not strain your eyes in the dark. Makes us want to clear off our bookshelves already.

Kindle Paperwhite


 Cost: $119 on Amazon, with $20 off for a limited time


 04. Sugarfina Faves Bento Box

A beautiful assortment of eight gourmet candies, why not give this to your favorite traveler? It may not help them on their next trip, but with an international play given that it's from Germany, and a shelf life of 9-12 months, it will give them a sweet welcome home when they return. 


Image result for sugarfina fave bento box

Cost: $65, available at Sak's 5th Avenue


 05. Customized Timbuk2 Laptop Sleeve

Personalized and practical, this gift will protect your traveler's tech. With 4 sizes and over 57 fabrics in a variety of colors, there's something for everyone. Bonus: It's TSA friendly and you can get through security without having to remove your laptop from its case.


Cost: Starting at $39, available at Timbuk2


06. Life on Foot By Nate Damm

An incredible story of Nate Damm's walk across America for seven and a half months. 



Cost: $4.99, available via Kindle


07. Filson Travel Bag or Accessory

An iconic Seattle company, we knew no other bag would be on our list but Filson. With a heritage of time-tested quality and products made in the USA, these bags are worth their higher price.

Duffle Bag - Medium - Navy

Cost: $75-$695, available at Filson

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Top 5 Wedding Trends for 2016

As we wrap up 2015 and head into 2016, we cannot help but be excited about another wonderful year of Woodmark weddings! Here at the Woodmark, every wedding is as unique as the couple planning it. Still, we are inspired by these top 5 trends and cannot wait to work with each and every bride and groom to help bring their dream day to life.

We hope these ideas fuel your planning process! If you'd like to chat further about weddings at our lakefront property near Seattle, please call 425.827.1986.

1. Naked Cakes: A modern version of the traditional tiered wedding cake, naked cakes are both simple and beautiful. They can be dressed up or down depending on their toppings and the flavors can still be fully customized.

Chocolate Naked Wedding Cake with Red and Pink Rose Peony Flowers

Photo: Amy Carlston Photography,

Strawberry Naked Wedding Cake with Flamingo Topper

Photo: By The Robinsons, 

Two-Tiered Naked Carrot Cake with Fresh Flowers Naked Wedding Cakes

Photo: Laura Ivanova Photography,

2. Metallics: Everyone loves a little sparkle. From decorative elements to invitations and paper goods, there are many ways to incorporate shine into your special day. According to Bridal Guide, the most requested metallic shades for 2016 are warm tones like rose and copper.

wedding invitation

Photo: Wedding Paper Divas, 

Photo: Midwest Bride

Dusk and Copper - Modern Metallic Wedding Inspiration with Slate and Dusty Miller | See More:

Photo: Hey Wedding Lady

3. Rose Quartz & Serenity: For 2016, Pantone chose two colors to represent the top trends: Rose Quartz & Serenity. These dreamy pastel hues are absolutely perfect for weddings and can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways to suit your unique style. 

Photos: Style Me Pretty

4. Floral Crowns: Floral crowns are not a new concept, though are very popular. The Knot gives an excellent history lesson on flower crowns and their various meanings over time. Today, they have become a symbol of love and celebration and they're very easy to personalize. 

Whimsical and Wonderful Flower Crowns

Photo:  Bright Floral Headdress from 100 Layer CakeChic Vintage Brides

Flower Crown


Photo: Bohemian Floral Crown (with Braid) from {MAG}Rouge Issue 4Chic Vintage Brides

Philomene Silk Flower Halo from Mignonne Handmade

Photo: Mignonne HandmadeChic Vintage Brides

5. Vintage wedding elements to create a sense of intimacy: The vintage trend is not new, but it's here to stay! Adding timeless elements not only creates an effortless sense of glamour, but it adds an air of romance and can also be very personal. Family heirlooms or other momentos can convey a sense of intimacy in your reception space. Whether you're mixing place settings, using different serveware, incorporating thoughtful vignettes, or other things into the day, the possibilities for integrating vintage or vintage-style items are endless. 

I am going to do this for my wedding...instead of name kyes :):

Photo: Wedding Chicks

blue + white invitations: Serenity Wedding Theme { Pantone Spring 2016 } : #bluewedding

Photo:  magnoliarouge, 

floral arrangements with anemones - photo by Brooke Schultz Photography

Photo:  Brooke Schultz Photography,

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Top 10 Ways to Spend Winter at the Woodmark

Being located in Kirkland, close to Seattle & Bellevue, The Woodmark is a hub for all things holiday in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you're staying with us for one night or five, there's a way to celebrate the season that fits your interests & your budget.

We have plenty of seasonal cheer on property, but for those of you who want to venture out, we've rounded up our top 10 list. Enjoy our complimentary shuttle to those within 5 miles, and grab a complimentary hot cider for those journeys that are a little longer. 

Happy holidaying!


01. Garden D'Lights, Bellevue

Image result for bellevue botanical gardens christmas lights


Garden d’Lights features over ½ million lights which transform the Bellevue Botanical Garden into a blossoming winter wonderland. Stroll through the park with a hot beverage. Make sure to stop in the gift shop for unique ornaments and other holiday items.


Hours: November 28, 2015 through January 2, 2016, 4:30 PM - 9:00 PM every evening (including holidays.)

Admission: $5/person

For more information, visit:


02. Snowflake Lane, The Bellevue Collection, Bellevue


Snowflake Lane at The Bellevue Collection is a holiday spectacle of live toy soldier drummers, exhilarating music, animated snow characters, and glittering lights all surrounded by snow falling every night along Bellevue Way. Join in the festivities and dine and shop before or after at Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place.


Hours: November 27, 2015 - December 24, 2015 nightly at 7:00 PM.

Admission: Free of charge

For more information, visit:


03. Magic Season Ice Arena, Bellevue


Skate and celebrate at the Magic Season Ice Arena, the region's largest open-air holiday ice skating experience! This beloved Magic Season tradition in Bellevue Downtown Park is a classic activity for kids and kids at heart.


Hours: Vary, open November 27, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Admission: $12 including skate rental, $9 including skate rental for children 8 years and under

For more information, visit:


04. Carillon Point Christmas Ships Parade, Kirkland

 Image: Lisa Merrill

Watch the awe-inspiring Christmas Ships! Experience this Northwest tradition your family won’t want to miss! Bundle up as we gather along the shoreline to view the sparkling ships. With our favorite Christmas tunes from The Dickens Carolers in the air, enjoy warm fire pits with roast and toast s’mores. There will be kids’ activities, warm refreshments and photos with Santa himself!


Hours: December 22nd, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Admission: Free of charge, snacks and beverages are available for purchase

For more information visit:


05. The Nutcracker, McCaw Hall, Seattle


Enjoy the holiday season with Pacific Northwest Ballet's new holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™! Featuring glorious new designs by celebrated author/illustrator Ian Falconer (Olivia the Pig), the mighty PNB Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s timeless score, and PNB’s incredible Company of 48 dancers dazzling in new and familiar roles—George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is sure to delight, all in the magic of McCaw Hall.


For more information, including dates and ticket prices, visit:


06. Candy Cane Lane, Seattle

ImageMichiworm via flickr

Many Seattle-area neighborhoods go all out for the holidays, but there’s none more adorably decorated than the row of 1920s-era Tudors lining Candy Cane Lane. With lights, music and moving objects, this sweet neighborhood has been a Seattle holiday institution for more than six decades. Grab hot chocolate and walk or drive through, then follow with dinner and holiday shopping at nearby University Village.


Hours: December 5th, 2015 - December 31st, 2015, from 4:00 PM - 11:00 PM (open until midnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)

Admission: Free of charge

For more information, visit:


07.  WildLights, Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle



Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo puts on a spectacular event with over 600,000 energy-efficient LED lights recreating animals and wild places. They even have their own top 10 things to do while there.


Hours: November 27, 2015 - January 3, 2016, 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Admission: $9.95 adults, $6.95 children, 2 and under free.

For more information and tickets, visit:


08. SAM Lights - A Winter Evening of Art, Music, & Lights, Seattle

 Luminaria on the z-path at Olympic Sculpture Park

On December 17, Seattle Art Museum is illuminating the Olympic Sculpture Park with hundreds of lights and luminarias. Make art, listen to music, sip a hot drink, grab a sweet bite, and take in the sights. Come wearing your best light-inspired ensemble and become a part of the art experience. 


Hours: December 17, 2015, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Admission: Free of charge

For more information and to RSVP, visit: 


09. Winterfest, Seattle Center, Seattle


Seattle Center comes alive with Winterfest, a wonderland filled with holiday decor, a winter train & village, an ice rink, Saturday ice sculpting, and lively weekend performances.


Hours: November 27th, 2015 - December 31st, 2015 from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM (closed at 4 PM December 24th, closed December 25th)

Admission: Free of charge

For more information, visit:


10. New Year's Eve at Chihuly Garden and Glass


Ring in the New Year at Chihuly Garden and Glass where you’ll dine, dance and delight in the most extraordinary view of Seattle’s most iconic fireworks display through the glass ceiling.  The New Year’s Eve pARTy includes a tour through the Exhibition, delicious appetizers and desserts in the stunning Glasshouse, dancing to the Michael Benson Band, and a champagne toast at midnight while you watch the fireworks surround you through the glass. 


Hours: December 31st, 2015, 8:00 PM, to January 1st, 2016, 1:00 AM

Admission: $200 including tax and gratuity

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:





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