matcha white chocolate fondue

today is our one month anniversary!!! only 11 more to go before we get to eat our cake. this first month has been so much fun: i've doubled my cheese intake, we've planned our castle-y honeymoon, and even though i haven't officially changed my last name yet, my favorite thing to do is sign us both in at the town fitness center under nick and molly hagen. (i'm afraid that if i use molly hagen for anything more official than that i'll get arrested or something so i really relish in the gym sign-in.)

i've yet to get my dress preserved and there are still sprinkles strewn about our yard. the other day when we were at the ice skating rink and "boom clap" came on, we giggled a little giggle because that was one of our wedding dance songs. 

ok i'll stop being mushy now. 

this weekend we had a fondue party! i've somehow ended up with a surplus of fondue pots and since we're leaving for the alps in less than two weeks (!!!), we figured that a fondue party would be an appropriate way to get excited. this matcha white chocolate fondue is creamy and white chocolatey with a nice green tea vibe and i'm posting it before our cheese fondue because dessert first always. 


matcha white chocolate fondue

ingredients

1 tsp aiya cooking grade matcha

1/2 c heavy cream

8 oz white chocolate, chopped

dipping things: pretzel rods, strawberries, marshmallows, cake 

clues

sift matcha into a saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of the cream. whisk together until no lumps remain. whisk in the remaining cream. add the white chocolate and heat over medium low heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts. pour into your fondue pot and enjoy! 

 


-yeh!

this post is sponsored by aiya matcha! all opinions are my own.

chocolate hazelnut cake with vanilla hazelnut buttercream

sometimes living on a farm feels like living in one great big jungle gym. there's tons of exploring to be done, secret forts (err-- cake houses) to be built, rogue patches of rhubarb to pick, and things to climb on. a small round bowl-cut 1993 version of myself would have given anything to hang out on this farm. i was always getting into trouble climbing on our piano and on the fancy statues at ravinia. (in junior high this manifested itself in an indoor rock climbing phase and the aol screen name of roxclimber1. *i know*)

these days it's usually eggboy and eggdad that do the climbing. they climb up into grain bins and onto trucks and tractors for all sorts of reasons, but by far the coolest climbing thing on our farm is a 110 foot grain leg. (here's a visual. the tallest part is the leg, and the things around it are bins.) there are stairs all the way up, and currently there are christmas lights on it to make it look like a candy cane.

but when i say it's the coolest climbing thing, i actually mean it's the scariest climbing thing. i went up there once and it was enough. it was super windy and it sort of felt like being at the top of a roller coaster, only on a roller coaster you're strapped in, so...

the eggparents love it though! they climb up and down when they're preparing for hiking trips, and sometimes they use it as some sort of nutso party trick. i'm pretty sure that some of our wedding guests went up there past dark. oh goodness, i could never do that.

since the lights are up this year, apparently climbing up at night is a hotter ticket than normal, so eggdad commissioned me to make this cake for a darned grain leg climbing party. apparently he's having friends over and we're (they're) going to put coveralls on, climb the grain leg all together, and then come back down and eat cake. sounds horrifying. but you know me: any excuse to make a cake.

squirrels climb, squirrels like nuts, i've never eaten an acorn though, so here's a chocolate hazelnut cake with a marzipan squirrel! it's super lovely and nutty and it has a vanilla hazelnut buttercream filling. it's totally half-able or cupcake-able, and if you'd prefer another marzipan critter, mr. squirrel will be sad but he'll get over it.


chocolate hazelnut cake with vanilla hazelnut frosting

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake

ingredients

cake:

1 c raw unsalted hazelnuts, plus more for decorating

1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/4 c flour

1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 c milk

1/2 c vegetable or canola oil

1 tb vanilla extract

3/4 c boiling water

frosting:

1 lb unsalted butter, softened

4 2/3 c powdered sugar

a good pinch of kosher salt

1 tb vanilla extract

decorating:

marzipan kneaded with food coloring, cut into cute shapes

clues

cake:

preheat oven to 350.

grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

place the hazelnuts in a food processor and grind them until you have small crumbs. measure out 1/4 cup of the crumbs and set them aside for the filling.

pour the remaining crumbs into a large bowl and whisk in the rest of the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients except for the boiling water. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then stir in the boiling water. it will be a very thin batter. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn them onto a greased cooling rack.

frosting:

use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. measure out one cup of the frosting and transfer it to a small bowl. fold in the reserved 1/4 cup of ground hazelnuts. 

assembly:

level your cake layers and spread the top of one of them with the hazelnutty frosting. place the other layer on top, and then frost all over with the remaining frosting. decorate with marzipan cutouts, crushed hazelnuts, sprinkles, or whatever else you'd like!

enjoy! 


mac + cheese party!!!!

this weekend we took our imaginary little delorean back to the 90s for some fruit by the foot, neon accessories, a synchronized skating competition at the town ice rink (what!), and a party in celebration of the only food that i would eat for a bulk of the 90s: macaroni and cheese. even though i totally forgot to wear light-up sneakers and make lisa frank goodie bags, it was fantastic.

i set up a little bar with two kinds of pasta, cheesy roux, mix-ins, and toppings, and had my friends fill up cute mini cocottes before we stuck them in the oven to bake. those who wanted to fully relive the 90s in the form of hot dog mac and cheese with extra cheese and ketchup could (that would be me), and those who scoffed at the hot dog idea and wanted the healthier option of whole wheat pasta, vegetables, a teensy bit of cheese, and a sprinkling of za'atar could (oh hey, eggboy). 

while the mac and cheese baked, we had wine and salads and discussed the pros and cons of putting ranch dressing in our mac. have you ever done that?? i'm a new convert, it's so creamy and tangy! however, we did conclude that you can put pretty much anything in a pot of cheese and pasta and you won't really screw it up. except sprinkles. funfetti mac and cheese might get weird. 


here was our menu:

for noshing // a simple mixed greens salad, so we could at least try to be healthy with all of this mac and cheese.

main course // basic cheddar mac and cheese (recipe here)

toppings // cut up hot dogs, broccoli florets, peas, chopped red bell peppers, everything bagel spice, za'atar, gomasio, crushed red pepper, sriracha, ketchup, ranch, breadcrumbs, black pepper, and parmesan.

dessert // fruit by the foot, gushers, fruit roll ups, rice krispie treats :)

to sip // kendall-jackson avant red blend


here are some tips for throwing your own mac + cheese party:

1. go completely crazy with mix-ins. i think next time i'd like to add chopped apples, crushed walnuts for a topping instead of breadcrumbs, bacon, pesto, tater tots... the possibilities have no end!

2. toss your pasta in olive oil so that it doesn't stick together while it's sitting out. this isn't totally necessary if you cook your pasta right before guests arrive, but if you'd like to cook it earlier in the day, toss it in a tablespoon or two of olive oil, let it cool, and then keep it covered and in the fridge until party time.

3. you can prepare your cheese sauce an hour or so in advance. keep it on the stove on low, and stir it often so that a film doesn't form on top. ideally, it's best to keep it on the stove on low even as guests are dishing up, but if you're going to use it immediately and want to have everything set up on one table, you can put it out on a trivet.

5. pre-heat your oven to 375 in time for when guests arrive. i found that baking our little cocottes for 15-20 minutes did the trick. you can certainly turn the broiler on to get some more color on the tops, but i didn't because i am terrified of the broiler. 

6. if you don't have mini cocottes or other little oven safe dishes, you can nix the baking step all together. for this route, cook the pasta right before it's time to dish up, and whereas for a baked mac you'd want your pasta pretty al dente, cook your pasta fully so that it's ready to eat.

7. have snacks and drinks ready for while the mac is baking. and keep them on the lighter/healthier side since mac and cheese is so darn filling. (same goes for dessert! save the rich chocolate cake for a salad party.)

-yeh!

thanks so much to kendall-jackson for sponsoring this post!!!! all opinions are my own!!