Janelle Maiocco


Welcome to my blog. I live in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle on an Urban Farm (w/ five laying hens and a huge garden). I am a trained chef (w/ a certificate in food preservation), taught at a cooking school & like to share 'kitchen hacks' - culinary tips that save time, money & maximize flavor. If that isn't enough, I also run a food+tech startup called Barn2Door.com - a platform to help everyone easily find & buy food directly from farmers, fishers & ranchers (from CSA's to urban farm eggs to 1/2 a grass-fed cow).

recipe for peppermint bark & peppermint ice cream! what is not to love?

recipe for peppermint bark & peppermint ice cream! what is not to love?

candy canesI feel guilty about this recipe for peppermint bark. People inhale it, it tastes of Christmas and looks so impressive all wrapped up with care. If they discover how simple it is to make... I would be found out. It is one of those recipes I had to 'get over' sharing, because it is so simple and yet comes across as such a gourmet gift (the secret is out!). And it isn't just the fancy ribbon and cellophane I wrap it in for annual Christmas gifts: it is addictive good. My kids were begging me to make it, so we did: today. And we are snowed in so we had nobody to gift it to except ourselves---yum, pass the hot chocolate (note to self: bake goodies often when snowed in).

My neighbors have enough class not to beg for my peppermint bark recipe---but after we deliver these specially wrapped packages, they fall all over themselves thanking me and telling me they couldn't wait to receive their bark (you know who you are). And now see, due to this lovely tomato talking blog, you have the recipe for yourselves.

I see little boxes of peppermint bark appearing at Trader Joe's, I get emails from Williams Sonoma telling me it is time to buy theirs, and every time I scoot past a shelf at Starbucks there it is, staring me in the face: more peppermint bark. But guess what? I don't buy it, I make it and now you can too:

Recipe for Peppermint Bark

2 Lbs. white chocolate, cut into slivers (I buy bulk from Trader Joe's) 12 crushed candy canes 1-2 tsp peppermint oil/flavoring

Unless I am oddly lucky every single time I make this, you don't need a double boiler. I just use the microwave. Smooth talk works. Using glass or melamine bowls (I love mine), place chocolate in microwave and heat 30 seconds. Remove and stir vigorously for 10 seconds. Repeat 2 more times. Stir like mad on the last round to remove all lumps, and no lolly-gagging. You can always heat it up more but you can never remove burnt chocolate. Really, it will be fine. My 4th and 5th graders can make it. When it is all melted, stir in candy canes and peppermint. Place on parchment on cookie sheet, spread out to desired thickness (I aim for 1/3 inch) then tap the counter with the tray to smooth top. Place in fridge to harden. I know, too easy. (Oh, and I often halve the recipe for those short-term self-indulgent cravings aka snow days).

reicpe for peppermint barkBy the way, if you don't have one, buy an Ice Cream Maker. I have never gotten past page three in the little pamphlet that comes with it, having gotten addicted to the simplest vanilla ice cream (page 1) that takes me 2 minutes instead of 2 hours to make. It is cheating, really, and the peppermint ice cream (page 3) is a stand-alone favorite in our house (especially when grandpa comes over):

Peppermint Ice Cream 1 cup whole milk 3/4 cup sugar 2 cups cream 1/2 tsp vanilla 1 tsp peppermint oil/flavoring 4 or 5 crushed candy canes

Start ice cream maker, quick throw in milk plus sugar. After 1-2 minutes pour in cream and flavorings. Hold breath. Release breath: you have to wait 25-30 minutes. Crush 4 candy canes, insert into ice cream a few minutes before it is finished. Store in freezer.

And now: let the holidays begin!

BTW in case you are on the hunt for Christmas food gifts; check out my Christmas Cookie Pinterest Board (shared with a pile of really cool bloggers).

Answer: baked omelet, bruschetta & bread crumbs

Answer: baked omelet, bruschetta & bread crumbs

Thanksgiving Orange Rolls

Thanksgiving Orange Rolls