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).

a spoonful of sugar... a spoonful of special.

a spoonful of sugar... a spoonful of special.


You have seen them out there: individually cellophane wrapped chocolate covered nut-sprinkled spoons. But for the price of $10 each, I figured it worth my time to make my own. Besides, it isn't that difficult to melt chocolate and cover a spoon. And if you do---and present it as a hostess or teacher gift---you will certainly gain accolades. Oh, it was nothing, you will say. They will be impressed and not believe you, they will feel rightly special, and you shall feel appropriately smug.

It was nothing in terms of time and effort; but it was something in the gesture and delivery: a spoonful of special.

Buy plastic spoons. Or if you choose: use antique spoons, buy individual silver spoons from a kitchen store, go trendy vintage or for top-shelf special, use heirloom spoons from grandma's collection. But get spoons. If plastic, pick gray or black, red or green for the season. Make peppermint bark, or melt chocolate and drizzle on contrasting chocolate, then drop on chards of peppermint or candied nuts.The truth is: this gift is ALL about the packaging. Wrap in a special box, on a simple melamine plate, in cellophane, with a bow. By all means, add a bow to the top of the spoon. The goal here is: you are special. It brings the silver spoon treaty to a whole new level: this one is sugar-coated. You want a coffee? How about a chocolate toffee covered, bow-topped, melt-into-your-drink-and-your-mouth spoon to go with that?

Have you ever had a chocolate covered spoon? If not, then by all means make one for yourself: the chocolate is melted, the spoon is dipped, the chocolate hardens on the spoon. Sprinkle on some crushed candy cane, or toffee. Stir into your next cup of coffee or hot chocolate. (Chop up chocolate into 1/2 inch cubes, melt in microwave in 30 second increments; stir vigorously between each 30 second interval; don't burn the chocolate).

I made peppermint bark again this year. We all adore it; it is so simple to make, it hurts. My twist this year was to dip spoons into the just-melted bark to make 'peppermint bark spoons.' Then I drizzled some melted dark chocolate over, tied on a bow and attached gift cards. I also melted dark chocolate, dipped in some spoons and---while still wet---sprinkled some candied pecans onto the spoon.

Today at lunch, I handed individually wrapped spoons to two friends. They are special friends, and sometimes that message is nice to deliver by the sugary spoonful.

Happy stirring!

What's circular, dotted with holly, and green all over?

What's circular, dotted with holly, and green all over?

The same yet different: Green Bean Casserole