The sweetest month

Published 8:00 am Friday, February 10, 2023

February 14 might be the sweetest and most romantic day of the year. Over 100 million Valentine’s Cards are sent to loved ones each year.


Linda: Let’s dig through our sweet recipes. A special dessert is always a welcome after-dinner treat on this heart-filled holiday. Chocolate and cherries or strawberries create a delicious offering.

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Lucy: My Tampa friend, Pat, recently shared a special chocolate and cherry cookie with me that I think children and adults would love. It’s a thumbprint cookie and tastes like a chocolate cherry brownie. 


Linda: I know they are traditionally rolled in nuts. But they are also scrumptious without the nuts, if someone in the family is allergic to them. Everyone loves cookies so that would be a recipe we want to offer.


Lucy: I have good cooks for neighbors and we like to share our recipes. My neighbor, Barbie, offered me a slice of Strawberry Poke Cake. It’s a strange name that is attributed to the way it’s made. Holes are poked in the top and jello is spread over the cake. It seeps down into the cake so when the cake is sliced the red pattern in the cake looks attractive and tempting, plus adds flavor to the cake.


Linda: That would definitely be a perfect ending for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. And also a dessert the whole family would love. Recently I had a phone conversation with my friend, Karen. We’ve been friends since third grade. Growing up on the New York-Canadian Border, our temperatures were often below freezing. Karen and I spent many hours ice skating on the ice rinks around our town.


Lucy: Remember the warming huts at these rinks? They would have a wood stove heating up the hut. We would take our skates off to warm our toes. Then put them back on and head right out for more skating fun.


Linda: Karen now spends her winters in Florida, enjoying the warm sunshine. She mentioned that she was baking Cherry Peekaboos for her grandchildren for Valentine’s Day. The name intrigued me so I asked her for the recipe. The cherries show through the top crust, thus the name Peekaboo.


Lucy: I thought it sounded like a fun dessert so I made some and passed them out to neighbors. Everyone loved them so let’s offer this recipe to celebrate the holiday. Valentine’s Day is coming up so let’s get our recipes out for our readers to enjoy.


Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies



1 cup butter

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

¼ tsp salt

1 egg separated

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped and melted

2 cups flour 1½ cups finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup cherry preserves



  1. Oven 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar, salt, cocoa in a mixer until creamy. 
  2. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat. Add chocolate and flour and mix until combined.In a small dish beat egg white with a tablespoon of water. 
  3. Spread chopped nuts on a plate. Form 1-inch balls of dough and roll in egg white and then nuts.
  4. Place on a cookie sheet fairly close together and press your thumb in the center. 
  5. Bake for 8 minutes and remove from the oven, fill the thumbprint with a 1/4 tsp of jam and return to oven for about 6 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. 

Note: I substituted about 2 ounces of dark chocolate chips which I melted, instead of unsweetened chocolate.



Strawberry Poke Cake



1 box white cake mix (regular size)

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cold water

1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided or whipped cream



  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare cake as directed on on the package and bake in a greased 9×13 pan for 30 minutes
  2. Cool for 15 minutes; poke with a fork at 1/2 inch intervals.
  3. Dissolve one 3 ounce package of any flavored Jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and spoon over the cake in the pan.
  4. Chill for 3-4 hours. Top with whipped topping or cream . Garnish with fresh sliced fruit if desired.



Cherry Peekaboos


Note: a 15×10 pan is needed which is a jelly roll pan. A 9 x 13 pan could be used but the bar is then quite thick.



1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 can (21 ounces each) cherry pie filling


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Gradually add flour.
  2. Spread 3 cups of dough into a greased 15×10 x1-in. baking pan. Spread with pie filling. Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls over filling. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  3. In a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, extracts and enough milk to reach desired consistency; drizzle over top.