February Recipes: Sweet Treats


Steven Sessamen

Chocolate mint, red velvet and sticky bun confections enrolled into a festive, timely display of love.

February 19th is National Chocolate-Mint Day, a day to celebrate the success that this delicious pair have together.

Before they were served as sweets both mint and chocolate were used for medicinal purposes. Chocolate was used to produce serotonin to improve the immune system and lower fevers. Mint was used to help digestion and make other medicine, like chocolate, more appealing.

Mint-Chocolate sweets would not be mass-produced until the 1800s when York began producing its famous Peppermint Patties.

In honor of National Chocolate-Mint Day, here is a great cookie recipe with the dynamic duo of chocolate and mint:

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

2 egg yolks

16 drops of green food dye

2 1/4 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3 tbsp whipping cream

3 tbsp solid butter

36 halves of creme de menthe candies

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the softened butter and sugar until fluffy; then mix in the peppermint, egg, and food dye. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Space 1-inch wide dough balls two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Put a small well into the center of the dough and bake for ten minutes. Let the cookies completely cool.

Mix and microwave the chocolate chips, cream, and softened butter until melted. Put about a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture into the wells of the cookies. Insert a candy half into the well. Let the chocolate settle.

February 20th is National Muffin Day. First originating in the 900s, the muffin, or moofin as it was called, was simply a variation of a biscuit. The muffin would not get its modern shape until the mid-1800s. It is also at this time the cupcake would also take its shape.

Here is a great muffin recipe to celebrate:

Red Velvet Muffins

4 oz of softened cream cheese

18 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of flour

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp red food dye

1 tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the cheese, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients except for the confection sugar. Distribute the mixture into a dozen paper-lined muffin tin holes. Place one teaspoon of the cheese mixture into the center of the muffin mixture. Bake for fifteen minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let muffins cool. Sprinkle it with confectioners sugar.

February 21st is recognized as National Sticky Bun Day. The term sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are often interchanged, but sticky buns are distinct from cinnamon rolls in a few ways.

Sticky buns are of German descent and were first called schnecken and have nuts. Cinnamon rolls are Swedish and are called kanelbulle, don’t have nuts, and are traditionally baked together in a pan.

Caramel Sticky Buns

1/4 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of brown sugar

2 tbsp of light corn syrup

1/4 chopped pecans

1 tbsp of sugar

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 roll of Pillsbury biscuit dough

Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a muffin tin. Mix well the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and pecans. Distribute the mixture into the muffin tin holes. Cut the biscuit dough into 60 pieces and coat in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon. Place 5 slices of dough into each hole. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the tin onto waxed paper or a prepared surface.