5 Treats to Make with Seniors This Valentine’s Day in Knoxville

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means love is in the air — and, more importantly, chocolate will be on sale soon! While you wait to pick up a discounted box of truffles, treat your sweetheart (or your own sweet tooth) with these handmade treats.

1. Boiled Cookies

Knoxville residents know and love The Whitestone Inn, a beautiful local bed and breakfast. What they might not know is that the Whitestone Inn has generously made many of its signature recipes available to the public! When you’ve got a chocolate craving but don’t want to bother with an oven, try this unique and user-friendly recipe for boiled cookies.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Bring the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk to a rolling boil and remove from heat.
  • Add peanut butter, oatmeal, and vanilla.
  • Mix well and drop by rounded teaspoon on wax paper.
  • Let cookies dry at room temperature.

2. Spiced Carrot Cake

This cake is a favorite of Knoxville local Jaris Dykas, whose mother used to make it for her birthday. Jaris’ recipe, originally posted on TasteofHome.com, is perfect for those who are especially hands-on in the kitchen. If you can’t get enough of “The Great British Baking Show,” this one is for you!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (about 6 medium)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottoms of two greased 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper; grease paper.
  • Beat first five ingredients until well blended. In another bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; stir into egg mixture. Fold in carrots.
  • Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
  • For frosting, beat cream until soft peaks form. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth; gradually fold in whipped cream.
  • If cakes are domed, trim tops with a serrated knife. Spread frosting between layers and over top of cake. Refrigerate leftovers.

3. Whitestone Delight Pie

Here’s another delicious bake-free recipe from The Whitestone Inn. This layered pie will delight fans of pecan, coconut, and caramel — a perfect way to try a twist on turtle candies this Valentine’s Day!


  • 2 9-inch deep dish pie shells
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 16 ounces whipping cream — whipped
  • 6 ounces caramel topping
  • 6 ounces chocolate syrup


  • Melt butter in skillet and saute coconut and pecans until lightly browned.
  • Cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth; continue beating as you add whipping cream.
  • Pour 1/4 cup cream cheese filling into each pie shell.
  • Top with 1/4 coconut/pecan mixture.
  • Drizzle well with caramel syrup.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Wrap pie in foil and place in freezer for at least 4-8 hours.

4. Five-Cup Salad

College football season is months away, but that’s no reason to deny yourself tailgating snacks! Check out this not-too-sweet treat shared with VIP Knoxville by Ali Sumner, girlfriend of UT Knoxville Assistant Football Coach Brian Neidermeyer.


  • 1 cup mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained


  • Mix everything. Add oranges last. They are the most delicate.

5. Flourless Black Bean Brownies

These flourless brownies are great for the gluten-free older adult in your life, or for anyone who just wants to branch out and try something different. WVLT’s Chef Walter shares this delicious twist on the traditional fudgy treat.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment or spray with oil.
  • Blend all ingredients except for unmelted chocolate in a high-powered blender until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in chocolate and pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

  • Use all chocolate chips if you don’t have a dark chocolate bar.
  • Cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate, and chocolate chips gives these brownies a rich chocolate flavor.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator and heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave before serving.


Not only is making these treats fun and delicious, but hobbies such as experimenting in the kitchen have also been shown to be beneficial for seniors, particularly those with memory loss. At Arbor Terrace of Knoxville, we’re committed to providing our residents with a fresh approach to senior living, including days full of hobbies and activities. We also provide yummy goodies all year long! Get in touch today to talk more about how we can provide your senior loved one with the best possible senior living experience.

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Karen Emerson

About the Author: Karen Emerson

Karen Emerson joined the Arbor Terrace of Knoxville team in March 2003 to work part-time in the Business Office. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of Business Management. Karen became the Executive Director in November 2015 and is a licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Her door is always open to assist residents, family members, and staff.

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