OK. This one took a little while; I apologize. But after a relatively deep birthday boy post, I thought it was only polite to give you something lighter. Birthday recipes!
My Aunt Jan and I share similar philosophies when it comes to birthdays: work around a theme. Boone’s first birthday was train-themed, down to a (terribly) detailed homemade train cake. Two was Cars, three was Toy Story, four was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (even though Boone had not and hasn’t since seen any TMNT; he just thought the turtles “looked cool”), five was Scooby Doo, and six was party. The party was at a bounce house, and we worked loosely off of a “birthday party” theme, with primary colors and funfetti cake mix. It was simple and good.
In his short history of birthdays, Jonah had a whale themed birthday for his first (get it? Jonah and the whale? Hilarious) and, for his second birthday, the theme was Mickey Mouse (though if we are being technical — and I am — my true inspiration was the Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland in Disney World. It was easier to say “Mickey Mouse”).
No matter what the theme, we have some traditions we simply cannot pass up year after year. They are beloved (by us) and feel like a very special treat, since they only happen a limited number of times throughout the year. I don’t care if you ignore or adopt these recipes — but I hope you have something special for birthdays that make the celebrations feel a little bit like magic. The days can occasionally be hard; the birthdays should be fun.
No, I’m not referencing Harry Potter. I see why you would think that. In our world, quaffles can refer to both Quidditch and birthdays. For birthdays, they are funfetti cake-waffles — ca-waffles — quaffles — waffles made out of boxed funfetti cake mix. They are usually topped with ice cream, sprinkles, whipped cream, and/or frosting. They are incredibly sweet and serve no nutritive purpose. But they’re FUN.
I didn’t invent the quaffle (or the spelling, THANKS, JK ROWLING). I had my first bite of quaffle as a college student. I believe the sugary concoction was created on Fat Tuesday; some people binge on paczkis, we binged on waffles made out of cake. When I told my husband about this, he was instantly smitten. Ever since, we’ve celebrated birthdays with quaffles, diabetes be darned. (Moderation. Moderation.)
OK, it’s simple.
1. Buy a box of funfetti cake mix.
2. Prepare funfetti cake mix according to package direction.
3. Pour in preheated waffle maker as you would with waffle batter.
4. Remove when waffle iron dings/changes colors/does whatever your waffle iron does to let you know it’s done.
5. Cover with sugar in various forms!
As a proud child of the 90s, I have a special place in my heart for Dunkaroos, the cookies-and-frosting-dip snack that made the 90s the innocent, sweet place it was. Somewhere along the line, someone thought “maybe kids shouldn’t have kangaroo-shaped cookies with a frosting dip as a snack” and discontinued the product, breaking the dessert-loving hearts of so many now-millennials. But fear not — there is a way to rebuild! Or recreate, really. We’ve done fake-dunkaroos as a birthday snack for school for the last three years now. They’re easy, fun, and unique. Try them. Embrace your inner wild child and watch an episode of Fuller House while you make them. You’ll be transported to a simpler time.
1. Combine one 8 oz package cream cheese (softened), one small tub whipped cream, and one package dry funfetti cake mix.
2. Serve with animal crackers. (Bonus points if you find kangaroos.)
I like to serve the dip in the tiny plastic condiment containers alongside about half a serving of regularly sized animal crackers. Clear party favor bags are unnecessary, but a nice touch.
However you celebrate birthdays, do something to make them special. Special doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be a grand, show-stopping gesture. It just needs to be something you and your family love.
Happiest of birthdays to you and yours!