Valentine’s Day Treats: 3 Valentine Themed Sweet Treats!

Earlier this week we shared three different tutorials and resources for making amazing Valentine’s Day crafts. Today we’ve got three recipes to share for some decadent and beautiful Valentine’s Day themed goodies. Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day S’mores Cookie Sticks – This simple and adorable recipe comes from Haniela’s food blog. Who doesn’t love s’mores? And can you imagine dipping them into a cup of homemade hot chocolate? Yum! Her recipe includes homemade graham cracker cookies, but if you don’t have the time for that you could always use store bought graham crackers. Check out this recipe and some of her others while your at it.

Valentine’s Day S’more Cookie Sticks – Image & Recipe by Haniela’s.

Ice Cream Heart Sandwiches – If warm treats aren’t your thing you could give these cute ice cream sandwiches by 36th Avenue a try! These sandwiches are ready in just minutes, so they are perfect if you’re crunched for time.

Ice Cream Heart Sandwiches – Image & Recipe by The 36th Avenue.

Heart Shaped S’more Pops – So if you aren’t into dipping your s’mores than maybe you’ll enjoy eating them on a stick? This recipe and beautiful treat comes from the blog In Between Laundry. It’s a pretty easy recipe to follow, especially if you used store bought graham crackers!

Heart Shaped S’more Pops – Image & Recipe by In Between Laundry.

Do you usually bake or make anything special on Valentine’s Day?

Bake A Better Breakfast: Gluten-Free & Vegan Blueberry-Banana Muffins

Image from Food Doodles.

Looking for a new healthy breakfast recipe? Or something to take to school or the office? We’ve got the perfect muffin recipe for you. These blueberry-banana muffins are vegan and gluten-free! Oh and did we mention they are largely guilt-free because we are eliminating fatty oils and using good-for you ingredients like organic blueberries, bananas, and flax! Give these a try, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour (1/2 brown rice and 1/2 gluten free baking mix – like Bob’s Red Mill) If you don’t have brown rice flour, 2 cups of gluten-free mix will do
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or stevia in the raw
  • 2 ripe organic bananas, mashed well
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave, or honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup almond or rice milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (add after mixing wet and dry ingredients together)
  • 1 cup organic blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the muffin pan with vegan cooking spray or butter or line with cupcake liners.
  2. In a bowl mash the bananas well. Then add the additional wet ingredients from the apple sauce through vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients from the flour through the sugar and mix well.
  4. Slowly stir together the wet and dry ingredients until well blended. Then add the apple cider vinegar.
  5. Fold in the blueberries
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups about 1/3 of the way full.
  7. Bake 22-25 minutes in preheated oven or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins are tasty and healthy. A great snack or breakfast to keep around the house, and perfect for sharing with friends. Have a happy Tuesday!

What are your favorite kind of muffins?

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

 

Our first pumpkin pie completely from scratch! Not bad!

 

This year for Christmas dinner we upped the ante and made a pumpkin pie and pie crust totally from scratch. Originally we were intimidated by the idea of making a crust from scratch, but really it wasn’t bad at all! It takes only a few minutes and a couple of ingredients! The keys to making a great pie crust from scratch are:

  • Use precise measurements for ingredients
  • Add ice water by the 1/2 tbsp to achieve moist clumps
  • Flour your rolling surface and pin really well
  • Roll pie crust from the middle outward lifting up (not pressing down hard)
  • Don’t over roll the crust
  • Roll the crust to about 2 inches larger than the diameter of your pan

But let’s get down to the good stuff… the recipe. We adapted a recipe from Paula Deen for the filling. We cut back the sugar, added a few spices, and swapped low fat cream cheese for full fat cream cheese. We thought the filling came out PERFECT!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Pie Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger

Directions for Pumpkin Pie Filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer.
  2. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined.
  3. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined.
  4. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined.
  5. Finally, add the vanilla and spices and beat until incorporated.

For the crust we followed Martha Stewart’s recipe and it came it just great! This crust is made with just butter no shortening, and the key is to use very cold butter!

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, adding increments of 1/2 tbsp ice water if needed

Directions for Pie Crust:

  1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar several times in a food processor to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time). Do not overprocess, this is key!
  3. Turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Before baking, unwrap dough and place the dough on a large well floured wooden surface. Roll dough to a 14-inch round (for a 9 inch pie plate). Then carefully lift the dough (it helps to have someone to push the plate under the dough as you lift) and place in the pie pan. Trim the excess edges and use a fork or your fingers to pinch the crust.

Assemble & Bake the Pie:

  1. To make the pie preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Pour pie filling into the prepared crust above.
  2. Bake pie for 15 minutes in preheated oven. Then drop the temperature to 350 degrees Farenheit and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. We ended up baking for 44 additional minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 2 hours. If you want to speed up the cooling process place a warm pie over a container of ice or refrigerate once it cools a little.

This pie was so delicious! It was great for Christmas dinner, but honestly would make for the perfect treat at any gathering, or even just a special dinner at home!

Gluten Free Brownies

Image from Comfy Belly

Today we’ve got a recipe for delicious, cakey gluten-free brownies adapted from the book Gluten Free Baking Classics! These are so tasty nobody will even notice they don’t contain any wheat. We whipped up a batch of these for a joint birthday party this past weekend (but forgot to snap pictures), and they were a hit. These are great for birthday parties, pot lucks, or the holidays. You can add mix-ins according to your preferences. Chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, or caramel sauce make nice additions! Oh and did we mention we seriously cut the sugar on these too by using stevia in place of sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Mix
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 ozs. unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 ozs. semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup stevia in the raw
  • 2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, or chocolate chips, or dried fruit, or a combination.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit, 350 if you are at altitude. Position rack in lower-middle oven, and grease an 8-inch square pan.
  2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a bowl, then set aside.
  3. Over low heat, melt chocolate and butter in a heavy sauce pan. Once melted, remove the pan from heat and whisk in stevia and vanilla.
  4. Whisk in eggs, one at a time until mixture becomes smooth and glossy.Add the flour mixture and whisk until incorporated. If you are adding nuts or chocolate chips add them and stir to combine.
  5. Pour batter into prepared 8-inch square pan and place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely, then cut & serve!

What is your favorite brownie recipe? And do you like dense or cakey brownies? We can’t make up our minds.

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Our Favorite Cookie In A Jar Recipes

Cookies are amazing any time of the year, but fresh baked cookies at Christmas time takes amazing to an all new level. If you are looking for great cookie recipes to bake up for a party or searching for a great gift idea we think you’ll love these recipes we have collected from around the web. Some of the recipes even accommodate special dietary needs (vegan & gluten free).

Cranberry Hootycreeks from All Recipes

Cranberry Hootycreeks – Recipe from All Recipes.

These cookies look great in the jar and taste delightful. You could even change out the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts to suit your personal tastes. Dried currants, walnuts, & white chocolate chips could be a lovely combination! This recipe would make a great gift for a neighbor, coworker, or as a hostess/host gift if you are visiting family or friends over the holidays.

Julia’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from All Recipes.

Chocolate chip cookies rank at the top of most people’s favorite cookie lists. Simple, chocolatey goodness. This recipe is very delicious and again provides opportunity for experimentation (different kinds of chocolate chips, or swapping chocolate chips for M&M’s etc..). If you aren’t sure what cookies your friend would want, chocolate chip is a safe bet.

Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – Recipe from Oh She Glows

This recipe promises thin, crisp, and chewy chocolate chip cookies that even those on the most restricted diets can enjoy. But don’t get us wrong, these cookies aren’t really a compromise. They are kind of amazing. Angela’s recipe uses a mix of almond & oat flour to create this crowd pleasing cookie. Scroll to the bottom of her post to see the recipe!

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies From Oh She Glows

Gingerbread Men Cookie Mix In A Jar – Recipe from Food For My Family

These gingerbread men are tasty and adorable. We love the idea of attaching cookie cutters to the jar to really complete the gift! We love this recipe for a holiday staple! Shaina even included free printables—holiday gifting can’t get much easier!

Gingerbread Men In A Jar Recipe from Food For My Family

Have you ever given cookies in a jar before? What are your favorite recipes?

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Bring On The Pumpkin This Thanksgiving with Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread!

Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread – Image by Luxury Recipes

There are a few things we love here at Make A Birthday Wish. First and foremost we love giving, and anything birthdays comes in a close second. If you read our blog regularly you also might pick up on the fact that we love pumpkin! And not just at this time a year. Pumpkin is such a nutritional treat, and it definitely deserves to be in more than just pie this Thanksgiving. So today we have a recipe for Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread to share with you!

Pumpkin Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup organic dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. n a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until moistened, then add the dried cranberries and stir until combined.
  4. Knead dough a few times by hand, then shape into a loaf and place on the prepared baking sheet. Score the top of the loaf.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool for at least 30 minutes prior to slicing.

What are your favorite pumpkin dishes for Thanksgiving?

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things: Cupcakes

This week we have been craving cupcakes, and with a mission of bringing birthday cheer to the children of San Jose, it’s no surprise! So today we wanted to share a few of our favorite things—some inspirational pictures from around the web of beautiful and delicious cupcakes! We hope you enjoy and get inspired to create some fantastic cupcakes for your next event!

Hippo Bubble Bath Cupcake from The Cupcake Blog

Tiramisu Cupcake from Cupcake Project

The Muppets Cupcakes from Allison Mae

Mustache Cupcakes from Coco Cakes Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes from Bakerella

Owl Cupcakes from Flickr

Owl Cupcakes from Buzzfeed

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes from Une-duex Senses

Skull Cupcakes for Halloween by My Recipes

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes from Cake & Allie

Have you made an amazing cupcake, or do you have a recipe or image to share? We’d love to see them!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes for Fall Birthdays!

Pumpkin cupcake filled with caramel and topped...

Pumpkin cupcake filled with caramel and topped with cream cheese buttercream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With summer leaving and fall beginning we are excited about fall flavored cupcakes! Today we have a recipe for gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting—yum! Enjoy these at your next fall birthday bash, or just because it’s fall!

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin purĂ©e
  • 2 cups Red Mill’s gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can make it by combining 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar and letting it stand for 10 minutes before mixing in)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup raisins (your favorite variety—we love golden raisins here)

Frosting Ingredients

  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cupcake Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. In a mixer (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), beat the butter, molasses, brown sugar, and honey together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (Start on low-speed and increase to high-speed to get the mixture light and fluffy.)
  3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and pumpkin purée. Beat until well mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients—the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the pecans and raisins.
  6. Arrange paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin. Spoon the batter into the cupcake paper cups, filling them close to the top of the cups. Bake about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven to a rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions:

  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter or margarine, orange peel, and orange juice until creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar until blended and smooth.
  2. Spread icing on cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with walnuts!

What is your favorite fall flavor?

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Red Velvet 3 Ways!

Today we have a collection of 3 red velvet Recipes, one each for brownies, cookies, and cakes. Let the red velvet mania begin! Up first is a traditional red velvet cake from the blog Pinch My Salt! Her recipe and tutorial are beautifully done and sure to help you create the perfect red velvet cake. Simply click on the recipe title or picture to see the original recipe and tutorial.

Red Velvet Cake by Pinch My Salt

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies by Two Peas & Their Pod

Red Velvet Brownies (Original post by Plain Chicken, recipe by Southern Living)

What is your favorite way to enjoy red velvet?

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Apple Inspired Appetizer: Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Points

With Gravenstein apples just coming into season we felt inspired to share a recipe featuring the delicious California apple! This would make a great appetizer for a party or even just a healthy snack to share with little ones. (Picture from The Girl Who Ate Everything).

Ingredients:

  • 2 Kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 Gravenstein – peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 8 oz. fresh blueberries
  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries diced
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. fruit preserves, any flavor you like! We love orange marmalade in this one.
  • 10 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix the kiwis, Gravenstein apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, brown sugar and fruit preserves in a large bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Coat one side of each whole wheat flour tortilla with cooking spray (buttered flavor works nicely). Cut the tortillas into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit salsa.

Of course you don’t have to use Gravenstein apples, or you could change up any of the fruit really and still get great results. What are your favorite apples!

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