Happy Birthday Pancakes


If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career as a parent, it’s this: It does not take a whole lot to make a kid happy. I knew a mom a while back who had a special favorite pink plate reserved for sick days, so when her daughter was home with the flu, there was at least one bright spot in the day if she had the stomach for a Saltine or two. (Prompting her daughter to once say “I love being home sick!”) I know parents who decorated their 13-year-old daughter’s room with homemade flag banners and crowned her with a paper tiara for her half birthday. (Prompting the 13-year-old daughter to instagram a shot of the whole affair with the caption “I love my parents!”); I know another dad who randomly announces “Carvel Night!” at the dinner table and then bolts with the kids, without cleaning up, to the nearest outpost in order to secure their Flying Saucers and soft serve vanilla on a wafer cone with rainbow sprinkles. (Prompting the mom at that dinner table, who I, ahem, know very well, to say “Are you sure you’re all not just trying to get out of clean-up here?”)

As long as we’re on the topic of sprinkles. These pancakes: They are in Joy the Baker‘s newest book, Over Easy, a gorgeous little collection of recipes devoted to breakfasty brunchy meals and features the kinds of dishes — Buttered-Pecan French Toast, Chicken and Maple Waffle Sandwiches, Brown Butter Banana Bread Doughnuts — where you’re like Yes, those are the foods that make everyone happy. How have I forgotten that? 

I stopped on the Happy Birthday Pancakes photo, though, which are classic fluffy buttermilk numbers, but include the kind of small detail that will yield big birthday memories for a kid: the rainbow sprinkles folded into the batter. So simple, so doable, so sweet.

Even sweeter: A Giveaway! Comment below to be eligible for a free copy of Over Easy. One reader will be chosen at random and contest ends on Wednesday, April 5 at 5:00 pm ET. Thanks Joy!


Happy Birthday Pancakes

SERVES 1

Speckled with rainbow sprinkles and made in a small, stackable batch, they’re a surprise just for the birthday boy or girl.

2⁄ 3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon baking soda
Generous pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 ⁄4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon plus a dash of pure vanilla extract
1 ⁄ 2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
About 1 tablespoon clarified butter (or regular butter) for the pan
2 tablespoons multicolored jimmies (sprinkles to Northeasterners!), plus more for topping

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, butter, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Pour the whole mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Let rest for 10 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream by hand or with a hand mixer for about 5 minutes, until it holds very soft peaks. Add the confectioners’ sugar and a dash of vanilla and beat for about 3 more minutes, until it forms slightly firmer but still spoonable soft peaks.

4. In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt about half of the clarified butter.

5. Just before cooking the pancakes, fold 2 tablespoons of jimmies into the batter. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the skillet. Cook until browned around the edges, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter, adding the rest of the butter to the pan to cook (you should have 6 small pancakes).

6. Stack all of the pancakes on a plate. Top with the whipped cream, sprinkle with more jimmies, light a candle, and sing “Happy Birthday”!

Reprinted from Joy the Baker Over Easy. Copyright © 2017 by Joy the Baker, Inc. Interior and cover photographs by Jon Melendez. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Update: The winner has been notified. (Congrats Heather!) Thanks to everyone who played.

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252 Comments

Shannon H

I would love to win this cookbook – brunch is my favorite, I love Joy the Baker, DALS is pretty great too, and my kids out sprinkles on *everything!*

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Indij@ne

What a fun idea! Thank you so much for sharing!! 🙂 am going to try these for an upcoming birthday weekend! Love DALS!

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Maggie

DALS and Joy the Baker are the two blogs I ALWAYS check no matter what. This mashup makes me so happy. Thank you for the sprinkle inspiration!

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Anu

My daughter’s birthday is coming up in May and these look perfect for birthday breakfast!

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Beth

we are big fans of tiny celebrations. the new book looks inspiring. thanks for the chance!

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Lo

Growing up, birthday pancakes were always in shape of the birthday kid’s initials! Sprinkles would be even sweeter. Looking forward to Joy’s new book!

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MSWR

My kids love pancakes, but I have yet to master the technique. Not sure if I’m getting the pan too hot or being too impatient, or if maybe I need a different pan, but I always seem to end up with some burnt ones and some underdone ones. I’ve resorted to waffles, because the automatic waffle maker takes the guesswork out of when to flip/is it done yet.

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Carol

I had the same experience, until I started using an electric griddle for pancakes. Now, I’m not a fan of single use kitchen items, so this pan has proven to be worth its weight for all manner of fried items (I’m looking at you, chicken cutlets!).

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MSWR

I have an electric griddle that’s wide and flat that I’ve never used. Maybe that would be good for pancakes, but one of the reasons I’ve never used it is the bulk and difficulty of storage mean it’s not easily accessible. Is there another version of electric griddle that has sides you can also use to deep fry?

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MSWR

Now that I think about it, I guess you’re pan-frying those cutlets, which I could do on the electric griddle. It may be worth digging it out of storage to try it out! I want to improve my pancake technique!

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Heather Leigh Fuller

These are so much fun! With no birthdays in the near future I am making them for Easter breakfast for sure!

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Laurie Chaiken

What a good idea!!! I always forget about how simple it is to make something special with sprinkles! I might try some in my next batch of waffles too! Thanks for reminding us to celebrate the little things!

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Erica

We love birthday pancakes, complete with rainbow sprinkles. I also add a little bit of yellow cake mix to the batter. I’m not so sure my kids’ teachers love this tradition after we send them to school, but what can you do? It’s tradition!

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Jill

I love this! Kids really love small gestures and sprinkles are always awesome!

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Kandice Levental

These are adorable! My daughter’s half birthday is this weekend – the perfect idea for a girl who loves her some pancakes and sprinkles!

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Emily

Love these! When asked what kind of cake my son wanted for his second birthday, he shouted “Pancakes!” These would have been perfect!

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Kaelan

YES!!! This is our birthday tradition, my kids look forward to it every year!

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Leslie

The next birthday in my family is my own, so my husband better get to work on these!

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Alyssa McClurg

Some days the only way to save the day is to add some sprinkles and try again tomorrow.

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Monica

Love that the birthday pancakes make just enough for one– extra special!

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Kelsey

Those are just too cute! I would love to be considered for a copy of Joy’s book. Thank you so much!

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Lizzie

It so happens that my birthday is later this week, and now I want sprinkle pancakes for it!

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Charlotte

This looks like a beautiful book with recipes that I would love to make for my family 🙂 fingers crossed!!!!!

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Sarah

This looks like such a fun cookbook! I would love to add it to my collection!

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Katie

Oh my goodness, I love both of these blogs, the juxtaposition is wonderful to see!

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Julie

So sweet. It really is the little things that make kids the happiest. I took my 5 year old with me for a pedicure yesterday–her first. She grinned from ear to ear the entire time.

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Bets

I have a one-year-old and am so excited to start all these family rituals! I’d love a copy of the book to help with that.

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Caitlin

That looks like the best! My kids love sprinkles – plain yogurt with sprinkles? Awesome! It’s dessert!

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Miranda

These pancakes are so fun! My two year old is so excited for his birthday, he’s been talking about it for months! It’s in May so we are getting closer. As his mom, of course, I’m in no rush! Thanks for sharing!

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Sarah Young

These pancakes are adorable! Definitely breaking them out for a birthday celebration.

And I would love to win the cookbook!

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Ashley

I think Joy’s recipes are always infused with so much fun and creativity–I would love to have this book! Thank you too, DALS, for your inspiring, down-to-earth take on family meals. I make the chopped salad from your “Righting the Ship” post alllll the time 🙂

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Andrea Manz

There is a good chance I will be making these pancakes for my boyfriend’s birthday in a couple weeks haha. Love Joy the Baker!

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Autumn Anthony

Birthday pancakes are a tradition I want to start when I have kids!

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Jaclyn Rachlin

Rainbow sprinkles! How fun! My mom used to make cinnamon rolls (out the the can, of course) for our big birthday celebrations. It’s a tradition I still carry on today with my family, but these pancakes might need to be folded in this year!

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Sarah

My daughter is 16 months old, and I can’t wait to start these kinds of traditions with her!

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Mary

Thanks for the giveaway! This sounds like a fun and non-snooty cookbook. Thank you for sharing!!! 🙂 I have a daughter with an April birthday who LOVES pancakes, so these are on the agenda already!! 🙂

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Nancy

I’d love a copy of this book – it looks fantastic and how can you go wrong with sprinkles in anything?

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Court

These are so darn cute! I love Joy the Baker and have one of her cookbooks already. Would love to win the new brunch cookbook!!

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Rachel

Birthday pancakes with sprinkles have been a tradition in our house since our son’s first birthday. Also, streamers hung from the door frame just outside his bedroom door. Simple things that indicate right from the start that “today is special”.

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Carrie

What a simple and lovely idea for a birthday…or any day! I love this. Who doesn’t love funfetti?

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Samantha Hulbert

Birthday Pancakes are just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. I have two little boys that would be over the moon about those!!

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Lily

Definitely making those pancakes for the next upcoming birthday in the family: mine!!

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Erin in PA

Love this idea!! My daughter’s birthday is this week and this will be a fun surprise for her 11th (!) trip around the sun. Thanks for the fun on a Monday. 🙂

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Ivy

That kind of complex breakfast / brunch food is my favorite! Because most mornings involve lots of rushing about plus cries of “eat your toast the bus is coming,” it’s so special to have something robust and complicated — and the time for it. I’d love to win this book!

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Erika

Confession- I don’t like sprinkles. I know, what’s wrong with me?!
But so many of the other recipes mentioned sound fantastic. And breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal. Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

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Laura

These pancakes look delicious! My girls would love them on their birthday (or anytime !)

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Theresa

I would love to win this book. I’m always looking for savory and sweet recipes for breakfast and brunch.

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Shannon

Love this! I’m new to the scene of loving breakfast but an old hat at enjoying slow mornings with those I love. If there are sprinkles folded into that, even better!

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Shannon

Love this! I’m new to the scene of loving breakfast foodsbut an old hat at enjoying slow mornings with those I love. If there are sprinkles folded into that, even better!

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Shannon

Love this! I’m a relatively new breakfast food devotee but an old hat at enjoying slow mornings with people I love. If there are sprinkles folded into that, even better!

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Barbara

Would love to win this cookbook — the breakfast sandwich on the cover looks amazing!

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Aimee

We usually make teddy bear pancakes for the birthday kid, but sprinkles are another festive option!

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Angela

Oh man – Carvel
That brings back memories
My Dad took us there all the them growing up

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Robin

Such a sweet idea. My son isn’t super into sprinkles, but a stack of special pancakes (with chocolate chips, or blueberries maybe?), and especially with a candle, would make him very happy.

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Alyssa

I forgot what page I had opened in my browser, saw the photo of those amazing looking pancakes, and immediately assumed I was reading Joy’s blog. Looking forward to pancakes!

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Karen

Love this, especially the idea that only the Birthday kid’s pancakes have sprinkles.

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Meg

What a fun cookbook for a grandma to have in her collection! Love the addition of sprinkles in pancakes. They look so happy.

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Lindsey

What a fun recipe! We recently celebrated my daughter’s birthday. She loves eating bagels for breakfast, so we plopped a candle in one and her face lit up. It’s amazing how a seemingly small detail can bring such delight.

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Kristy

Pancakes are amazing. They are easy to prepare, and a super simple way to make your kids feel special. I often whip up a Planetary Pancake for my kids, which is just a pancake that fills the bottom of a medium-sized skillet. It cooks up perfectly round and the surface of the pancake looks a bit like the surface of a planet, hence, the Planetary Pancake!

We love breakfast at our house, and this cookbook would be an amazing addition to our collection!

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Jess

Joy’s blog is such a great read, after yours and hers you cannot help but be in a great mood!

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Lindsay

How I haven’t already bought this cookbook I have no idea. Just a note, Joy currently lives in the neighborhood where my heart lives. We moved from there about 6 months ago and drove (with a 3-month-old and 2 cats… yes, we’re crazy) up to our new, current home in Hartford, CT. Where I now have met a very sweet woman who apparently is friends with you. And this world is so. Small. Whew.

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Liv

Woah! Cannot get over how fluffy and thick those pancakes are! Doing mad calculations about which family birthday is next – does the dog count?

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Heather

Yay for more celebrations! Thank you for the opportunity to win this book!

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Jennifer Smith

These are adorable, and look so good. Sad that the recipe only serves 1! In our house, we’d have to double that for sure…or more…

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Amy Cross

These are so fun! We make them at the camp where I work and people rave about them, calling them “a party on a plate!” I’d love to receive a copy of Over Easy. I am a college student who just started a breakfast club for my community of girls!

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Sherri

My daughter turns 12 on Thursday! I’m going to surprise her with “birthday pancakes”! Thanks for the tip!

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Jennie

You know what’s better than ordering the new Joy the Baker cookbook? Winning it! Love this pancake idea, too.

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Katherine

This is an awesome idea for how to make something special with minimal effort.

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Katherine

This is an awesome idea for how to make something special with minimal effort.

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Elizabeth T.

Jimmies are also sprinkles in Western US parlance 🙂 Would love to win a copy!

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Melody Weaver

My family celebrated EVERYTHING growing up. Like, how many kids know the dates of their parents’ first date (Mom always planned a surprise for Dad), their parents’ engagement (Dad always planned a surprise for Mom), and wedding (they tried to out-surprise each other)?!

Love Joy the Baker! Fingers crossed!

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Laura

Love, love, LOVE this idea. We have a birthday tradition of crepes breakfast in bed for my daughters but we may need to upgrade!

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Julie

Love this post! It’s funny that you write about the pink plate — we save Disney Channel for sick days and vacations. It’s definitely a bright spot when one (or, let’s be honest, a sibling) is sick. As for sprinkle pancakes, these same kids think they are the greatest thing on earth – as in, their friend’s mom, who made them for a breakfast birthday party, is the coolest mom they know.

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Heather

Over Easy would be a well used cookbook in my family as breakfast foods are our favorites!

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Cen

I have been trying to make a good pancake for many years now without success. I would love to win this cookbook!

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Kate

Love the idea of birthday pancakes and now dying to make brown butter banana bread doughnuts too! 🙂

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MJ

This is such a brilliant idea! It’s a great way to make birthday breakfast special without a lot more work. (I would need to double the recipe though as I have twins.)

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Anne-Hélène Dupont

Oh i just HAVE to make those for my daughter’s birthday! (Our plan is to make the Baked Celebrations funfetti cake covered with more funfetti, but I guess when you turn 5, there is no such thing as a funfetti overload.)

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Annie

These are so cute! Now I know what to do with my buttermilk that’s currently approaching its best-by date 🙂

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Amy

These look like so much fun! A great tradition to start with my three year old this year!

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Anne Ancona

They look amazingly beautiful. I shall have to make them for my granddaughter’s upcoming 6th birthday! Thanks.

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Erin Freas-Smith

I love birthday traditions! We usually spell out the age of the celebrant in chocolate chips, but I love the colorful pop of sprinkles throughout!

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Amy P

A) this is perfect timing because my son turns four tomorrow and now sprinkle pancakes are replacing cereal as his “special breakfast”
B) speaking from experience, don’t put a wax candle sans plastic holder in a stack of hot pancakes – they melt super easily into the pancakes! Haha, sorry dear!

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Jeannie

I saw Over Easy just recently–maybe in a Goodreads email? and I immediately put it on an Amazon wishlist!

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Kay

I’m always looking for easy ways to cook more breakfast meals, whatever time of the day. Sounds great!

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Lisa W

I’ve read so many favorable reviews of this book! I’d love to get my hands on a copy; I can honestly say brunch is my FAVORITE way to entertain!

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Tara Tubb

Oh, my son is going to LOVE these for his fifth birthday next week. Why does five feel so momentous?!?

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Christina

My favorite thing to think about is what special traditions my husband and I will create for our kids. I love the spontaneous ice cream trip! And would love to get my hands on this cook book!

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Leah

My middle kiddo is turning 4 in a couple of weeks and he’s a huge fan of pancakes and sprinkles. He will be so delighted to eat these! Thank you!

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Jen

Boy does that cookbook sound great. The burger on the cover would be a perfect end of passover meal (we always have bacon cheeseburgers immediately after passover ends, to break every rule in a single bite). I just missed the chance to make these pancakes for my son’s birthday, but I’m sure he wouldn’t complain if they appeared next weekend either!

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Awads

i’ve never made a pancake for my son that didn’t have at least 5 chocolate chips in it. i can’t wait to blow his mind with sprinkles!

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dianne

sprinkles are the best! they might even make up for my less than photo-worthy pancakes!

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Lori

I love Joy’s blog – her Sunday entries always give me lots to read and think about! Isn’t that the best use of the Internet? Love to both of you –

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Michelle

Oh, I love this! What a sweet memory for our kiddos! I’m going to try to remember to make these for the next kid’s birthday…which isn’t until September, so hopefully I do!

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SR Stiglitz

Fab idea! I’ve been looking for fun easy ways to put a sparkle into my daughter’s days. Thank you!

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Anna

I love Joy the Baker! She has been in my regular food blog rotation for years!

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Kay

I eat the same thing every morning for breakfast and I’m in a rut. I need some new ideas!

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Carolee

We have a cupboard full of different types of sprinkles in our house which I have used often to create a small celebration of some event in our family life. This cookbook looks awesome — I would love to win it!

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pat

Interesting to see the key ingredient listed as “jimmies” I’m from Pennsylvania originally, and we always called them “jimmies,” but I never see/hear the term used any more. It seems like it’s always “sprinkles.”

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Megan

Hmm, I may need to make these for first grader who is having spring break withdrawal….thanks!

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Elizabeth Degenhard

Thank you for your wonderful books! I plan to surprise a friend on her birthday this month with _How to Celebrate Everything_, as I love my copy. If I’m ever feeling uninspired, I just flip through your books or go to your website!

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Carrie

I love Joy The Baker! I already bought the book for myself, but it’s also on my list as a birthday gift for a friend. Like you said, “Yes, those are the foods that make everyone happy.”

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Madelaine

Such pretty pancakes! I will be stealing this idea for special breakfasts 🙂

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Phaedra

Anything that adds to making daily life fun? I’m in! I would love to win a copy of Over Easy . brunch is All The Things.

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April May

I will just have to decide what occasion I’m celebrating when I make these for dinner tonight!

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Kelly W.

This sounds like the perfect cook book for me! I love simple, cozy food. Thank you Joy and Jenny!

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Jennifer Lewis

I love this simple, easy way of celebrating special days…or of celebrating any day to make it special! Also, brown butter banana bread doughnuts sound like heaven to me. This sounds like a great book!

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Beth

We have birthday waffles in our house – frozen waffles with nutella and toppings and a candle. Would love to add this book to our collection!

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Amy

Oh I love brunch… Need to add to my wedding registry list (mostly cookbooks)!

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Heather

What a beautiful book! Might need to up my birthday game… Thanks Jenny!

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Michelle

I will be making these pancakes for sure! Won’t even wait for the next birthday!

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Louisa W

What great ideas! I love it when I can make someone in my family feel extra special.

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Elisabeth Deussen

Thank you for reminding us of these simple ways to bring joy to ourselves & others!

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Esha

I love the idea of Happy Birthday Pancakes but my son is allergic to eggs. Is there a substitute I can use? Something other than a store bought Egg Replacer?

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Denise

Love the pink plate idea and love this recipe! Can’t wait to check out the book.

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Bea

Love this idea. So cute and simple and sure to make my kids very happy. Thanks!

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Allie

My son, turning 6 in two weeks, loves pancakes and loves sprinkles more than anything else– why have never thought of combining them? I will make them for his birthday breakfast! Would love the book.

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Hillary

WHAt a great idea! My son loves, loves, loves pancakes, and would be thrilled by the sprinkles. I’ve been hearing so much about this cookbook!

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Su

Hope I remember the confetti pancakes in January when it’s my daughter’s birthday. 23 isn’t too old for them, right? 🙂

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susan

How great! I’d love it – I’m feeling stuck in a cooking rut of boring and way too healthy wintery dishes…. We need sprinkles and warm weather (but at least sprinkles)! Thanks.

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Lisa

My birthday is months away, but my half birthday is right around the corner. I think I’d go for the donuts.

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slope

These are so cute! Now I know what to do with my buttermilk that’s currently approaching its best-by date 🙂

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Marjolein

Ooooh, I know my kids will go crazy over those pancakes. And my son looooves baking, so we would definitely use this book a lot 🙂

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Liza McArdle

We call them sprinkles here in Michigan as well. And they are my favorite!

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