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Shamrock Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-5 drops green food coloring
1 16 oz can vanilla or mint frosting
1/4 cup green decorating sugar
1 small shamrock shaped paper stencil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees;
1. Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (or line with cupcake baking liners. These may be found in seasonal patterns and colors at supermarkets and craft stores).
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Add butter, eggs and milk; beat on low speed just until ingredients are moistened.
3. Add several drops of green food coloring until the mixture is desired color (a very pale green - just a few drops!). Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
4. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan filling each cup until 2/3 full. Wipe off any spilled batter using a damp cloth so that it doesn't bake onto pan. Bake until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (about 16-20 minutes).
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes; loosen edges gently using a butter knife or spatula. Cool on a wire rack.
6. Spread cooled cupcakes with lightly tinted vanilla or mint frosting.
7. Trace a shamrock shape on a piece of wax or freezer paper and cut out (or use a purchased stencil or cookie cutter). Place stencil over the center of each cupcake and sprinkle on green decorating sugar in the shape of the shamrock.

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