Celebrate!

Celebrate the 4th of July with these fun and easy Sparkler Cupcakes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup red candy coating disks

1/2 cup blue candy coating disks

1/2 cup white candy coating disks

2-1/2 cups Creamy White Frosting or canned creamy white frosting

12 Confetti Cupcakes or other 2-1/2-inch cupcakes in paper bake cups

Red, white, and blue sprinkles and/or jimmies (optional)

Directions
1. Place colored candy coating disks in three separate small microwave-safe bowls. Microwave one bowl on 100 percent power (high) for 30 seconds. Stir; microwave for 20 to 30 seconds more or until melted. Repeat, one at a time, with the remaining bowls of candy coating. Transfer the melted candy coatings to three small heavy resealable plastic bags. Snip off a small piece from one corner of each bag. On sheets of waxed paper, make 8- to 9-inch-long sticks (about 1/4-inch thickness) of each color candy coating by piping back and forth over waxed paper in a zigzag pattern. Let stand about 1 hour or until firm. (If necessary, place the sticks of candy coating in the freezer until firm.)

2. Meanwhile, place Creamy White Frosting in a disposable pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Pipe frosting over Confetti Cupcakes.

3. Break the zigzag sticks of candy coating into 3- to 4-inch lengths. Insert the candy sticks into frosting, radiating out from the center like a sparkler. If desired, sprinkle with colored sprinkles. Makes 12 (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes.

Creamy White Frosting: In a large mixing bowl beat 1 cup shortening, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons milk. Gradually beat in another 2 cups powdered sugar. Gradually add another 1 to 2 tablespoons milk until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 3 cups.

Confetti Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line twenty-four to twenty-six 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a large mixing bowl combine one 2-layer-size package white cake mix, one 4-serving-size package instant cheesecake pudding and pie filling mix, 1 cup water, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes more, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup red, white, and blue sprinkles or jimmies. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds to three-fourths full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 to 26 (2-1/2-inch) cupcakes.

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