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Mint Julep Cupcakes (Cocktail Cupcake No. 1)

I'm pretty sure that my fellow college students are shaking their heads at me for wasting booze -- but these cupcakes are simply too good to pass up!

For 1 dozen, you'll need:

+ bourbon, 3/4 cup
+ 3 mint sprigs, lightly bruised
+ shortening, 2 tablespoons
+ butter, 2 tablespoons, softened
+ sugar, 1/2 cup
+ 1 egg
+ baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons
+ salt, 1 pinch
+ mint extract, 1 splash (optional)
+ flour, 3/4 cup
+ whole milk, 2-5 tablespoons

Prepare a tincture of bourbon and mint in an airtight, plastic or glass container. Allow to infuse for at least 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Reduce bourbon over medium heat for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and discard mint. Add milk to reduction, until the mixture equals 1/3 cup. Cream sugar, butter, and shortening. Add egg, and slowly drizzle in bourbon mixture. Add mint extract, if desired, and baking powder, salt, and flour. Combine. Evenly distribute batter between 12 muffin cups (I used silver foil liners, to represent julep cups), and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.

In meantime, prepare frosting:

+ butter, 6 tablespoons, softened
+ heavy cream, 3 tablespoons
+ powdered sugar, 2 1/4 cups
+ 12 mint leaves, for garnish

Liberally frost cupcakes; top with mint. Enjoy!

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