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Carol Kicinski
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with delicious Irish inspired cupcakes.

Feel the luck o’ the Irish with coffee cupcakes

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   An Irish friend of mine once stated that the world is made of two kinds of people: those who are Irish and those who wish they were.
   Fortunately the Irish are generous and humble, so on St. Patrick’s Day everyone is allowed to be a little bit Irish.
   In celebration of this auspicious day I made gluten-free Irish coffee cupcakes. They are light, whimsical and a bit boozy, just like a good Irishman. A few of these and you might just break out in a jig.
   Since these are Irish cupcakes they had to include Irish whiskey and potato. If you don’t have the flours and starches listed in the recipe just substitute for one cup of gluten free flour blend.
   For garnish I rolled thin straws in melted semisweet chocolate and then froze them. And in what can only be considered a tad obsessive, a touch compulsive and a true Martha Stewart moment, I picked clovers from the garden and painted them with melted chocolate. I have no idea if this is safe. So whatever you do, don’t eat the clovers!
Gluten-Free Irish Coffee Cupcakes
Makes 12
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (divided)
½ cup white rice flour (finely milled)
¼ cup sweet rice flour (finely milled)
¼ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¾ cup unsalted butter (room temp.)
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup half-and-half or light cream, (room temp.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1½ cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.
   In a small saucepan, stir together granulated sugar and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Take off heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder. Stir in whiskey and let cool.
   In a large mixing bowl, whisk together white rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato and tapioca starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder.
   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping sides of the bowl after each addition. Turn mixer to low and gradually add half the flour mixture, then the half-and-half and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Blend until almost all the flour is mixed in. Add vanilla and mix. With a large spatula, finish mixing batter.
   Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.
   Spoon coffee-whiskey mixture evenly and slowly over cupcakes. Let cool for 30 minutes in pan then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

   When cupcakes are cool, whip the cream with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Swirl on top of cupcakes.