Of course, the standard colored sprinkles in solid or assorted colors are a tried and true cupcake decoration. Your options range from fine, sandlike granules to tiny pearl-sized nuggets or shapes. When applying fairly small flakes, hold the shaker higher for a light, even dusting and lower for denser coverage. But don't let what's prepackaged as "sprinkles" on grocery stores' baking aisles limit your creative prowess in the kitchen. There are many relatively small edibles that can serve as a type of sprinkle -- many of which are already in your kitchen pantry! Try sprinkling on chocolate chips, grated nuts or even coffee grounds. Spices like cinnamon, cayenne or cloves can also do the job and add another dimension of flavor to your baked confection.
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