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A Little Food Coloring Goes A Long Way In Your Copycat McDonald's Shamrock Shake

Shamrock shakes
Shamrock shakes - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

As St. Paddy's Day approaches every March, the inevitable excitement begins in anticipation of McDonald's Shamrock Shake. On its face, it's not all that special: It's just a drink made of vanilla ice cream, Shamrock Shake syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream. Most of the hysteria stems from its limited-edition nature. Fans know they have only a short window to buy the drink, and then they'll have to wait until next year.

But what if you didn't have to wait? What if you could make your own Shamrock Shake at home anytime you wanted? And what if that shake was even better tasting than McDonald's version? Thanks to Mashed recipe developer Susan Olayinka, you can. "This tends to be a seasonal shake on the McDonald's menu -- but with this recipe, you can enjoy it all year around!" she told Mashed. All you need to create her copycat Shamrock Shake is vanilla ice cream, milk, maple syrup, mint extract, and -- the secret ingredient -- green liquid food coloring. After all, a mint milkshake is always delicious, but if it's not green, it's not a Shamrock Shake.

"The vibrant green color suits the upcoming Spring season that awaits us," Olayinka said. While it may be tempting to turn your shake emerald-colored, a little bit of food coloring goes a long way, and only six drops are needed the make the color pop.

Read more: 12 Popular Ice Cream Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

Natural And Vegetable-Based Food Coloring Can Be Used

green food coloring
green food coloring - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

This shake is a mint lover's dream come true, and there are many benefits to making your own Shamrock Shake. First and foremost, you get to control what goes into it. McDonald's Shamrock Shake Syrup is made of high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, sugar, natural flavor, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate, Yellow 5, and Blue 1. Since many of us are trying to eat less processed foods, those ingredients may be a little off-putting. With Olayinka's recipe, you get to choose how you add color to your shake and exactly how much you want to add.

Perhaps food-grade gel or coloring isn't your thing. There are many options for natural substitutes you can use to achieve the green coloring in your shake. You can try using a little matcha powder or a few spinach leaves. For best results, start with a very small amount. If you're making the shake for grown-ups, a small amount of green crème de menthe would add color and minty flavor.

If you want to keep it family-friendly and you're wary of experimenting with your own coloring, there are plenty of natural options available for purchase. 365 by Whole Foods makes plant-based food coloring, and Watkins food coloring uses 100% vegetables and spices. Just remember the key number of drops is six to achieve the perfectly-hued springtime (or any time) treat.

Read the original article on Mashed.