Buckwheat Nut Butter Cookies

I have been baking a lot of really boring things lately. Tasty, but boring. Does anyone need another recipe for oatmeal cookies? No, definitely not. And when I do try to branch out and get interesting, like I did the other day with some triple coconut (sugar, flour and oil) muffins, the results have not been great, certainly not worth sharing.

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Well I finally found something that is both interesting and delicious, and even can be construed as somewhat healthy. I will try any recipe involving buckwheat flour, I love the unique taste of it and don’t come across recipes calling for it as much as I would like. I stumbled across this one while trying to find the recipe for the aforementioned coconut muffins. It was worth making those (kind of eh) to find these (definitely yum).

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The only tweak I really added was chocolate. On their own, these cookies are good. Blake will eat them, and he mostly just eats berries (I exaggerate, but not much). Melt a little chocolate and drizzle it over the top – perfection with an afternoon cup of coffee.

Also, this recipe made me stop and think that I might have crossed over into some rarefied/crazy world of baking where I think nothing of grinding flaxseed for a recipe. I mean, objectively, what a pain in the butt step. I think most normal people would see that and think, too much work. Pass. But it doesn’t even give me pause. The things I am willing to do for a snack.

Buckwheat Nut Butter Cookies

adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

2 T whole flax seeds, ground

4 T mixed seeds (I used sesame and sunflower)

½ c plus 1 T buckwheat flour

1 c plus 2 T all-purpose or white whole wheat flour

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ c packed brown sugar

2 T peanut butter

2 T almond butter

¼ c water

4 oz dark chocolate

  • Put the flax seeds in a small bowl with ⅓ c water. Mix well and let sit until gelled.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the other seeds, flours, baking powder and salt.
  • In another medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, peanut and almond butters, and flax seed gel until well combined.
  • Mix the dry into the wet ingredients. Add water 1 T at a time to get everything to hold together (I ended up using about ¼ cup).
  • Roll the dough into a log about 1 ½ – 2 inches thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and pop it in the freezer for at least a half hour.
  • Heat oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with parchment. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice it into discs about ½ inch thick. Place on baking sheet and bake 12-14 minutes, until the tops are starting to crack.
  • Let cool. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave. Push all the cookies together on the baking sheet and drizzle or dollop the chocolate all over the tops. Let the chocolate set and store in a sealed container. They will be good for about 3 days.

Triple Chocolate Creme Fraiche Cookies

Am I getting tedious and boring? Another chocolate cookie recipe? Really? In all fairness, I wasn’t going to post these (hence the one very lame picture of the last few stragglers). My brother was coming up for the weekend, which typically necessitates me baking something verrrry chocolatey for him. This recipe, from an article about the Mast Brothers in Bon Appetit, had been in my stack of ‘to bake’ for a couple of months. It seemed fairly simple, so why not?

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Well, the cookies disappeared very quickly, and I have no doubt it’s due to the fact that they have ridiculous ingredient proportions. Just a tiny amount of flour and whopping 20 ounces of chocolate in the different uses. They’re kind of like a cookie-brownie, which is definitely a good thing.

I almost got lazy and skipped the last bit of chocolate on the top. Don’t – it’s essential. But also, don’t worry about making it pretty. These won’t be around long enough to win any beauty contests.

Triple Chocolate Creme Fraiche Cookies

adapted from Bon Appetit

20 oz dark chocolate, chopped, divided

¼ c all-purpose flour

1 ½ t baking powder

½ t table salt

1 ½ c brown sugar

1 stick butter, room temp

4 eggs

2 T creme fraiche or sour cream

  • Heat 8 oz of chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave until melted.
  • In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Using a mixer, beat together the sugar and butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, then creme fraiche.
  • With mixer on low, pour in the melted chocolate, then add the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined.
  • Mix in 8 oz chopped chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 325. Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto the sheets, leaving room for the cookies to spread. Bake 12-14 minutes, until the tops are just showing some cracks.
  • Remove from oven and let cool. Melt the remaining 4 oz chocolate (don’t be shy, use an extra couple of ounces if you have it). Drizzle or dollop all over the tops of the cookies. Once set, store in an airtight container. These are best the first day or two, they lose some oomph by the third day.

Nutella-Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I definitely should not have made these three days before leaving for a beach vacation. A wiser person would have realized this and saved them for when I was back in Cleveland, safely ensconced in jeans and sweaters. Just learn from my mistake. Make these now, while we are still solidly in bulky winter clothing territory.

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Another warning: you are going to have the better part of a jar of Nutella left over after making these. Just be prepared. With a spoon. And maybe some of these. You wouldn’t want that jar languishing, wasted, in the back of your pantry. Or, as was discovered thanks to my brother and his girlfriend on the previously mentioned vacation, get a big bag of pretzels and get dipping. You will thank me/hate me later.

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These cookies really did win praise from all around. Many different palates found them exceedingly pleasing. I ate way more than my fair share and got so desperate to get rid of the few remaining that I shipped them off to a friend in Columbus just to get them out of reach. (They travelled well.)

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Nutella-Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

2 ¼ c all-purpose flour

1 ¼ t baking soda

½ t salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 ½ t vanilla

1 T plain yogurt or sour cream

¾ c dark chocolate chips

¾ c white chocolate chips

small jar of Nutella, chilled in fridge

flaked sea salt for sprinkling

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

  • Brown the butter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. It will foam and then subside. Whisk constantly. The butter will start to brown on the bottom after a couple of minutes. Once the butter starts to brown and smells toasty, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. (I have never understood what the big deal about brown butter is. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I don’t think so. In any case, brown it if you feel like it, or just skip that step and simply melt it. Or just beat softened butter into the sugars like you normally would for cookies.)

  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugars. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and yogurt or sour cream.

  • Beat in the dry ingredients on low, then stir in the chocolate chips. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

  • Heat the oven to 350 and line two large baking sheets with parchment. Scoop out pretty decent sized balls of dough. Flatten a little, then make an indentation in the middle. Scoop about a teaspoon or so of Nutella into the middle, then form the dough into a sealed ball around it. Try not to let any Nutella peek out.

  • Place on baking sheet, flatten very slightly with your palm, and sprinkle generously with sea salt.

  • Bake about 10 minutes, don’t be afraid to pull them out just when you think they are done. Cool completely and store in sealed container.

Chocolate Smooches

The original version of this recipe is called “Chocolate Nudges”. I much prefer my name, as I would rather get a smooch than a nudge any day. (Well, I guess that depends where it’s coming from.) Anyway, these cookies are great. I just finished the last few from my freezer dunked in hot coffee and am trying to justify making another batch.

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Two things make these worthy of a repeat performance. One, the pistachios. If I need to explain that, just stop reading now. Two, this recipe calls for two whole cups of chocolate chips. In my vast baking experience, a recipe of this size would typically only use one cup, yet it doesn’t feel over the top at all.

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I realize I’ve been on a bit of a chocolate cookie bender lately. I am not going to apologize for it. Just enjoy this little streak for as long as it lasts. And make these cookies.

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Chocolate Smooches

adapted from Saltie: A Cookbook via Lottie + Doof

½ c shelled pistachios, toasted

1 T plus ½ c granulated sugar

1 ½ c plus 1 T flour

⅓ c Dutch cocoa powder

¼ t baking powder

¼ t salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar

1 t vanilla

1 t chocolate extract

1 T dark rum (optional, I left this out because I was lazy)

2 c semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment.

  • In a food processor, pulse the pistachios with 1 T granulated sugar until they form a coarse meal.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

  • Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar together til fluffy. Add the vanilla, chocolate extract and rum.

  • Add the dry ingredients and pistachios to the butter mixture, beat just to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  • Place the ½ c granulated sugar in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough out and roll into balls between your palms, then roll in the sugar to coat.

  • Place on the baking sheet. Bake until the tops begin to crackle, about 14-16 minutes. If you have any left after a couple of days, these keep really well in the freezer.

Pretty in Pink Cake

Better late than never. This would have been just lovely as a Valentine’s Day cake. But since we don’t really do V-day around here, and baking a cake is more of a time commitment than a batch of cookies or some brownies, this just got made this week. I kept the pink frosting for fun, but minus that, this is a delicious cake that would easily translate well to any number of scenarios where a tasty little treat is required.

Brad got me a gigantic container of those awesome Luxardo cherries for Christmas. Why buy a small jar of them when you can get a 6.6 pound can? Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for places to use them. Since this recipe calls for a full cup, I knew I had to make it.

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I dialed down the almond in here a little bit, since I find it can be easily overpowering. If you disagree, definitely follow the original measurements. As I made it, I loved the hint of almond and thought it complemented the cherries quite nicely. This is a nice cake to make right now when everyone is ready for spring but nothing is even close to being in season to cook and bake with. The cake has a light crumb and the cherries are sweet and tart, giving a little hint of good things to come.

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Pretty in Pink Cake

adapted from Serious Eats

Cake:

12 T unsalted butter, room temp

1 ½ c sugar

2 t vanilla

1 t almond extract

3 c cake flour

5 t baking powder (yes, I thought this was a typo, but it worked)

½ c almond meal

1 t salt

1 ⅓ c milk, room temp

6 egg whites

1 c packed Maraschino or Luxardo cherries, chopped

Frosting:

9 T unsalted butter, room temp

6 c powdered sugar

1 ½ t vanilla

½ t almond extract

4-6 T milk

red food coloring

  • Heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour or line with parchment two 9-inch cake pans.

  • Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, almond meal and salt. Add this to the butter in three additions, alternating with two additions of the milk. Mix just until combined.

  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs whites on high until soft peaks form. Fold into the batter.

  • Add the cherries, mixing until just incorporated.

  • Divide evenly between the two pans and bake 25-30 minutes, until the center is just barely set. Cool in pans ten minutes, then flip out onto a rack to cool completely.

  • For the frosting: Beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts and 3 T of milk together in a large bowl for a few minutes. If the frosting seems too stiff, add more milk just a teaspoon at a time. Add a few drops of red food coloring and beat a little more.

  • Place one cake on your serving platter. Generously frost the top. Place the other cake on top and swirl the rest of the frosting on top and all over the sides. This cake keeps well at room temp for two days.

Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies

2014 is going to be the year of millet, at least in my kitchen. It’s my current favorite grain. Until recently, I don’t think I even knew what it was, which is basically these tiny little grains that make everything they are added to a little bit better. You could easily toss a handful into any cookie or muffin and I daresay improve the end result.

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2014 is also going to be the year of this fabulous cookbook. I’ve owned it for less than a month and have made five things from it – that is some kind of record for me. Granted, I do so love breakfast baked goods that this seems custom tailored for my tastes. So far, everything has been delicious. I also love that it’s relatively petite compared to many other recent cookbooks published, so it seems reasonable to flip through and think, yes, I could definitely bake lots of these recipes, instead of, man, I will never even attempt most of the stuff in here.

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Anyway, these little cookies are delightful. Even Brad loved them, and he often scoffs at the freezer full of weird flours and grains I keep on hand. Yes, these could easily be breakfast, but I ended up enjoying them more in the afternoon snack department. There are kind of a lot of ingredients, but you could easily substitute or disregard many of them to meet your taste and pantry contents.

Nutty Millet Breakfast Cookies

adapted from Whole-Grain Mornings

1 ¼ c whole wheat flour

¾ c rolled oats

¼ c millet

¼ c wheat bran

½ t baking soda

½ t baking powder

1 ½ t cinnamon

¼ t nutmeg

½ t ground ginger

1 t kosher salt

½ c coconut oil, melted (I just place the jar in a pan of hot water for a few minutes, then pour out what is needed)

½ c maple syrup

1 egg

1 t vanilla

¼ c walnuts, toasted and chopped

⅓ c pecans, toasted and chopped

½ c chocolate chips

½ c dried cherries

  • Heat oven to 350 and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the first ten ingredients (flour through salt).

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

  • Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips and cherries. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.

  • Using a cookie scoop, portion out the dough onto the baking sheets. Pat the top of each to flatten it a little.

  • Bake 8-10 minutes, until the edges are turning golden brown. Cool and store in a sealed container. These will be good for a few days.

Double Chocolate Graham Cracker Cookies

These cookies absolutely beg to have a marshmallow roasted over an open flame sandwiched in between them. Given this interminable winter, that seems like something of a pipe dream, although it’s always nice to hold out hope that someday I might be able to make it a reality.

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I love the idea of using graham crackers as the flour here. The taste is pretty subtle – the chocolate is definitely the dominant flavor. And don’t skimp on that sprinkle of chopped chocolate across the tops. I thought about skipping it (lazy), but it really makes these cookies into something special.

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I also totally appreciate how big they recommend making them. My default is always just the tiny little cookie scoop size, for no good reason other than it’s easy (again, lazy). But really, who doesn’t like to eat a cookie that’s as big as your hand? Actually, I think these might need two or three marshmallows to fill them up when I bake them again this summer.

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Double Chocolate Graham Cracker Cookies

adapted from Sweet Magic via the Kitchn

1 c hazelnuts

1 14.4 oz box graham crackers

8 oz dark chocolate, chopped, divided

½ c Dutch cocoa powder

3 sticks butter, room temp

1 c brown sugar

2 eggs

  • Heat oven to 325. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and pour into the middle of a kitchen towel. Gather up the sides and rub vigorously to loosen all the skins. Pick the nuts out and set them aside in a bowl to cool. It’s ok if some of the skins are left stuck on.

  • Once the nuts are cool, put them in a food processor with the graham crackers and pulse to a fine powder. Add 4 ounces of the chocolate and the cocoa powder and pulse a few more times.

  • Either by hand or using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs.

  • Add the chocolate mixture to the butter mixture and beat to combine.

  • Divide the dough into two pieces. Lay out a fairly long piece of plastic wrap. Form each piece of dough into a log about 3 inches in diameter. (Wet your hands if things get too sticky.) Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

  • When ready to bake, heat the oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice each log into ~½ inch discs and space out on the baking sheets, leaving room to grow. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate across the tops of the cookies. Bake the cookies 15-18 minutes, until the tops start to crack. Let cool on the pans and store in a sealed container.

Salted Chocolate Nut and Cereal Bars

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks trying to think of something to say about these bars, some kind of hook, and failing. I don’t even really know what to call them. The original recipe doesn’t sound super intriguing. I’m not sure what made me want to make these in the first place. All I know is that they are totally delicious and will be filed under the category of ‘go-to afternoon snack recipes’. You can never have too many of those.

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I’m even failing to try and describe what makes these so good, but I really think it’s the little cereal puffs that give them such a nice texture and contrast with the nuts so well. The dark chocolate all over the top definitely isn’t hurting the situation, nor is the sprinkle of salt. The one drawback is that they’re pretty crumbly, so after you are done with the bars, you have a nice little container of crumbs to sprinkle on your morning yogurt. Bonus!

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Just ignore my ineloquence and make these. Maybe then you can help me figure out a better way to express their deliciousness.

Salted Chocolate Nut and Cereal Bars

adapted from Food 52

1 c raw almonds

1 c raw cashews

1 c raw walnuts

⅔ c puffed cereal (I used Kashi)

¼ t salt

1 t cinnamon

½ t cardamom

¼ c plus 1 T honey

~⅓ c dark chocolate, chopped

~1 T coconut oil

flaked sea salt, for sprinkling

  • Heat the oven to 350. On a large baking sheet, toast the almonds, cashews and walnuts for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely, then coarsely chop in a food processor.

  • Line a 9×12 inch pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave a couple inches hanging over each side. Heat the oven to 325.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped nuts, cereal, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.

  • Drizzle the honey over the mixture, then stir to thoroughly combine. It will be pretty thick.

  • Transfer to the lined pan and press out to fill it somewhat evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the nuts are toasty and fragrant.

  • Let cool completely, then lift out of the pan onto a cutting board using the edges of the parchment paper. Cut into 16 bars.

  • In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate and coconut oil in 30 second increments, stirring between each, until melted.

  • Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate all over the bars. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Refrigerate to set, then transfer to a sealed container. These keep very well in the fridge for a week.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Another awesome recipe from Hoosier Mama. This one was my personal favorite at the shop, so I approached it with some trepidation, not wanting to ruin my fond memories. One year when I was driving home from Chicago for Christmas, I brought a whole one of these back with me. I’m pretty sure my brother and I finished it off singlehandedly and it never actually made it to the holiday dessert table.

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When he suggested I make it myself now that I had the cookbook, I wondered why it hadn’t been the first thing I tackled. Maybe it seemed a little labor intensive. Thankfully, that was not the case at all. It’s actually quite simple to prepare and could not be more lusciously chocolatey. Again, Greg and I were the primary destroyers of this beast.

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Feel free to use a store-bought crust if you don’t feel like taking the time to make your own, but as I discovered with my first pie from this book, it’s really not that hard and I think worth the effort.

Chocolate Pudding Pie

adapted from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie

1 single crust pie dough, blind baked in a 9-inch pie dish (see instructions here)

Filling:

2 c whole milk, divided

1 c heavy cream

3 T cornstarch

2 eggs

½ c sugar

10 oz dark chocolate

4 T butter

1 t vanilla

pinch salt

roughly ¼ c dark chocolate, chopped, for coating the shell

Topping:

1 ½ c heavy cream

3 T sugar

  • In a small bowl, whisk ½ c milk into the cornstarch to make a slurry.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and ½ c sugar. Pour in the slurry and whisk until smooth.

  • In a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ c milk and 1 c cream to a boil, whisking frequently. Very gradually add this into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

  • Pour everything back into the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until it comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Cook at a boil, still whisking, for 2 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and add the 10 ounces of chocolate and butter. Whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla and salt.

  • Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the chocolate mixture through it. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours or overnight.

  • Where you’re ready to put the pie together, melt the ¼ c dark chocolate and brush it on the bottom of the baked pie dough. Cool in the fridge for a few minutes to set.

  • Take the pudding out of the fridge and whisk either manually or with a hand mixer until lightened. Scoop into the prepared crust and smooth the top.

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the 1 ½ c heavy cream on medium high for about a minute, then slowly add the 3 T sugar, beating on high until soft peaks form. Swirl this all over the top of the pie.

  • Add sprinkles if you have some. This pie is best the first day it’s assembled, so I made the crust and pudding the day before and just put it all together the morning I was serving it.

Chocolate Butter Bars

You know how sometimes you go out to dinner, and have a really nice meal, but at the end you just want a little something. Maybe you don’t really have room for a whole dessert, or nothing on the menu really speaks to you. Well, every restaurant should serve these little squares of bliss on a small plate at the end of the meal. I guarantee this small step would increase repeat visits and would definitely cause every patron to leave the restaurant with a little spring in their step and smile on their face.

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Three simple ingredients, so use the best you can find. The chocolate in particular is important. I am still working through my 11-lb bar. The Mast Brothers cookbook has not disappointed yet, and I really do want to make every single recipe in it. Except maybe the savory ones. Scallops with cocoa nibs doesn’t sound super appealing.

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Make a pan of these, stick them in the back of the fridge, and you’ll have your sweet tooth satisfied whenever a craving strikes.

Chocolate Butter Bars

adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate

1 c heavy cream

12 ½ oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 T butter, cut into small pieces

  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

  • Place chocolate in a medium bowl.

  • Bring cream to boil in a medium saucepan. Keep a close eye on it, lest it boil over. I speak from experience.

  • Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for a minute, and then whisk until smooth. Add butter and stir until melted and incorporated.

  • Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top as much as possible with a small offset spatula.

  • Refrigerate to cool, then use a chef’s knife to cut into small squares. A little goes a long way here. Store refrigerated in a sealed container.

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