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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Baked: Greek Yogurt-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

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I can seriously binge on chocolate chip cookies, so I’m often looking for slightly healthier alternatives. These Greek yogurt cookies are cake-like with a chewy edge. They taste very close to your standard chocolate chip cookies without the butter. The dough is very sticky, so be sure to set aside time for it to chill. These are incredibly satisfying for being on the healthier side, but you’ll still have trouble eating just one. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Greek Yogurt-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe at Baker by Nature
1 dozen cookies

¼ cup solid coconut oil
½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup 2-percent or full-fat Greek yogurt
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup chocolate chips or chunks
Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

• In a medium-sized bowl using a hand mixer, beat the coconut oil with the brown sugar and granulated sugars on high speed until combined, about 5 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract and yogurt and beat to combine.
• Use a spatula to fold in the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt until mixed, then fold in the chocolate chips. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
• Wet palms and fingertips with water, then scoop 12 even-sized dollops on the baking sheet a few inches apart. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes over the tops of the cookies.
• Bake 9 to 12 minutes, until cookies begin to brown around the edges.
• Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

Baked: Italian Bread

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

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This is one of my favorite recipes. I’ve always been a little fearful of yeast recipes, as yeast can be so fickle, but I’ve made this Italian bread countless times, and it’s turned out wonderfully.

Use caution when working with yeast. It’s easy to kill with hot water, but if it’s not warm enough, it won’t dissolve properly. The water should be warm but not scalding, around 110 degrees is ideal. Follow the instructions carefully and you can start in the morning and have an amazing warm and crusty loaf with your dinner.

The bread can be adapted many ways; we have made grilled cheese sandwiches, folded olives into the dough, dipped it in olive oil and vinegar, or eaten it with fondue. It’s wonderfully crusty with a soft texture inside, and it’s easy to sub in whole-wheat flour alternatives if you want to make it denser and healthier. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Italian Bread
Adapted from a recipe at Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal
1 loaf

1½ cups warm (not scalding) water
¾ tsp. instant yeast
¾ Tbsp. kosher salt, divided
5½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1½ cups bread flour
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing, divided
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried parsley
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced

• Pour the water into a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and ½ teaspoon salt until combined. Add the all-purpose flower and bread flour and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
•Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky. (If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook to knead on medium speed about 5 minutes.)
• Lightly grease a large, clean mixing bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to lightly coat it in oil. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, then place a paper towel or kitchen towel on top and let rise 1 to 1½ hours in a cool dark place, until doubled in size.
• Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead 2 to 3 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, recover and let rise again 1 hour, until doubled in size.
• Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
• Oil a standard loaf pan. Place the dough into the pan, cover with the plastic warp and let rise 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile, mix together the olive oil, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic and remaining ¼ salt in a small bowl.
• Uncover the loaf and brush 1 tablespoon olive oil mixture on top of the dough. Use a sharp knife to cut 3 slashes evenly across the top of the bread.
• Place the loaf pan in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool.
• Slice and serve with the remaining olive oil mixture for dipping.

 

Baked: Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Loaf

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

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Freezers are a fantastic invention. They allow me to preserve fruit at its peak so I can savor them in the dead of winter. Recently I found some dark cherries in my freezer and thought they’d be a perfect match for some pistachios and chocolate. The rich chocolate loaf is nutty with an unmistakable presence of pistachios, followed by chunks of melting chocolate and surprise spots of tangy, dark cherries, all topped with a silky smooth ganache. The loaf itself isn’t very sweet, letting the cherries, chocolate, and pistachio speak for themselves. Enjoy and happy baking!
Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Loaf
Adapted from a recipe at Honest Cooking 
1 loaf

5 oz. butter, softened
5 oz. sugar
3 large eggs
5 oz. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ oz. pistachios, shelled and finely ground
8 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup frozen pitted cherries, thawed
4 oz. heavy cream

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running, add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well until mixed.
• Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and sift in the flour and baking powder. Use a rubber spatula, fold them in, along with the ground pistachios, until combined. Fold in 4 ounces dark chocolate.
• Pour the batter into a standard loaf pan. Evenly distribute the cherries across the surface and gently press them into the batter.
• Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let cool slightly, then carefully remove it from the loaf pan and place it on a cooling rack placed atop a parchment-lined baking sheet.
• Meanwhile, make a ganache by bringing the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 4 ounces chocolate and remove from heat. Cover and let rest 1 minute, then whisk until combined.
• Pour the ganache evenly over the loaf, letting it drip down the sides. Let cool, then slice and serve.

 

Baked: Lemon-Pepper Chicken Wings

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

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Growing up in Atlanta, an order of lemon-pepper chicken wings was one of my favorite meals. I could usually find these citrusy, pepper-spiked drummies on almost any menu. But since I moved to St Louis, I can’t seem to find the perfect lemon-pepper wing in town, so I set out to make my own.

I tried different variations using lemon juice or lemon zest with black pepper, but none captured the original flavor I craved until I found Penzeys lemon pepper seasoning. This blend uses dried and ground lemon peel that provides a tart citrus zing. Check your label; you may need to add salt if not listed among the ingredients. These baked wings crisp up just as well any deep-fried counterpart and make a bright addition to a Super Bowl spread. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Lemon-Pepper Chicken Wings
1 to 2 servings

1 lb. skin-on chicken wings and drumettes
4 Tbsp. Penzeys lemon-pepper seasoning
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt as needed

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
• In a large mixing bowl, toss the chicken wings with the lemon-pepper seasoning, olive oil and salt until evenly coated. Spread the wings in a single layer on the baking sheet.
• Bake 50 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Serve hot.

 

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings

 

Sneak Peek: Companion in Maryland Heights

Monday, February 1st, 2016

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Companion is inviting the public into its baking process starting tomorrow, Feb. 2. As The Scoop reported in January 2015, Companion moved its headquarters, along with a baking school and cafe, to 2331 Schuetz Road in Maryland Heights. The 5,000-square-foot cafe seats 66 and will serve the same menu as the Ladue and Clayton locations with a few additions to the bakery offerings like bread pudding and doughnuts.

The airy, industrial cafe has two full walls of windows overlooking into the production bakery. “You weren’t in the middle of the process in the other locations,” said co-owner Josh Allen. “With the exception of dish washing, you see everything that happens.”

In addition to the visible bakery, Companion welcomes community involvement through a teaching kitchen at the new location. Chef Cassie Vires recently joined the Companion team to lead the array of public culinary and baking classes Allen hopes to offer in April. Chef Josh Galliano, who joined Companion as production manager in June 2015, will also teach.

The new Maryland Heights location will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect at Companion’s new home:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

-photos by Meera Nagarajan

Baked: Butternut Squash Pizza

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

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This is an easy, quick weeknight meal. Mildly sweet squash is perfectly paired with a tangy onion jam and a hint of spice from crushed red pepper flakes. Served as a pizza topping with my favorite garlic and herbs cheese (feel free to substitute goat cheese, feta or ricotta), it’s tasty and addictive. You won’t miss the classic tomato sauce. Enjoy and happy baking!

 
Butternut Squash Pizza
Adapted from a Food 52 recipe
2 to 3 servings

4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
¾ lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse sea salt to taste
1 12- to 16 oz.-container of pizza dough
1½ ounces Boursin cheese
¼ cup fully cooked ground turkey (optional)
Handful of arugula
Balsamic vinegar

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the squash and saute until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the squash and set aside.
• Return the saucepan to the stove over medium heat and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions and saute 15 minutes, until light brown. Add the vinegar and maple syrup and stir every few minutes until thick and reduced, 15 to 30 minutes.
• Add the onion mixture to the squash and mash lightly, leaving some chunks. Add the red pepper flakes and season to taste with salt. Set aside.
• Roll the pizza dough out onto a pizza stone or baking sheet in an even layer. Spread the butternut squash mixture evenly across the dough, then sprinkle with Boursin cheese. Add the ground turkey, if desired.
• Bake 15 minutes, until the crust is cooked through. Dress with arugula and let wilt, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar before slicing and serving.

The Weekend Project: Figgy Pudding

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

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“Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/And a cup of good cheer!” Most everyone knows that verse from the classic carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” but few of us have actually eaten the heralded figgy pudding.

This dish started as a savory first-course pudding in medieval times, but by the Victorian era, it had evolved into the fruit-centered, brandy-driven dessert that was commonly brought to the table en flambé, decked with holly berries and served with whipped cream or a boozy hard sauce.

 

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This basic steamed pudding consists of breadcrumbs, flour, butter, sugar and eggs. It is then left to the cook to spike the dessert with alcohol, spices and dried or candied fruits like dried figs, raisins or currants. While cooking times can range from two to six hours, less time will produce a moister, less cakey pudding.

 

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Figgy pudding can be served immediately, but it shines best when the fruit has had a chance to soak up all the booze for at least a week or two. In fact, Anglican families in Britain know the last Sunday of Advent as Stir-it Up Sunday, when the traditional Christmas pudding was prepared for the holiday in a week’s time. Each family member gets a chance to stir the pudding from East to West in honor of the Three Wise Men and make a wish before it is steamed and left to rest for Christmas Eve.

This is a great weekend project because with a little preparation, this dish can simmer away on your stove all afternoon while you decorate or wrap presents. It also produces a lovely spiced holiday aroma while you enjoy a nip of brandy and a carol or two. Best of all, dessert is done and ready to enjoy all 12 days of Christmas.

 

The Shopping List*
12 dried figs
½ cup raisins or currants
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried dates
1 cup cream
1½ cups brandy, divided
2 cups bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1½ tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1½ cup brown sugar
12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) butter
½ cup dark rum or spiced whiskey
Whipped cream for serving
4 Tbsp. brandy

*This list assumes you have all-purpose flour and salt at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those, too.

The Gameplan**
Active Day 1:
Prepare the Figgy Pudding.
Active Day 2: Resteam the Figgy Pudding. Prepare the Brandy Hard Sauce.

**This recipe is best after at least 1 week in the refrigerator, but it requires just two active cooking days.

 

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Figgy Pudding
12 servings

12 dried figs, roughly chopped
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 cup dried dates, pitted, roughly chopped
½ cup raisins or currants
½ cup cream
1½ cups brandy, divided
2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted
½ cup dark rum or spiced whiskey
Whipped cream for serving
Brandy Hard Sauce for serving (Recipe follows.)

Active Day 1: Coat a large bundt pan, pudding mold or bowl with nonstick spray and set aside. Fold 2 paper towels into a thick rectangular pad about 4-by-6-inches and place it in the bottom of a large stockpot. Pour 1 quart water into the pan.
● In a saucepan, combine the figs, apricots, dates and figs with the cream and ½ cup brandy over medium heat. Let the fruit absorb most of liquid, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
● Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the bread crumbs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside.
● In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until a thick, creamy froth forms, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the butter and rum until combined. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a stiff batter forms. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
● Gently place the bundt pan in the stockpot, making sure the paper towel stays between the bottom of the pot and the pan to prevent burning. Add more water until it reaches two-thirds up the side of the pan.
● Place the stockpot over medium-high heat until reaches a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and steam 2 to 2½ hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. Add more water as needed.
● Carefully remove the pudding from the pot and let cool. Refrigerate 1 to 4 weeks.
Active Day 2: To serve the pudding, place the pudding back in a stockpot lined with paper towels. Fill the stockpot with enough water to reach two-thirds up the side of the pan. Place the pot over medium heat and steam 1 hour, until warmed through. Invert the mold onto a wide serving platter with a lip.
● Optional: To serve en flambé, warm the remaining 1 cup brandy in a saucepot over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully use a long-handled match to light the brandy, then remove from heat. Carefully pour the flaming liquid over the pudding in view of your guests, then wait for the flames to die before slicing.
● Serve with whipped cream and brandy hard sauce.

 

Brandy Hard Sauce
1 cup

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cream
¼ cup butter
4 Tbsp. brandy
1 egg

Active Day 2: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, cream and butter until melted and combined. Add the brandy and stir about 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat.
• In a small bowl, whisk the egg until frothy, then add it to the saucepan and stir until combined.
• Return the saucepan to the stove over medium-low heat and continue stirring until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon and starts to set, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Figgy Pudding.

 

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Baked: Leftover Cranberry Tart

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

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There are lots of ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, but that container of cranberry sauce can seem never-ending. Here’s a sweet treat to use up the rest of that tart side. A crusty, almost cookie-like Italian cake is scented with cinnamon and ginger and baked with cranberry sauce over the top. If you’re in the mood for sweet and savory, lay some brie on top before it goes into the oven. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Cranberry Tart
Adapted from a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess
Makes 1 9-inch tart

2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/3 cup cake flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup cranberry sauce or relish

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the butter, cake flour, salt, baking powder and ginger and cinnamon and mix with a spatula until combined.
• Spread the dough in the tart pan, pressing it up the sides (It will be sticky.). Spoon the cranberry sauce into the center of the pan, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge.
• Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. The tart will keep in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Baked: Tres Leches Cake

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

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To prepare for a recent Mexican-themed dinner party, I hit the Internet seeking a classic tres leches cake recipe. My exhaustive search inspired me to create my own, an amalgam of techniques and ingredients that yielded a sweet, thick slab of milky cake topped with bourbon whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. The best part of the recipe is that the cake can be made days in advance, leaving you plenty of time to plan the rest of your fiesta.

 

Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from a recipe at Sweet Pea’s Kitchen 
6 to 8 servings

7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
6 oz. evaporated milk
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
½ cup whole milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon, plus more for dusting
1½ Tbsp. corn syrup
1 Tbsp. bourbon

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a microwave-safe medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on low about 3 to 5 minutes, then stir, cover and microwave another 3 to 5 minutes, until the milk darkens and thickens. Slowly whisk in the evaporated milk, ½ cup heavy cream and vanilla. Set aside to cool.
• Meanwhile, butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
• In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts. Remove from heat and set aside.
• In a large bowl, use a mixer on medium speed to beat the eggs 30 seconds, then slowly add the sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat 5 to 7 minutes, until thick and glossy. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the butter mixture and vanilla.
• Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into the egg-butter mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture just until combined, but do not overmix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on wire rack at least 10 minutes.
• Using a chopstick or skewer, poke holes on top of the cake at ½-inch intervals. Slowly pour the milk mixture over cake. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes, then refrigerate, uncovered, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.
• In a medium bowl, use a mixer on medium speed to beat the remaining ½ cup heavy cream, corn syrup and bourbon about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate and spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake.
• The cake can be assembled and refrigerated up to 3 days. Dust the cake with ground cinnamon and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

 

Baked: Mini Doughnut Muffins

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

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I’m terrified to fry at home ever since an incident five years ago when my pan caught fire mid-recipe. That was the end of homemade doughnuts at our house. I was skeptical that a baked version would capture the same flavors of fried doughnuts, but I was so wrong. Baking makes them healthier, and doing the work at home – in a mini-muffin tin, no less – opens up so many flavor possibilities. My favorite one was lemon curd and raspberry jam mixed together, but feel free to try different jams and glazes as you desire. Be prepared: You can’t eat just one. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Lemon-Raspberry Mini Doughnut Muffins
Adapted from a recipe from Butter Me Up 
6 servings

6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing
1½ cup flour, plus more for dusting
1¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup raspberry jam
¼ cup lemon curd
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk or water

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 24-cup mini-muffin tin and set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
• In another large bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined, then add the buttermilk and beat until incorporated. Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.
• Evenly divide the batter into the muffin cups and fill them to capacity. Smooth the tops so the batter is flush with the rims. Bake 14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool.
• Scoop the center out of each muffin and use a piping bag to fill the centers of each with raspberry jelly and lemon curd.
• Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk, adding more liquid as needed to achieve a glaze consistency. Brush the tops of each muffin with the glaze and let set.

Add a little cocoa powder to the glaze to sate a chocolate craving. For a cinnamon-sugar fix, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix together ¼ cup sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Dip the muffins into the butter, then the cinnamon-sugar and let dry.

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