Snickerdoodle Cake

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I blame pinterest for my not so recent baking extravaganza. I saw this snickerdoodle  recipe everyday until I could not put off making this cake. I was only able  to find hazelnut  pirouettes which, despite,  or perhaps due to this, makes this cake phenomenal. I do have a small piece  of  advice…. make a double  batch of  buttercream . .. I ran out. (Facepalm). so  without further ado from the curly girl kitchen blog!

Snickerdoodle Cake

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake:
·         ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
·         3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         2/3 cup light brown sugar
·         3 eggs
·         2 teaspoons vanilla
·         2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
·         ¾ teaspoon salt
·         ¾ teaspoon baking powder
·         Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
·         ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
·         1 cup buttermilk

Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

·         2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
·         1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste)
·         4 cups powdered sugar
·         2 tablespoons meringue powder
·         1 tablespoon cinnamon
·         ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
·         4 tablespoons milk or cream

Garnish:

·         ½ tablespoon cinnamon
·         Pirouette cookies
·         Ribbon

Getting Started:
Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare three 8-inch or 9-inch round pans by spraying the bottoms only with non-stick spray.

Make the Cake:
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugars for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl down and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating for a full minute after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour; mix just until combined.

Divide the batter between the pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out with moist crumbs but not batter.  Set the pans on wire racks, cover loosely with clean kitchen towels, and cool completely before frosting.  (The cake can also be made one day ahead of time; keep fresh and moist by cooling in the pans for one hour, then turning out the warm cakes onto pieces of plastic wrap.  Wrap each cake individually in plastic wrap and assemble/frost/decorate the following day.)

Make the Frosting:
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and vanilla bean seeds/paste for one minute.  In a separate bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder, cinnamon and nutmeg, then with the mixer on low, add by spoonfuls to the butter until mostly combined.  Add the milk or cream and whip on medium high, scraping the bowl down occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.

Assembly:
Stack the cakes, filling them with a ¼ inch thick layer of buttercream between each.  Frost all over with a thin crumb coat of buttercream, then chill for 15 minutes before frosting all over with a final layer of buttercream.

Sprinkle the top of the cake with the cinnamon.  Place the pirouettes (cut in half) all around the side of the cake, and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Yields 15-20 servings
Recipe and Design from Curly Girl Kitchen

The Baking Illustrated Challenge black berry jam cake and the Wilton Buttercream basics

Wilson class 1 …

I have enjoyed learning how to work with butter cream. It can be messy, frustrating, time consuming, and cause physical pain. While I am no where near professional cake decorating, I feel that I have improved a great deal. I am currently taking the second course, and I am signed up for the third. At the end of June I will be able to scratch off another set of goals on my do by 2018 challenge.

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This cake was excellent and turned out to be the perfect cake for my first attempt at decorating with buttercream. The only problem with making cakes is the simple fact my husband and I can not eat an entire cake in 1 week. Thankfully I have family to pawn off baked goods.

Blackberry Jam cake
Baking Illustrated cookbook
1 recipe foolproof sponge cake
1 8 oz jar blackberry jam

I baked, cooled, and placed one cake layer on a cardboard round. Evenly spread the jam over the cake, and then add the second layer, while making sure layers are aligned. I chose to decorate with butter cream, and my theme was my home state Texas.

Update course two went by so quick! I thought I would share my final cake. This was the hardest cake to frost, and I ran into a few issues. The cake was too soft, the frosting too thick, and I had very low frustration tolerance. Thankfully it turned out well.
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I am looking forward to the third and final wilton course …. next update in 5 weeks.

Wilton Decorating Decorating basics and Crafts

I finally signed up for the Wilton Basics class at Joann’s down near the mall in Muskegon. The first two pictures are the cupcakes I practiced on after class. The second set with pink, brown, and green are the ones I did the next day. Its amazing how much you learn after one class. For tomorrows class I am making a Black berry jam cake ( from my baking list), and Ill get to torte/fill, and decorate it in class!

 

I made a crepe recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the art of french cooking. They were fabulous. I believe I found the filling recipe from All recipes online. This recipe was simple to make, and the chilling time is the only barrier we had. I chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour instead of 2. I know I should read recipes prior to actually planning meals, but oh well.

No these are not a sign, and I am not pregnant. I just have been crocheting and decided to make a small project from my baby bootie book. Aren’t these mint Mary Janes just adorable!

Peanut butter truffles

I love finding things on pinterest, which makes me wonder what I did prior to social media. In the end I have found more positives than negatives with pinterest. Which leads me to why I was on the time suck  in the first plqace… my job. I love my new job, and part of why I love my job is my coworkers. They make work fun, creative,  are great at bouncing ideas off of, and let’s be honest if they can deal with my kind of hyper activity  /crazy they are deserve the best coworkers award.  The PT I work with is pretty darn awesome, and I wish she would stay permanently. However, one day she will leave and have more adventures as a traveling PT. So, I thought I would make her a treat specifically  for her … and per her request of anything with chcolate, and peanut butter (insert that one Comercial about Reese peanut butter cups) and voila ….. you get these

Peanut butter and m & m truffles

I bought a candy dipping tool… best investment  ever! They came out so much better than the fork method.

I also feel my presentation of my treats is starting to get to the point where they look nice and even some look cute!

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What my husband  and  I  made ;  a carrot cake with  cream cheese frosting 

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I also bagged some mint hot chcolate mix . I am looking forward to giving these out to my coworkers  tomorrow.

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My favorite  part of all of this was how calm I felt putting all of this together as I suffer from severe anxiety. I truly enjoy making things for others.

Chocolate it is…

Oh Saturday Desserts:

I have been MIA in regards to our Saturday family dinner desserts. Recently, I have gotten back in to baking and started with this black forest cake with cherry liqueur frosting. The frosting had to be given an additional beating prior to frosting the cakes due to it being slightly  runny. This particular week Grandma W was not there due to being ill.

So…

Of course we had to make them again so Grandma W could try it fresh ! Everyone loved having their own mini black forest cakes with cherry liqueur whipped frosting. Yum! I have to admit that I could only eat half of one, however thankfully my step father in law showed up and helped me out by eating the other half!

 

After all that chocolate we needed a break and this home made vanilla pudding was light and refreshing. These cute little glasses were perfect for having individual Nilla banana pudding desserts.It also made the just right amount for five people. Well okay so there was a ton of whip cream left over…

Valentines Day

Breakfast: Egg in the heart from the Pioneer Women’s Holidays cookbook.

This is the first time I have ever had eggs over easy… in my whole life ok in 29 years. I did not think I would enjoy this as much as I did. We ended up making these two times since Valentines day.

Some conversation hearts for Valentines day because well you know those chalk hearts are just plain disgusting!

For Julia who suddenly passed in February. I have cherished your friendship and conversations. I miss you more than words can say… I love you.

For Emily: a coworker who always makes me smile and whose hugs are calming.

Mexican it is..

Wow! Brian and I had a lot of troubles rolling these chicken taquitos. Every time we would try to roll them, and place them in to the hot oil as gently as possible the would open up. *headesk*. I tried using a toothpick to keep them together, placing them facing one way on the seam and then the opposite way to no avail. There were some that turned out great, and others that didn’t. Thank goodness they tasted amazing… it made up for the frustration of actually making them.

For my bosses going away party

These were a complete hit at the party! They were absolutely heavenly, with just the right amount of moist, and sweet chocolate flavor! I can not wait to make these again as an actual three layered cake!

Cook Book: Baking Illustrated

Devils Food Cake

Serves 8 to 10

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/4 C Dutch processed cocoa

1 1/4 C boiling water

3/4 C Unbleached AP Flour

3/4 C plain cake flour

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

16 T unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar

3 Lg eggs

1/2 C sour cream

1 t vanilla extract

1 recipe Rich Vanilla buttercream frosting

OR

What I made was:

White Chocolate Butter Cream by Rosie Cake Diva

Ingredients:

250 g unsalted butter

500 g confectioners sugar

300 g white chocolate

Vanilla extract

A little bit of water

See her video for two tonned roses!

Two Tone Buttercream rose cupcake tutorial by Rosie Cake Diva

I absolutely love Rosie and highly recommend you check her out on You tube!

DIRECTIONS for cupcakes:

  1. Adjust oven racks to Upper and lower middle position, preheat 350 degrees. Meanwhile, grease three 8 inch cake pans and line with round of parchment  paper, or you could make a batch of cupcakes like I did, just remember to spray those paper liners!
    1. a Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl; pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth. Sift together the flours, baking soda,a dn salt onto a large sheet of parchment; set aside
  2. beat the butter in the bowl of mixer at med-high until creamy around 1 min. Add brown sugar and beat at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Scrape bowl as needed. Wit h the mixer at medium high speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition. Reduce speed to medium; add sour cream and vanilla and beat until combined, 10 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl. With teh mixer on low, add about 1/3 of flour mix, followed by 1/2 of chocolate mixture; repeat and end with flour mixture; beat until just combined, about 15 seconds. DO NOT OVERBEAT!!!! Remove the bowl from mixer, scrape the bottom and sides with rubber spatula and stir gently to thoroughly combine.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among your cake or cupcake pans. If you are using cake pans smooth the batter with a spatula to the edges of the pan. Place 2 pans on the lower middle rack and 1 on the upper middle rack. Bake for 20-23 minutes or when a tooth pick is inserted in the middle it comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 15-20 minutes. Run a knife around each pan perimeter to loosen. Invert each cake onto a large plate; peel off the parchment and re-invert onto a rack. Cool completely.
  4. Assemble and frost the cake according tot he illustrations on page 144. Cut the cake into slices and serve. ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

PLEASE supervise your fur babies…

This post is going to be along the lines of a rant / soap box. If your family includes fur babies (dogs, cats) . Please make sure they do not get out of their fenced in area and roam!

I was driving home yesterday on the highway and a dog darted from the ditch, and I was boxed in. I couldn’t swerve to the left without hitting a car, and if I swerved to the right I would be in the ditch. I tried to slow down but I couldn’t stop despite being under the speed limit. I was luck to not have gotten into a wreck.

I am absolutely heart broken over running over the dog. I keep going over it in my head trying to think if I could have done anything differently, and even though I know I did everything I could in that moment to not hit the dog… it still hurts.

Please, if your dog likes to roam supervise them outside. I know its hard, but its better than them getting out and getting hit by a car.

Here are my fur babies; they were trying to comfort me the best they could while I cried myself to sleep.

Raspberry curd tart

I found this on Pinterest from Tutti Dolci, and was inspired to bake again this weekend. This dessert was a perfect balance of tart and sweet. I did make two additions to this recipe; home made whip cream, and chocolate curls.

However, I only had 6 ounces of raspberries. So I had make a quick pit stop at the store to buy more raspberries, and the cute rectangular tart/quiche pan. Seriously, how cute is this pan! I cant wait to try and make a quiche later this week.

This dessert was a definent hit at our weekly Saturday family dinner.

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This was the first time I have made chocolate curls. I saw it on Pioneer woman and decided to give it a  go. Some of them turned out well… and others were eaten😉

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This tart crust wow! The smell of toasted almonds is heavely.

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Recipe from Laura: Tutti Dolci
Ingredients
Lemon peel curls
Lemon zest 1 tsp
lemon juice 2 Tbsp
raspberries 4 cups

egg yolks 2

cornstarch 2 2/3 tbsp
flour 1 1/4 c
salt 3/8 tsp
sugar 3/4 cups

almonds, toasted and finely ground  1/4 cup

butter , 8 Tbsp

water 2 tbsp

Instructions:
For the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil (about 5 minutes); reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Place in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids.
Wipe pan clean and return strained mixture to pan. Whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Stir yolk mixture into raspberry mixture; bring to a boil over medium-low heat (about 5 minutes). Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat (the mixture should coat the back of a spoon). Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Place curd into a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Chill curd in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 1 1/2 weeks.

For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 14-inch rectangular removable-bottom tart pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Add brown butter to flour mixture and stir until incorporated; press mixture in the bottom and up the sides of prepared tart pan. Bake for 24 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. If baking the crust a day ahead of assembling the tart, carefully cover with foil to store overnight.

To assemble tart, spoon raspberry curd into cooled tart shell and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Arrange raspberries over filling in a decorative pattern. Chill in the refrigerator 2 hours before serving.

Raspberry Baked French Toast

I have wanted an Ina garten Cook book forever. I cant remember when I bought this particular cook book,  but I was standing in the Barnes and Noble and a lady next to me stated she loved that particular one. However, she didnt like making a whole roasted chicken just to make chicken stock. I can agree with her because I would hate to waste a whole chicken just to create stock.

I bought the book and have made a few recipes from it. What I enjoy is that everything in the book can be made ahead. I like being able to enjoy get togethers without being tethtered to the kitchen.

I found this recipe and new I had to make it. I  went about making my list of needed items, and decided to find Challah bread at the store. I searched with my husband to only find 1 small package of Challah rolls…not the traditional Challah.
So, we left with only the ingredients and no bread. I came home and with out reservation set about to make Challah from scratch. I was determined to make this recipe. After two days of prep, a scraped knuckle from zesting oranges, and some very tired feet we have an entierly from scratch french toast sitting in the freezer. We will be baking this dish on Thursday and I can hardly wait to taste it!

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Recipe: Raspberry Baked French Toast
Book: ina garten make it ahead a bearfoot contessa cookbook
By: Ina Garten
Ingredients:
1 T butter room temperature
10 large eggs
2 3/4 C half and half
1/3 C plus 2 T granulated sugar
1/3 C light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 T vanilla extract
1 t grated orange zest , plus extra for serving
1/2 t koshar salt
10 cups 1 inch diced day old challah bread
12 oz fresh raspberries
confectioners sugar, for serving
pure maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Grease 9×13 x 2 inch pan iwht butter and set aside. In large bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, 1/3 C sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and salt.

Spread half of bread in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the raspberries in one layer. Top with the rest of the bread and pour ont he egg mixture, pressing down lightly to moisten the bread. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 T of sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Place dish on a sheet pan and bake 60 to 70 minutes, until custard is set and the top is puffed and browned. Check at 45 minutes ; if the top is getting too browned , cover lightly with aluminum foil. Cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, dust with extra orange zest, and serve warm with maple syrup.

Bread: Challah
Book: Baking Illustrated

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Christmas 2015

I started planning for our Christmas treats around Novemeber. These treats have become easier with each year that I make them. This year we didnt start making the dough for many of the cookies till one week before Christmas. I have also figured out how much to make of each treat, so that we dont end up with an over abundence on every cookie. We even ended up with some of each treat for our own family which is nice.

ps. you can find recipes on this blog for any of the treats below🙂

The Christmas Treat list:
~Raspberry Hot Chocolate Mix

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~Dog Treats

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~Chocolate Pistachio Trees

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~White Chocolate Cranberry Truffles

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~Almond Biscotti
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~Linzer Cookies

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~Polar Bear Sugar Cookies

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The only treats that were new this year included the Linzer cookies, and the White Chocolate Cranberry Truffles. I was amazed at how well the truffles came out this year. While they do not look like the perfect truffles from a candy store, they taste wonderful!

Have you ever made mashed potatoes? If so , have you ever looked at a pot of peeled potatoes and thought….well that doesnt look like a lot? Then you add a few more into the pot. After making my first batch of Linzer cookie dough, I stood there pathetically looking at this small disc of dough… so I decided to make another batch. By the time it came to make the Linzer cookies, they were everywhere. Needless to say I could have stuck with 1 batch and been fine. Thankfully these cookies are so good that I dont mind having a ton.

I have also been blessed with some great gifts this year. I was so excited to use my Ninja to make an avacoado smoothie, and my new cookbook holder. My wonderful husband got me some nifty Christmas cookie cutters.

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I have also been baking and preparing other things including stuffed meatballs and an apple crisp.

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Without further ado here are the recipes for the Linzer cookies and the truffles.

Linzer Cookies
Resource: Wilton
Ingredients:
2 C AP Flour
2/3 C ground almonds
1/4 C t ground cinnamon
1 C butter , softened
2/3 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 t clear vanilla extract
1/2 C seedless raspberry Jam
Confectioners sugar

Directions:
In small bowl, comgine flour, almonds, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Add flour mixture only until incorporated. Divide dough into 2 pieces, press into small disks, about 1 inch thick. Cut half the dough using round cutter with chosen insert, cut equal number of rounds without insert for the bottom. Transfer to parchment paper and bake 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on cookie sheets, and once completely cooled , invert bottoms, spread a teaspoon of jam, and put a top on. Once all of the cookies are asembled dust with confectioners sugar.

White Chocolate Cranberry Truffles:
Cookbook: Truffles by Dede Wilson
Ingredients:
6 T heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 Lb white coverture chocolate, very finely chopped
1 1/2 T canned whole berry cranberry sauce (or homemade cranberry sauce)
3 T finely chopped sweetened dried craberries
confectioners sugar
flutted cups

Directions:
1. Place cream in a 2 quart wide saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle 9.5 ounces of chocolate into cream. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes; the heat should melt the chocolate. Stir very gently untnil smooth.
2. Whisk in cranberry suace and 2 T chopped cranberries. Pour mixture into shallow bowl, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until firm enough to roll, preferablly overnight.
3. Coat hands iwht confectioners sugar, and roll ganache into 3/4 inch balls. Place in a single layer on a jelly roll plan and refrigerate until firm.
4. Temper the remaining chocolate. Line a jelly roll pan wiht alluminum, shiny side up, smoothing out any wrinkles. Dip truffles in the melted chocolate, or roll in chocolate between your palms, making as thin and even a coating as possible. Place truffles on t he prepared pan. Top each truffle with a piece of chopped cranberry while chocolate coating is still wet. Refrigerate until firm. Place in fluted paper cups and serve at room temperature.

The Baking Illustrated Challenge Raspberry Squares

I was itching to bake last month, however I had no idea what to make! So, I went to the list on my challenge page. My husband pokes fun and often states that if its not on the list, then it wont be made. While this isnt exactly true, he sure knows how to ruffle my feathers.

I found the Raspberry squares in baking illustrated, went over the ingredients and recipe. I could not have found an easier all in one dish that used up the raspberry preserves sitting in the fridge. I love when I am able to use up ingredients in my fridge. 

These are the perfect combonation between slightly sweet and crunchy.

Raspberry Squares
1 1/2 C AP flour
1 1/4 C quick cooking oats
1/3 C granualated sugar
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 C finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combo
12 T butter softened but cool , cut into 12 pieces
1 cup raspberry preserves

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise. Fit 1 sheet into the bottom of hte pan, and allowing for over hang. Fit the 2nd sheet perpendicular to the first sheet.

2. In  bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt and nuts at low speed until combined around 30 seconds. With the mixer running at low speed, add the butter pieces; ; continue to beat until mixture is well blended and resembles wet sand around 2 minutes.

3. Transfer two thirds of the oat mixture to the prepared panand use your handsto press the crumbs evenly into the bottom. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, spread the preserves evenly over the hot bottom crust; sprinkle the reamining oat mixture evenly over hte preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edge and thetop is golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotatingthe pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Cool on a wife rack to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove the squares from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares.

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