Posts tagged ‘baking’

Nutella Chocolate Cobbler (Eggless)

Looks good, but not done yet!

Now, its done!

 

Calling all nutella and chocolate lovers!!!! You won’t want to miss this!

I can’t take credit for the idea… I saw this recipe over at savory sweet life and just had to make it! It totally fulfilled, or maybe surpassed, my expectations. Its very chocolatey and I love that it creates its own hot chocolate sauce! Have it with ice cream, or, with sliced bananas. Yes, it sounds weird but that was delicious! You can also have it as is, of course!

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 TBS cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk- I used chocolate almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1+1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350

In an 8×8 baking dish (I did this right in the dish I was going to bake in, one less thing to wash!) mix together flour, baking powder, salt 3 TBS cocoa powder and 1/2c sugar. In a 2 or 4 cup glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave. Then add the milk to it, and heat it for 30 seconds or so. Mix together the melted butter and milk, then stir in the nutella and vanilla. This method makes it easier to blend the nutella with the dry ingredients. Pour it into the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Spread it evenly. In a separate bowl mix 1/2c sugar, 1/2c brown sugar, 3 Tbs cocoa powder and spread it over the batter in the baking dish. Then pour the hot water over everything and DO NOT stir! Carefully move it to the oven, and bake for 40-45 minutes.

*Note: it will puff up and look cake like, and seem to be done, but it isn’t yet. Only once it sort of falls and starts to form more of a crust on the top, and when you shake the dish it jiggles only slightly… then its ready.

Might be ugly, but it sure tastes gooood!

Linking with Torvie’s Food palette series: Brown and Aipi and Priya’s Bookmarked Recipes

American Sandwich Bread

This is my first (and only) bread post of the month, and that too, barely making it in time! I’m planning to have more time for blogging in March, so hope there are some of you dear friends still with me 🙂

A simple white bread recipe, but I may have let it rise a tiny bit too much. It was good, but I’m still looking for that ‘perfect’ one. I think the reason mine is not as white is because I used unbleached flour and a dark honey. Found this at Annie’s Eats. I subbed half bread flour, and next time I will try it with only all purpose. Someday I will learn to follow a recipe properly, haha.

  • 3 1/2+ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (about 110°)
  • 1/3 cup warm water (about 110°)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 envelope (about 2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast

You can check the link for using a stand mixer with a dough hook. I did it by hand and with the “traditional” method (I guess!) of proofing the yeast.

So proof the yeast for 5 minutes along with the water and 1 tsp honey. Add the warm milk and the rest of the honey to it,  and stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. Once it comes together knead for several minutes, adding more flour as necessary until it is no longer sticky.

Place dough ball in lightly oiled bowl and swirl it around to coat the dough ball. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise for 40-60 minutes or until doubled.

Press dough into a rectangle and roll it tightly pressing the ends in to form a cylinder about the size of your loaf pan. Place in a well greased 9×5 loaf pan and press slightly so that it touches the sides. Cover with plastic and keep in a warm place around 30 minutes or until it peaks above the rim of the pan. Preheat oven to 350.

This is another step I didn’t follow. I will try this next time too:  Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350°.  Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack.  Bring two cups of water to boil in a small saucepan.  Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack and set the loaf onto the middle rack.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 195°, 40-50 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Original recipe from Baking Illustrated

BYOB

Williams Sonoma Wheat Bread

I saw this in a cookbook for Williams Sonoma Breads (a very thick book with lots of tips and instructions!). I didn’t check the book out of the library, instead I just wrote down this recipe. But I may go back and get the book sometime because it had tons of stuff in there! I liked that this used buttermilk and maple syrup.

Here is the recipe, cut in half for one loaf instead of two:

  • 2tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • orange zest (optional, I had mixed it with the sugar – this is not in the original recipe)
  • 1/2c warm water
  • 3/4c tepid buttermilk (I used kefir)
  • 2Tbs maple syrup
  • 2Tbs oil
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5c wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1.5-2c bread flour

Add yeast and sugar to warm water and keep aside for 10 minutes till foamy.

Mix the buttermilk, maple syrup, and oil with 1c whole wheat flour. Beat it very well for a few minutes. Add in the yeast and the rest of the whole wheat flour. Mix again. Add in bread flour 1/2c at a time(I add the salt with the first 1/2c here) till a soft dough forms. Knead until it is smooth and only slightly sticky. Form into a ball.

Place in an oiled bowl and turn the dough ball to coat lightly with the oil. Cover and keep aside to rise 1-1.5 hours.

Grease a loaf pan. Flatten the dough into a rectangle and fold the long sides over in thirds. Then take the short end of the dough and roll it as tightly as you can, keeping surface pressure on the outside of the dough. Roll it under your hands to even it out and make it the length of your loaf pan. Place it inside and cover with plastic (I keep a plastic bag from some large wraps I had bought and place the loaf pan inside this). Rise for an hour or until it peaks above the sides of the pan.

In the last half hour, preheat the oven to 350.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

I have to admit I didn’t love this bread. Its fine, but not my favorite one. Others liked it but I felt there was something not quite right about the taste. It could be the yeast I used (I don’t think I will buy that yeast again because it has a very strong odor in whatever I made with it), it could be the tang of the kefir. It could be my user error because it took FORVER for the dough to rise, probably due to the cold weather. I would give this another try though, because its probably my fault and not the recipe.

Sending to BYOB.

Homemade Pizza Dough and Sauce

I just made an amazing pizza! One of those pizzas that tastes like it came from your local pizza place… and not the cheap crappy pizza place, but a real authentic one! I’m pretty excited about it, in case you couldn’t tell. My only worry is I wont be able to replicate it, lol. So, I will try to describe exactly what I did, so that you too (and myself) can make this gorgeous dough once again (BTW, I think this will make awesome naan!)

This is loosely based on Peter Reinharts recipe, but I did not follow it precisely (shocking right? lol)

Here is what I did:

  • 1 1/2c warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1.5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1c all purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2-3 c of bread flour, unbleached
  • 1 tsp salt

Super Bubbly Crust!!

Mix 1/2c of the warm water with sugar and yeast. Let the yeast activate for 5 minutes or so. Add in the rest of the water, the olive oil and the all purpose flour. Mix it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add in 1c of bread flour with the salt sprinkled over the top of it and sort of mix it into the flour then into the dough mixture. This is my crazy paranoid way of adding salt to bread dough because Im scared of killing the yeast. Then continue adding in the bread flour 1/2 c or so at a time until you get a very soft and still slightly sticky dough. I think moisture in the dough is key! Knead it until it just barely sticks to your fingers. Coat a large bowl with olive oil and coat the dough as well. Put it covered in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 475 (mine is a gas convection oven). Coat the bottom of your baking tray or use foil in the baking tray and put the oil on that which is what I did (unless you are using a pizza stone) with olive oil and coat your hands also. Cut the dough into about 3 equal portions, depending on the size of pizzas you want to make. One technique I picked up somewhere for making pizza is to squeeze the edge of the dough with your hands while letting gravity stretch the dough downwards, continuing clockwise around the edges. I did this until it was mostly stretched and then I put it on the baking sheet (remember to have everything well oiled!) and finish stretching it to the size you like. Let them rest about 10 minutes. Then pop this in the oven ON THE BOTTOM RACK. *This may depend on your type of oven*. I had two trays of pizza so I had one on the bottom rack and one on the middle rack, switched them after 5 minutes for a total of 10 minutes. This method produced a crisp bottom crust, no doughy middle and a light fluffy dough with lots of yummy bubbles!! Don’t let the bottoms burn.

Remove from the oven after no more than 10 minutes. It is just to partially bake the crust. Next slather on your sauce and pile on your cheese and toppings. Pop back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes (this time I used two middle racks and switched them again halfway.)

My toppings:

  • Very thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Thinly sliced green pepper
  • Black olives
  • 4 cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone, Fontina)

And, yes, I did not forget the sauce:

  • 4 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1/3-1/2c water depending on how thick you want it (peter reinhart says do not make it very thick, and I have to agree)
  • 2 tsp italian dried herb blend (oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil)
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes or chili powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

This is going to Yeastspotting

Mexican-ish Bean Dip with Frijoles Refritos (“refried” beans)

If you have been to a Mexican style restaurant in US, you have probably come across the mashed beans known as refried beans. Well, I had some tortilla chips and dried pinto beans in my cupboard, so I thought, why not try a bean dip? I thought the refried beans will be a quick and simple thing to make. To be honest, its simple, but it does take some time. Luckily, I made enough for two batches and froze one for another day. Yay! There is some technique to getting that lovely creamy mashed texture. This video helped me a lot.

I also learned something. The term refried beans is the result of Americans “English=izing” a spanish word refritos. The prefix “re” in English usually means something that is done over again. Like replay a song, retake a test, etc. But the same is not true in spanish. So while fritos does mean to fry/cook, “re” just means to do it really well. So, it is just well cooked beans. Okay, lesson over.

  • 2c dried pinto beans- soaked overnight and pressure cooked with  bayleaves for 2 whistles (must be very soft, even falling apart) – Don’t drain the liquid
  • 3-4 green chilies minced
  • 2 sm or 1 lg onion, diced
  • 4 big cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp dried mexican oregano, or other dried herbs
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 2 Tbs butter + oil
  • salt

Fry onions till brown (cook them really well for at least 15 minutes) in butter and oil. Add garlic, stir. Add the spice powders. Then add 1 ladle of beans without the liquid. Mash them really well with the onions in the pan. Add 2 more ladles of beans, along with a little cooking liquid. Continue to mash. Repeat untill all beans are in the pot (No need to add all of the liquid, just a little bit with the beans to cook with).

After mashing to the point you like, turn up the heat and keep stirring. Once beans start to thicken, reduce to medium and cook until you can run the spoon through the pan, and the bean mash does not immediately come back together. Then you’re done!  I divided this in half, let the other half cool first, then freeze it in a plastic freezer bag, flattened.

this is how it looks when its done

Now, butter an 8×8 baking dish (or larger if you use the whole thing) and preheat oven to 350.

Spread the beans mixture in the dish, and top it with lots of chopped spring onions and shredded cheddar cheese(mine is sharp white cheddar). Bake until cheese melts, around 15 minutes. Serve with salsa and tortilla chips. **I also like to spread the chips on a cookie sheet and pop them into the oven for 5 minutes or so after taking out the bean dip, just to warm and crisp the chips!

This dip was really scrumptious and I topped it with homemade avocado salsa. Don’t leave out the spring onions if possible because I think that took it over the top (and JF agrees!).

Salsa:

  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 shallot, diced small
  • 2 green chillies, minced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste

Mix together and let the flavors blend.

Im linking this to Aipi’s Bookmarked Recipes and MLLA hosted by Simona and Susan, to Real Food Fiesta and to Hearth and Soul!

Hearth n' Soul Blog Hop at A Moderate Life

Lemon Ginger Poppyseed Muffins – a little bite of sunshine

On these cold winter days, we need something to perk us up. Put a spring in our step. For me, that is lemons.

The first time JF and I met, we had lemon poppyseed muffins. He commented how those were his favorite, and so, they always remind me of that day. 😀

This recipe has been in my box at least four years. Four years! I had written it down out of a cookbook called Luscious Lemon Desserts. I totally lurrrve lemon!! I saw another popular lemon muffin recipe online, but using just one little lemon… it definitely did not have enough intense lemon punch for me. Lemon flavoring? No way. I did change a few things from the original; less butter, less poppyseed (I like a lot of poppyseed, but wasn’t brave enough to add the whole 3 Tablespoons the recipe called for), cake flour and whole wheat pastry flour, and the addition of ginger, which I think subtly enhances the lemony-ness. Feel free to leave it out if that aint your thing.

  • 1c cake flour
  • 3/4c whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use all purpose flour in total of 1 +3/4c)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 Tbs poppyseeds
  • zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 4 Tbs (4 ounces) or half stick of butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • juice of 2 l lemons (I got 1/3c) Meyer lemons are great too!
  • 1/2c milk, room temperature or slightly warmed but not hot
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger (optional)(increase for more intense ginger taste)

Preheat oven to 375

Rub together lemon zest and sugar in a bowl, and let it sit while you finish the other tasks. This will infuse the sugar with the lovely lemon aroma.

Line muffin tins with papers or grease them.

Mix or sift together dry ingredients. Stir in poppyseeds.

Beat together the eggs and sugar. Stir in the butter, milk, and lemon juice. Add the flour mix and stir until it just comes together without overmixing. Its okay if there is a little flour not totally incorporated. This will make for very tender muffins. Just to let you know, when I added the dry to wet, it bubbled up quite a bit due to the lemon juice reacting to the baking soda. Thats fine. If you want to wait for it to calm down, it wont affect the final product either! Spoon into the muffin tins.

Bake for 15 minutes or so. It may still look pale on top. You don’t have to let them turn golden because the pale ones are more moist.

Optional Glaze:

I like the glaze for an extra lemon zing, but its good without too!

Just stir together powdered/confectioners sugar with lemon juice till you get a pourable consistency. A good starting point is 1/2c powdered sugar and juice of half a lemon, depending on how much glaze you like.

I’m linking this to Seasonal Sunday.

Cranberry Walnut Blondies

I needed some type of sweets to take to a party. Thinking back, I remembered one of the best cookie bars I ever made. It was these coconut blondies from Brown Eyed Baker. I wanted to use the ingredients I had on hand, and also make it a little festive. So, I threw in some dried cranberries and white chocolate chips in addition to the chocolate and walnuts. They were a hit (people definitely prefer the middles, I found out). Feel free to halve the recipe and bake in an 8×8 dish instead.

Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips (try to find ones made with real cocoa butter and not shortening oils- I recommend trader joes)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325

Butter a 9×13 baking dish

In a small pot melt the butter. Add the brown sugar to it and cook a minute, stirring, until the brown sugar melts completely into the butter. This is what gives blondies the awesome butterscotch flavor! Let it cool before mixing with the other ingredients.

Stir or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the butter/brown sugar to it. Add vanilla. Beat them together well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until almost incorporated, but not completely. Then stir in the cranberries, walnuts and both chips. Do not overmix.

Pour into baking dish and even out with a spatula.

Bake 40 minutes or until the sides are pulled away from the pan and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not overbake or they may be dry.

Want a vegan version? Check this out!

Bubble Corn Bread

I’ve been trying to decide on which bread to make for BBD- Corn-y Breads. First, I was going to try anadama bread, which has been on my to-try list for a while. Then I considered one from Amy’s Bread cookbook, which is shaped like a sunflower… very impressive, but maybe too advanced for me! Then I had narrowed it down to two from Bernard Clayton :  Broa, a soft portuguese corn bead, and this, “bubble” loaf. As you can see, I went with the bubbles! It was quite easy to make and I liked the outcome. Plus its cute how the little round balls puff up and fill the pan, then bulge over the top. And pulling them apart while the loaf is still hot, and smearing some butter on… mmmmm. I halved this recipe to make in a regular loaf pan.

Here is what I did:

  • 2c bread flour
  • 1/2c all purpose flour (or use all bread or all purpose)
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 pkt active dry yeast
  • 3/4c water
  • 1/4c milk
  • 1 Tbs butter + additional melted for brushing the top(optional)

Mix 1c flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and cornmeal in a bowl.

Heat water milk and butter till butter melts, and then cool until it is just warm (and you can put your finger and hold it there without being hot).

Add the liquid to the bowl and mix hard with a wooden spoon for a few minutes (or do this in a mixer). Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time until a dough forms. (I actually needed to add 2 Tbs more water, but ymmv). Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. He says the dough should be smooth and elastic, and feel alive under your hands!!

Cover the dough and rest for 20 minutes.

Butter the loaf pan. Punch down the dough and knead a few times to remove air pockets. Divide into 16-20 equal pieces, by dividing in half with a knife, half each again, and so on.  Roll each dough portion into a ball (I made little roll forms, by bringing the sides of the dough tightly underneat and pinching it shut, but this may not be necessary) Arrange half the pieces in the bottom. It does not need to fill the bottom because it will do that when it rises. Add the other half on top. Brush with melted butter (I didnt do this step). Cover tightly with plastic and rise for 1 hour.  You can also keep this in the fridge for 2-24 hrs. removing 15 minutes before baking.) Preheat oven to 375 or 325 if using convection oven.  Since I halved the recipe, it only needed to bake for 25-30 minutes, but he says to bake for 45-55 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and brush again with melted butter(optional).

Sending this to Yeastspotting, Bread Baking Day, and BYOB and also Healthy or Decadent

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts because its easy, using only few ingredients, and fairly healthy too. Of course, we love to make it less healthy by pairing the hot  juicy apples with ice cream! Hehe. It also makes the house smell fabulous! Usually I use rolled oats for the topping, but since I’m trying to use what I have, I used rye flakes instead. It is still good, but the rye flakes are much harder than oats. Next time I may try to break them up some in the mixie (food processor) first.

Here is what I did:

  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (I used a combo of honey crisp, granny smith, golden delicious, and stayman winesap)
  • 1/3 c cranberries
  • lemon juice – 1/2 lemon or less as needed
  • 1 TBS sugar  *You may want to add more if your apples are very tart or you like things more sweet*
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • generous sprinkle of cornstarch

Topping:

  • 1/2c flour
  • 1/4c rye flakes (or rolled oats)
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar *This makes it mildly sweet. Add another Tbs if you like*
  • 3 Tbs cold unsalted butter (if your mixture is not crumbly, you may need another Tbs of butter)
  • pinch of salt

Butter a deep pie dish and preheat the oven to 375.

Put the apple slices in the pie dish and sprinkle them with lemon juice so they do not turn brown, and I like the tartness the lemon gives also. Toss them around and add the sugar and cinnamon, then the cornstarch and toss around again. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top. Cornstarch will make the juices released from the apples to thicken, and so will the pectin in the cranberries. The cranberries also give another level of flavor which I really enjoyed, especially with the sweetness of the ice cream we had it with.

Mix the ingredients for the topping in a bowl, using your fingers to break up the butter and squish it into the rye/flour making a crumbly texture. You may also use a fork or a pastry cutter for this.  Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the apples in the pie dish.

Place the pie dish on a metal baking sheet to prevent any possible spill overs. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and the apples are bubbling up.

Let it cool at least 10 minutes before eating, but its best while still warm!  Especially with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream!

Sending this to Hearth and Soul and to Decidely Healthy or Horribly Decadent
Hearth n' Soul Blog Hop at A Moderate Life

Molasses Wheat Sandwich Bread with Rye Flakes

Don’t ask me how rye flakes ended up in my pantry. Sounds healthy enough, but I have no idea what to do with them! I read that they can be interchanged with oat so I was thinking I could put them in bread, since part of my goal this month is to bake my own breads. I took a nibble, and it didn’t taste too strong so I went ahead with it. I even ventured to make up a bread recipe loosely based on other ones I found that were not quite what I wanted. A bit of a risk since Im a novice bread baker. But to my surprise it turned out really good!  The rye flakes themselves give a pleasant grainy flavor and texture to the bread, but I have to say, they are much firmer than oat meal which more or less disappears into the bread. We liked the added bite it gives. I read about soaking whole grains to bring out their sugars and flavors. So I did that, not sure if it made a difference.

Here is what I did:

  • 1c white wheat flour
  • 1/3c rye flakes
  • 3/4c hot water

Combine the three and keep in the fridge overnight. Take out about an hour before starting the rest of the dough so it comes to room temperature.

  • 1/4c warm water

    Check out the crazy franken-yeast!

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar

Combine and let bloom for 10 minutes till frothy.

Mix yeast water with the soaked flour above. I used my hand to get it well incorporated. Then add:

  • 1/4c molasses (or a mix of molasses and honey for a milder sweeter taste)
  • 3TBS melted butter or oil

Stir well then add in:

  • 2c bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Put the salt on top of the flour and mix it in. I did this to minimize salt contact with the yeast, since salt can kill yeast (and Im paranoid about that).

Knead the flour making a soft dough, add more flour if necessary. Knead for 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and roll around to coat the outsides. Cover with a damp cloth and keep in a warm place for 1-1.5 hrs till almost doubled.

After I had already shaped my loaf, I found this wonderful video with very helpful hints.(It is more clear than my explanation)

Press the dough into a rectangle shape and fold it into thirds. Let rest 10 minutes then take the small rectangle with the narrow edge in front of you and roll it very tightly, keeping surface tension on the outside of the dough. Pinch together the end. Roll your hands over it a few times to even it out.(mine was uneven, so I wish I had seen this in time. Still tasted fine!) Then place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan, cover loosely and let rise till it crests above the rim of the pan(mine took almost 2 hours in the cold weather). (Most recipes say to cover with plastic wrap but I never buy that. This time what I did is use the plastic bag from some tortilla wraps that we had finished and it works really well. I just put the whole loaf pan inside and sealed it.) Slit down the middle with a very sharp knife (optional).

Preheat oven to 350 during last half hour of rising time.  Bake 40-45 mins until golden, pulled away from sides of pan, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack.

Taken the next day in better lighting

I’m sending this to Yeastspotting on Wild Yeast Blog!

I’ve also joined forces at the breadmaking blog to Bake my own bread in 2011 (BYOB)! What a wonderful concept.

BYOB

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