Raspberry and Rose Muffins

I got the inspiration for this recipe by the leftover rose sugar that collects on the bottom of a bag of Turkish delight. Typically you will see both lemon and rose flavored candy in one bag of Turkish delight, and the rose flavor is what I usually pick out to eat. I love anything rose flavored when it comes to sweets. The powdered sugar that coats the candy gets permeated from the rose flavored candy and usually there is quite a bit of it leftover in the bottom of the bag. It’s like a little present waiting for you once you finish your candy. The smell of the sugar is amazing. I certainly did not want to throw it away so I got inspired when I had some fresh raspberries to make muffins. When I’m coming up with new recipes, it usually comes from something in my daily life that awakens my senses or tastes. If you have access to organic roses you can make your own rose infused sugar. Here is a great link I found on how to do that.

 

 

raspberry and rose muffins 1

raspberry and rose muffins 2

 

Raspberry Rose Muffins

yield: 12 muffins

 

2  3/4 C all purpose flour

1 C sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Cups (about 12 oz. or 2 pints) fresh raspberries

1 Cup milk

1 Cup sour cream

2 eggs

3/4 Cup melted unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. rose water

3/4 tsp. vanilla

Rose Sugar (optional)*

*To make “fast” rose sugar in a food processor place 1/3 cup granulated sugar and scant 1/3 cup organic dried small rose buds (you can usually find the rose buds in tea shops that sell loose tea) and process until sugar turns into powder. Store leftover sugar in a ziplock baggie or airtight container.

 

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a non stick muffin tin with baking spray. (I used a tall European style muffin tin for tall muffins- but you can use a standard American muffin tin-adjust the baking time as needed). If you have a mini popover pan that works too.

2. In large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Gently add the raspberries and gently toss with the flour mixture to coat.  In a measuring cup whisk the milk, sour cream, eggs, butter and flavorings. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold together being careful not to break the berries. Using a ice cream style scoop divide the batter evenly into each muffin well. If you have any extra berries- top the muffins with a berry. Sprinkle granulated sugar over each muffin.

3. Bake muffins at 375° for 10 minutes then DECREASE the oven to 350° F and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

4. Let the tin cool over a wire rack and after 5 minutes remove the muffins and let them cool the rest of the way on the rack. Once cool dust over a little rose sugar if you like right before serving.


Glazed Meyer Lemon Shortbread

 

There are days I really miss San Francisco. I miss all the wonderful restaurants.  I miss all the eccentric, diverse weirdos, people. I miss hearing the clang-clang of a distant cable car rolling down a steep hill.  I miss the faint orange of the Golden Gate bridge peeking through the dense fog.  I miss being able to drive up to the wine country at a moments notice. I could go on for hours with all the reasons.

Most of all, I miss my dear friends. Especially my friends with Meyer lemon trees….

and you know who you are… 

I used to get BAGS of them for free willingly dropped off onto my work desk.

Oh, the amazing meyer lemon. How I love thee…

I don’t even know how to describe the scent of a meyer lemon. Sure the taste is amazing- but it’s the smell that borders on exotic. You just have to smell one to experience it- One cannot simply describe how it smells (but I’ll try- It’s sweet, it’s distinctly floral, but at the same time lemony).

I recently found a bag of meyer lemons at the market (albeit-expensive)-insert appropriate child like weeping here)- so I just had to splurge and buy them. I was down right giddy when I spotted them. I admit I sat in my kitchen and snorted the scent coming off of those lemons for several minutes. Some of them I sliced thin and macerated them with sugar for a few hours at room temp until a natural syrup formed and then I added the syrup to my iced tea.

The rest I used to make shortbread. These little gems are packed with flavor- but I didn’t want to stop there- so I used some of the juice to mix with confectioners sugar to make a glaze.

Cheers to the meyer lemon, and more importantly to my friends who I miss. Even without your lemon trees you are forever dear in my heart.

meyer lemon shortbread 1

meyer lemon shortbread 2

glazed meyer lemon shortbread

Glazed Meyer-Lemon Shortbread

 

2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 Cup confectioners sugar

zest (finely grated) of 3 meyer lemons (reserve juice for glaze)

2 Cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp. fine (table salt)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. lemon extract

1. Cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy; about 3 minutes, stopping often to scrape bottom and sides of mixer bowl. Stir in zest and combine. Add extracts and combine well. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add flour mixture to ingredients and mix on low until combined. Place cookie dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten out into a disk. Wrap well and place in refrigerator to chill for one hour.

2. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thickness. Peel off top sheet of paper. Dip desired cookie cutter in flour and cut cookies. (I used a 1 inch x 3 inch long cutter). If dough becomes soft while working- place back in the refrigerator to chill; before attempting to remove cut out cookies; cookies release much easier if dough is very cold. Re-roll any scraps and cut out remaining cookies. Place cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 325° F for about 14-15 minutes or until edges are just turning light brown. Allow cookies to cool on sheets then remove to a wire rack. Once completely cool, glaze with lemon glaze.

 

Lemon Glaze

1 Cup confectioners sugar

2 1/2-3 tsp. meyer lemon juice

In a small bowl whisk together sugar and lemon juice. You are looking for a fairly thick glaze; you don’t want it too runny. Spread glaze onto cookies with a small off set spatula. Let cookies sit for glaze to set; about one hour. Store cookies in an air tight container.

 


Fourth of July Meringue Cookies

Happy Birthday America.

On Independence Day you MUST wear something red white and blue as well as try to eat something red white and blue. I’ve got you covered with the last one. The rest is up to you.

An extra special Thank You to all the Men & Women in our Armed Forces for your selfless and brave service.

 

fourth of july meringues

fourth of july meringues 2

Fourth of July Meringues 3

Eton Mess with red white and blue meringues

Eton Mess: Layer sweetened whipped cream, top with macerated raspberries and macerated blueberries, drop in some crumbled meringues, top with whipped cream and repeat…

Fourth of July Meringues

yield: about 16 meringues

 

3 large egg whites

3/4 Cup superfine sugar

large pinch (1/4 tsp.) cream of tartar

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

In the bowl of a clean stand mixer bowl place the egg whites and sugar. Place over a saucepan that has about 1 inch of water. Bring water to simmer and whisk whites and sugar until sugar granules are no longer felt when you feel with two fingers, and mixture is warm. Whisk in cream of tartar and salt. Place bowl on stand mixer with whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until meringue forms and is stiff peak and glossy; about 7 minutes; towards the last minute pour in the vanilla while whisking.

Take a disposable pastry bag and fit with a round large tip (such as 804 or 805 Ateco). Using a bamboo skewer use gel paste food coloring and make a stripe of red color down one side of the inside of the bag. Do the same with blue gel coloring on opposite side of the bag. Make sure the stripe of color is fairly thick. Place the pastry bag inside a large glass or tumbler and fold the cuff of the bag over the glass to keep the bag in place. Carefully use a large spoon and drop dollops of meringue down inside of bag being careful not to disturb the sides of the inside of bag as much as possible.

Pipe decorative swirls of meringues going about 4-5 turns onto prepared sheet pan. Bake meringues for about 1 hour and 15 to 1 hour and 20 minutes (depending on the humidity and size baking times will vary) or until meringues are dry. Rotate baking sheet half way through baking time. If meringues are taking long to become crisp you can turn off the oven and keep door propped open and let meringues cool the rest of the way inside the oven.

Meringues will keep for several days in an airtight container.

Serve meringues crumbled over ice cream or with whipped cream and macerated berries to make Eton Mess.

 

 

 


Pina Colada Cake

I’m not gonna lie; this is an ambitious cake with many components which you may decide to make only parts of. I recently made this for both my nephews graduation party. The oldest graduated from college, and the younger graduation from high school, so excuse my not so great pictures as I only spent a few minutes taking pictures of the cake at the party.

I love nothing more than a good three layer dramatic cake. Of all the things I make- 3 layer cakes are still my favorite. If you love the taste of pina colada, then this is the cake for you. As I always say, make it your own. If you decide you want to leave out the curd filling and just make a coconut cake with a simple filling, then by all means. I have made this cake many times with different variations. I will also give the variation for this cake in 2 layers at the end of the post for those who want just a 2 layer cake.  If you can find the large flake unsweetened coconut- it is an especially elegant cake; Bobs Red Mill makes a good version of the large flake coconut if you can find it.  Another variation is to fill it with store bought lemon or lime curd. Dickensons makes a great lime curd if you can find it. Since I cover the cake with sweetened coconut I purposely leave the coconut buttercream on the subtle side. If you like a real full on coconut taste you may also decide to flavor all of the buttercream with more coconut extract. Just play around with it- by adding a little at a time until you like the taste. The cake takes a while to make and assemble, so when I am planning to make it- I like to make the syrup, pineapple curd and the buttercream the day before to save time. Just keep all 3 components chilled overnight.

* If you don’t like the visible flecks of vanilla bean in the frosting then you can use vanilla extract instead. I personally like the flavor of the vanilla bean paste over the vanilla in this buttercream as it adds a more pronounced flavor.

Coconut Pina Colada Cake

Pina Colada Cake 1

Pina Colada Cake 2

PIna Colada Cake 3

Pina Colada Cake 5

Pina Colada Cake

 

Pineapple Curd

recipe: adapted from Donna Hay

300 gms Fresh Pineapple, chopped coarse

2 tsp. lemon juice

3 egg yolks

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 Cup caster (superfine) sugar

150 gms unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces.

In a food processor or vitamix, or super powered blender; process the pineapple until smooth. Strain pineapple directly into a small saucepan. Add in the lemon juice and stir with a heat proof spatula. Add in the sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch and stir vigorously or whisk to combine. Place over medium heat and stir continuously with the spatula or non metal whisk until thickened; about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter in pieces. Place in a bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap over surface. Chill until ready to use. Makes about 1 1/2 Cups; you will have a little left over. The curd will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

 

Rum Cake Syrup

1/2 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup water

2 Tbsp. dark rum

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to ensure sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Set aside to cool at room temperature while you prepare the cake. Note: you can also prepare this a day or two ahead and keep in refrigerator to chill. Makes about 1 cup and you will have some leftover.

 

Coconut three-Layer Cake

4 3/4 + 2 Tbsp. Cake Flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 Cup unsalted softened butter (3 sticks)
2 1/4 Cup sugar
9 egg whites (if using liquid egg whites from a carton- use 1 1/2 cups liquid measured)
zest of one lemon- finely grated/zested
2 tsp. vanilla or vanilla bean paste. (I like to use the paste)
1 tsp. coconut extract

1 Cup (full fat) coconut milk [shake several times before opening]
1 Cup whole or 2 % milk

1 Cup sweetened flake coconut + more for covering sides and top of cake.

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 9 inch cake pans by spraying with nonstick baking spray and lining with parchment circles, then spray lightly again.
2. Whisk first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In bowl of stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy; about 2-3 minutes. Mix coconut milk and whole milk in a 2 cup glass measuring cup, set aside. Add egg whites to butter sugar mixture one at a time or slowly if using liquid whites; stopping frequently to scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Add extracts and mix. Note: mixture will look really loose and curdled (this is okay and normal)- it will come together in the end. In 3 additions on medium speed, alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture with 1/3 milk mixture starting an ending with flour mixture.  Fold in sweetened coconut with a spatula. Divide batter equally between the three pans.
3. Bake at 350° F for about 25 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. It’s okay if you get a few moist crumbs on skewer. Let pans cool on a wire rack until completely cool, then flip out cakes.

Vanilla Bean & Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites (note: I do not use liquid egg whites for this)

1 1/2 Cups sugar

5 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (slightly softened)

2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp. (+ more to taste) coconut extract

In a medium to large saucepan place an inch of water. In the bowl of your stand mixer place the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl directly over the pan of water and bring water to a simmer; whisking continuously. Whisk the whites and sugar until mixture is 160 degrees F. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer- just heat until you no longer feel any sugar granules and mixture is warm to touch. Remove bowl; wipe off the bottom of any water and place on mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed until a meringue forms and is shiny and stiff; about 5 minutes. Continue to whisk until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm. Reduce speed to medium and add in one tablespoon of butter at a time until buttercream is smooth. Stop as necessary to scrape down sides and bottom to ensure you are getting on the meringue mixed in. NOTE: It will go through a grainy curdled phase- but don’t worry (this is normal) it will come together- just keep adding in the butter and continue to whip. Once smooth, stop and remove about 1 1/2 cups and place in a bowl large enough to mix. Mix the 1 1/2 cups of buttercream with the coconut extract, then set aside. Mix the remaining buttercream with the vanilla bean paste until all the paste is incorporated.

 

To assemble:

1. Trim off cake tops with a large serrated knife to level any domed tops. Flip cakes over and also shave off a thin layer of the cake that has turned brown; this helps the syrup soak in a bit more.

2. Place a small dollop of buttercream onto a cardboard cake round. This helps “glue” the cake, so as not to slide while assembling. Place one cake layer down over the dollop of buttercream, being careful to center on cardboard round. Brush cake liberally with the rum syrup. Frost this first layer with the coconut buttercream, until buttercream is level and smooth.

3. Prepare a second cake layer by brushing with syrup and carefully flipping cake over so syrup soaked side rests over the coconut buttercream. Brush the top side of cake also with syrup. Place a generous amount of the pineapple curd over the cake layer and smooth to the side of cake leaving about 1/2 inch boarder as curd will spread a bit. If you want extra assurance; you may pipe a border of vanilla buttercream (about 1/2 inch tall) along the outside edge border of the cake and place the pineapple curd inside the piped boarder. If you like a thicker layer of curd this is a way to get a thicker layer without having to worry about it seeping out the sides of the cake. If you don’t have a piping bag you can simply use a plastic ziplock bag and snip off one of the corners and pipe that way. If find I like this way (using the piped border) as some of the curd tends to soak into the cake after assembling and you can get a thicker layer of curd this way.

4. Brush the third and final layer of cake with syrup and place it soaked side down over the curd layer. Brush the top layer of the cake also with syrup and spread a thin layer of vanilla buttercream over the top and sides of cake to “crumb coat”. Place the crumb coated cake into the fridge for 30 minutes. Frost the cake top and sides with remaining vanilla buttercream until smooth and cover top and sides of cake with flaked coconut. Keep cake chilled in refrigerator. Remove cake about 1 hour before ready to serve to come to room temperature. Store any remaining cake in the refrigerator.

 

For a 2 layer cake: Follow directions as above but reduce amounts as per below and prepare two 9 inch cake pans and bake as above. Prepare a 5 egg white buttercream.

3 1/4 Cups cake flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 Cups

6 large egg whites

1 tsp. lemon zest (fine)

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla)

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

2/3 Cup coconut milk

2/3 Cup whole or 2 % milk

3/4 Cup sweetened flake coconut + more for finishing cake

 

Five egg white Swiss Meringue Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Follow method directions as above for buttercream

(enough to frost and fill a 2 layer cake)

5  egg whites

1 1/4 Cup sugar

4 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste OR (Coconut extract to taste if you want coconut buttercream)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Homemade Oreos

Oreos are the quintessential American cookie. Who in their lifetime has not either split open or dunked a good Oreo or two…or five. I swear they taste even better at 2 am in the morning when you can’t sleep and your stomach is growling. Just sayin’…

I hardly ever buy Oreos though because my son will devour half a package in no time; and I don’t have much constraint when it comes to stopping at just one. For some reason I was compelled to try my hand at making them, but only after reading several comments from patrons who have visited the famed bakery in Boston named Flour. Their Oreos are known to be quite special. This recipe is from that baker, and is super easy. The recipe can be found in Joanne’s cookbook Flour. I found the recipe online from the Boston Globe. I only changed one minor thing- I used equal parts of regular and “black cocoa” which you can find online from King Arthur. The addition of black cocoa makes these the perfect dark black cookie the original Oreo is known for.

 

Homemade Oreos

 

Oreos 2

Oreos 3

Oreos 4

Homemade Oreos

recipe: adapted from Flour Bakery

Here is the link for the original recipe found in the Boston Globe

 

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used half black cocoa and half regular)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and the sugar until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the egg and stir until well blended.

2. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder(s), baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend them. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The finished dough should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for 1 hour or until firm.

3. Place the dough on a long sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rough log, about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Note: I split mine into two logs of equal length: which I then “nestle” each log into a split paper towel roll, which I use to ensure the dough stays round while chilling. Each log was the length of the paper towel roll. I always use this method when making slice and bake cookies. Each log ends up being about 2 inches in diameter.

Place the log at the edge of the parchment. Roll the parchment around the log. With your hands on the paper, roll the dough into a tighter log, keeping the diameter the same.

4. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or until it is firm enough to slice without crumbling.

5. Set the oven at 325° F . Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. Remove the dough from the paper. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices. Set them on the baking sheets 1- 1 1/2 inches apart. They spread quite a bit.

7. Bake the cookies for 15 -20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes, or until they are firm when touched in the center. Mine were done exactly at 15 minutes.

8. Cool completely on the sheets.

Vanilla filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon milk

Pinch salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on low speed for half a minute. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.

2. Beat in the milk and salt. The filling will look and feel like spackle.

3. Place 1-2 tsp. of filling on the flat side of one cookie. Press the remaining cookies on the filling, flat sides against the cream, to evenly distribute the filling. Note: I found it quite easier to put the filling into a pastry bag and portion out the filling by squeezing directly onto one of the cookie halves- it also gives a cleaner looking product.

4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pops

Summer makes me lazy. Makes me so lazy that I’d much rather prefer eating an ice pop than scooping ice cream into a bowl. But summer was made for being lazy, right? Lazy pseudo naps in the hammock, lazy nights relaxing on the porch catching random breezes. No loading dirty bowls into the dish washer. Just fling the pop stick into the garbage. Lazy. Embrace it. You can totally blame it on me…

 

blueberry ice pops 2

 

blueberry ice pops 3

 

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pops

recipe: adapted from Southern Living

yield: 8-12 ice pops depending on size of molds

 

Blueberry Swirl

1 pint fresh, clean blueberries

3/4 Cup sugar

2 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. lemon juice

 

In a small sauce pan bring contents to boil and then turn down to simmer until mixture thickens. Let cool completely then place in refrigerator to chill until needed.

 

Cheesecake Ice Cream Base

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1 1/2 Cups half and half

1/2 Cup buttermilk

3/4 Cup sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

 

1. Process ingredients in a blender until smooth; about 1 minute. Pour into a freezable container and place in the freezer. Freeze for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

2. Stir 3/4 cup blueberry swirl into the ice cream base and continue to freeze again for another 20 minutes; saving the rest of the blueberry swirl to layer ice pops with.

3. Layer blueberry ice cream into ice pops molds and freeze about 20 minutes. Spoon a thin layer of blueberry swirl, then freeze for 10 minutes. Spoon another layer of ice cream over swirl- freeze for 20 minutes, and continue once more with swirl and freeze as indicated before topping off with ice cream. After 15 minutes insert popsicle sticks into ice pops and continue to freeze until firm.

p.s. If you don’t want to layer the ice pops with a stripe- you can mix in all of the swirl into the base and spoon the mixture into the molds-wait about an hour until firm enough to insert the pop sticks.

You may also use the base recipe and process in your ice cream maker and once done churning, layer the base with the blueberry swirl in a square shaped ice cream container.

 

 

 


Blueberry Streusel Muffins

You know that saying, “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t?”  Well, sometimes you feel like streusel, and sometimes you don’t. Guess what I felt like today? Yep. Totally into streusel. I love the crunchy sugary top of a muffin that happens after the streusel topping melts into the muffin. The best way to eat these is to break them open and smear sweet butter on them while still warm. These muffins have a very tender crumb because of all the sour cream in them. The technique is kind of an unusual recipe (from Cook’s Illustrated) but it creates a very soft tender muffin.

blueberry streusel muffins

blueberry streusel muffins 2

 

blueberry streusel muffins 3

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

adapted from Cooks Illustrated

yield: 12 muffins

 

2 Cups all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries

1 large egg

1 Cup sugar

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted & cooled

1 1/4 Cups sour cream

1 tsp. lemon zest

Streusel:

1/2 Cup all purpose flour

1/3 Cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

4 Tbsp. melted butter

 

For streusel: In a small bowl combine all ingredients with a fork. Set aside until ready to use.

 

For Muffins:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray or butter.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Add blueberries, and toss to combine.

3. In a large bowl whisk egg until light colored; about 20 seconds. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter in 2-3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add sour cream in 2 additions, whisking until just combined. Add flour mixture in 2-3 additions and gently fold after each addition until batter comes together; being careful not to over-mix. Batter may have small spots of flour remaining. Do not over-mix. Batter will be thick.

4. Distribute batter evenly among prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle streusel topping over each muffin. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out with  few crumbs attached. Let muffins cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove to cool over wire rack.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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