Healthy Avocado Chocolate Chip cookies recipe – successful revisit!

Wow! This post has been way long overdue. I hate neglecting my blog, but hopefully after these hectic times of college applications; opening a brand new and exciting chapter in life, I can blog more regularly!
As a promise to some of my readers, I am posting an update on the re-trial of my avocado chocolate chip cookies (post here: http://obsessivenutritioncompulsive.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/avocado-chocolate-chip-cookies-dairy-free-egg-free-and-low-sugar/ )
These are the bounties (yeah, right) of my attempt in creating a low-calorie, low-sugar, super healthy avocado chocolate chip cookies. I would say I had been successful!
Here are my cookies:

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Very different in appearance from my previous ones… which were 150+ calories per serve! And were at least 80% refined wheat flour.

Original cookies
Original cookies

My new cookies are much lighter, half the calories of my previous cookies – around 57 calories per cookies. Still quite high calories for a cookie, but super healthy! Absolutely good for your health, albeit having had a small bit of sugar added.
It’s always so frustrating when manufacturers market cookies i.e. oatmeal, raisins or bran/fruity muffins as healthy. How the heck is having a tablespoon of butter and sugar every morning healthy??

flemings-chewy-muesli
(cereal bars etc. you don’t need that much sugar to start of your day!)
Healthy-Breakfast1
Also popular in kids’ lunch boxes: blueberry muffins – refined flour, sugar and butter. Low in nutritional benefits, high in calories (which is good to some extent).

Sugar and butter might give you energy, but they go a short way in helping kids grow or reward your body with nutritious vitamins.
(Although some refined carbohydrates i.e. white rice (if you can’t avoid refined rice, choose long grain/basmati which is lower in GI) have been found to give better absorption of minerals like iron or vitamin B’s due to lower levels of phytic acid)


I made three kinds of the same cookies.

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Two different flavours – chocolate chip avocado, carrot avocado. The third kind emerged as I left the cookies for a prolonged period of time in the oven…
I would recommend baking the cookies for only until they turn brown at the bottom, and not at the top. They might look undercooked, but taste so much softer and moist that way (moist cookies??).

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Don’t worry, the carrot ones don’t taste like carrots in cookie dough. I basically just chucked in the carrots because there were some going mushy in the fridge. In fact, you can’t even taste them at all which is quite magical considering I put at least more than a cup of grated carrots into half of the batter.
That’s what’s great about baking – if you want the flavours to shine through you have to put copious amounts of the thing in there. That’s why baked goods can be easily ‘healthied-up’ with veggies like zucchini, carrots, spinach, beetroot, potatoes, and even quinoa or avocado without tasting ‘healthy’ or ‘gross’ as most people would call it.
 
Anyway, here is the newly revised recipe:
Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Hass avocado (4 1⁄2 ounces)
1/2 cup coconut oil/butter*
1 cup dark brown sugar (basically half of what the original recipe called for)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water (or 2 eggs)
2 cups mixed grain flour**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used cacao nibs and goji berries)
1 cup grated carrots
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place the avocado flesh in a large bowl along with the butter and brown sugar. Cream together the avocado, butter, and sugar for 3 minutes, until fluffy.
Add the flax mixture one tbsp at a time, followed by the vanilla extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder and slowly combine, making sure not to over mix the batter. Add the oats and chocolate chips and combine. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop the batter onto a clean surface and, using wet hands, roll the dough into 12 balls. Flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand to create 2 1⁄2-inch disks. Arrange the 12 disks on the baking sheet. Transfer the sheet to the top rack of the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are slightly golden brown on the edges but still soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before transferring the cookies to cooling racks. Repeat the process for remaining dough. You will bake 3 baking sheets total.
Serve the cookies immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for five days or in the freezer for up to three weeks.
 
*Regarding the fat/oil used in this recipe; I had a recommendation from a friend who read this post, commenting about the best oil to use. She had recommended butter, which most people have deviated from, believing it is an animal product high in saturated fat. However, butter is indeed a ‘pure’ and ‘natural’ food which people have eaten for centuries. Butter is therefore, can be considered a better alternative to a spread like margarine. I agree that butter is a very natural spread, although it should still be taken in moderation, and if not really needed, avoided by older people. (Young people can still manage the saturated fat into their systems.) A much better alternative in my opinion would be olive oil – obviously its amazing goodness have been totally hyped up through this ‘Mediterranean diet’ craze; the diet has been named one of the healthiest in the world. Olive oil manages the levels of good and bad fats inside the body (that’s all I know about olive oil haha), and basically keep a balance between them. Other than olive oil, one can also use the coconut oil which is so hot right now. However, I haven’t looked into this much nor tried it yet. Lots of my health-nut friends have been using it so I’m guessing it is nutritive.
My friend also recommended an easy ‘homemade spread recipe’ which sounds really delicious, yet I have not tried:
 
“I make my own healthy and delicious soft spread by combining  250gm butter and 200 mls olive oil – you could use any good oil like avocado but not vegetable oils that are sold in the supermarkets because they are too adulterated.”
 
**I used an Indian mixed grain four mixture similar to this

attamix

I bought the small individual 1 kg packs that they (the Indian store) made up from the huge bags (how handy!) so I don’t know the exact mix of flour.

Although I remember that it had some corn, soy, wheat, etc. (much like on the label here) which also includes oats, barley, chana dal and ragi.

I have in the past few months really fallen in love with Indian foods and goods i.e. their range of various grains and legumes like black split lentils (urad dal) and the various colourful and weirdly shaped chickpeas. Then there are the gluten-free goods baked with very natural grains! The sour, spicy and sweet tastes that dominate some Indian dishes are also very delicious! I’ve finally broken my assumption about fatty coconut cream and fatty curry chicken! It’d be great to finally venture beyond the commercialized image and truly explore authentic Indian cuisine, and other aspects of the culture!
Anyway, very off topic…
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Flaxseeds mixture

So instead of using whole flax seeds, this time I ground the seeds up (whole are cheaper than meal haha) and soaked them in some water. The result was a slimy mixture, that very closely resembled the texture of eggs! Other than this one benefit, whole seeds i.e. with chia or flax lasts longer than their ground up counterparts due to the fact that seeds are not as exposed to the external environment as meals (will not be as easily oxidized).

Just a random note: Flax as egg replacements are lower in calorie 😉 But obviously eggs do also bring extra  nutritional qualities without the phytic (it’s a war of two fats – omega 6 and 3!!)

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Wet mixture.
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Laid out cookies.

This is how thin you should make them if you want the ‘lighter’ kinds (rather than the super dense ones I made the first time).
THE TASTE: Unfortunately, I must admit that the previous cookies were tastier than the ones I made this time. The inside was moister and that’s about it. The flavours are similar though. I just love how little sugar is in each cookies yet the vanilla and perhaps the wholegrain flours themselves help bring out that sweet taste in them.
What I can try now (another re-trial) is to not bake them very long, and maybe slightly lower heat to obtain the moistness??
Overall, a pretty successful healthy-baking experiment! 🙂
Any tips for improving these?? And anything I’m doing wrong?? Do I need to add more sugar? I’m open for anything.

And happy New Year!

-Iz

17 thoughts on “Healthy Avocado Chocolate Chip cookies recipe – successful revisit!”

    1. No problem Shanna! I like how only one avocado is needed in the recipe, and not a substantial amount i.e. with banana cakes or date slices you need about 10 ounces of either ingredients. I guess you can’t really add too much of the avocados without making guacamole cookies.
      Izzy

  1. You asked at the end if anyone had any tips. (raising hand enthusiastically!)

    What kind of cookie are you going for? Cake-like, crunchy? I would think these’d be chewy.

    Butter and oil aren’t perfectly interchangeable. Butter is around 80% fat, oil 100%, so in cookies there’s hidden water, which you can play with — a lot. I suggest you learn how to make margarine. It’s very easy to do. Essentially you’re making an emulsion, upping that hidden water in the recipe.

    Using whole grains is a healthful idea. Keep in mind that flour absorbs a different ratio of water than dal and oats, so your cookies aren’t going to spread as they are now (btw, I use that Indian flour, if you can get it Pilsbury in India sells The Best whole grain flour you can buy absolutely 100% whole wheat though it looks like white flour). With the amount of sugar and fat in your recipe, if you change the grain, you can achieve crisp cookies as the grains are absorbing the liquids.

    What flavour were you going for? There only seasoning in your recipe is vanilla. There’s a lot more you could, including standards like cinnamon, but also more unusual like star anise, fennel, cardamon.

    1. Cookies making is not an area of baking I have explored (along with pastries): getting the right texture just seems so toilsome! You seem very knowledgeable in baking, have you had any training or classes?
      As for the avocado cookies, the texture I really wanted was crunchy. What would you suggest I change about my recipe?
      And do you think you can advise me on how to make margarine? Also, do you mean that the best flour for spreading would be the ‘fine’ ones i.e. wheat flour, rather than oats? I will look into that whole grain flour that looks just like white flour (but will it defeat the purpose of making low-gi cookies? At least they will still contain more nutrients!)
      I have never thought of using those spices in cookies! How interesting. The most extreme I have tried is clover, and I have not experimented with saffron.. but I love the rich colour you get from them…

      1. I’ve been researching senbie and came across a gluten free recipe which made me think of Sandies and Mexican Wedding Cookies. .

        That line of thinking reminded me of Ladoo, an Indian sweet which resembles cookies and is eggless.

        In both Sandies and Ladoo the sugar and fat melt, cool, crystallise keeping the shape. This technique might work for you.

        For inspiration, look at this recipe. She’s using Xanthin Gum in place of the protein (from gluten) to keep the structure. Ladoos are notoriously crumbly unless you use an obscene amount of fat which keeps the shape without gluten.

        I can’t imagine avocado, but if you dehydrate the carrot and powder it, that might work for more nutrition and fibre. with the right combination of powdered vegetables and fruits, you could balance the nutrition and create exciting textures and flavours.

        Tell me what you think. I’m becoming interested in playing with this idea, myself.

        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/09/gluten-free-tuesday-shortbread-cookies-recipe.html

  2. Baking isn’t toilsome, it’s science. Each ingredient has a role to play.

    The butter is creamed with the sugar to create air pockets. The baking soda reacts with the heat releasing CO2 into those air pockets, expanding the cookie. The protein from the gluten and albumen support the expansion, the sugar melts then cools around the proteins giving lift and texture.

    Your cookie has none of the protein necessary for structure. The flax seed mixture is for emulsion, it’s proteins are unsuitable for structure. Without gluten or egg your cookie will fall far from your goals.

    The vegetable/fruit matter is used as fat replacers. It attracts moisture, absorbs liquid. Avocado can not crisp. Carrot can only crisp if it’s fried, which destroys its ability to absorb liquid.

    None of this is to dissuade you, that’s simply the science of baking.

    Let’s think about granola. What are its characteristics? Crunchy. You want crunch and you have oats, so working from a granola recipe will teach you a few things. What happens is the oil and sugar will melt together, coat the oats, and when cooled provide crunch. You could make a wicked cookie with granola as inspiration.

    Peanut butter cookies might be another model for you. If you take peanut butter and mix in any sweetener then mix in an egg yolk, you will see emulsion at work — the texture completely changes. If you worked oats or granola into that I wonder what would happen? It might be possible to use liquid lecithin to mimic the lecithin in egg yolks, if you want to go vegan.

    As for that Indian flour, it’s formulated for paratha, an Indian quick bread. It can be used as a substitute for some flour, but it was never engineered to replace most of it. You should contact Pillsbury and ask. (I wrote them to ask about GMO’s and how much of the bran was in that product I mentioned. They were very helpful.)

    Hope this helps you create something you can share here. 🙂

    1. Hi Steven,
      Thank you very much for your thoughts about my cookies recipe! I am agreeing that the peanut butter cookies may work best for my baking experiments as my mum cannot take eggs. I always strive to find a way to bake sweets that my mum can also enjoy. I have a question for you from my mum – since you can substitute eggs (in cakes) in nearly all recipes (except for angel/chiffon of course) why do bakeries generally use eggs in making their cakes?
      About the peanut butter cookies, I have always wondered why peanut butter are used so often in baking. And now I know, because of the convenient source of protein and fat! Also, can small lecithin granules be used in place of the liquid in baking?
      And regarding the Atta flour I used, I had asked the store lady whether the flour can be used in baking i.e. will it rise properly, in which she replied yes. Therefore, I had thought I could replace normal flour with this one! I guess Indian-style baking is much more different from the Western way.
      As for the cookies you mentioned – sandie and lagoo; I think sandie was more the texture I was looking at. But more accurately would be something like normal chocolate cookies or something like oreos (but less crumbly). I have also recently failed with making an apple cake using the mini-oven we have got. These are the kinds that are circular with a glass material and a ‘heating/fan’ system attached on top. I have no idea how I am going bake with this, since the temperature is really hard to control, and it is definitey unlike baking in a normal oven, regarding the size of the oven, and perhaps the circulation of air inside the oven may affect the baking? What sort of suggestion would you have? I am thinking I may have to resort to making steamed cakes (although will not be able to make cakes i.e. apple or carrot 🙁 )
      Thanks for being such my baking encyclopedia!

      1. Oh, my favourite kitchen tinkerer!

        Well, eggs define cake, and have for hundreds of years. Baking soda and powders are a new invention, not even a 100 years old. Before that they could have used ash, but eggs were preferred. You see, eggs trap air which expands when heated. The proteins “harden” along with gluten. The result is a cake which is, well, strong.

        If you make an eggless cake you’ll notice that they break easily. Also, you have a very short window to get it in the oven — seconds. Once the chemical reaction starts (vinegar and baking soda) the rising starts and you need the heat to “harden” the gluten. So, for a bakery it’s much more practical to make cakes with eggs.

        About lecithin, in egg yolk it’s liquid. To emulsify it would have to be liquid. It might be possible to use granulated lecithin, but most likely you’ll have to hydrate it. If you have some, you should contact the maker directly to ask. (I contact manufactures regularly. They always reply, and usually quickly.)

        And do look for Pillsbury Chakki Fresh Atta. If it’s the one I use, you’ll be amazed. It 100% whole wheat but looks like white flour.

        Asia’s cuisine developed without the oven as we understand it. It means Asian sweets have new cooking possibilities for you to explore. The southern states in India make steamed eggless rice breads and cakes. You should look them up. And if you’re open to it, beans are eaten as a sweet. There are many varieties. Actually, I’m writing a post on one now. (I like 30 recipes waiting to post — the pics are killing me.)

        About using your oven, there are a lot of possibilities. There are “microwave in a cup” cakes, quick breads, muffins, crackers. Outside the oven there’s steamed puddings and Chinese and Indian steamed cakes — but sweets extend way beyond that form. What do you think about tarts and pies? How about rice puddings? Or halwa? Or Kugel? Or one even easier for you to make — the mille feuille or crepe cakes (and yes, they can be eggless).

        My larger point is that there is so much out there to try. And because many people also have specific dietary needs, with a little searching you can find the recipe to try. 😉

        Actually, I have a hunch you’d like Crepe Cakes. They’re stunning and easily adaptable. I used to make them from tofu back when I was into health and nutrition — oh, and that calls to mind water ganache! Oh, I better stop.

        Have a good night.

        1. Haha. Thanks for the title! Speaking of tinkering – I have also recently failed baking an eggless apple cake using the mini-oven in my tiny kitchen. It turned out like a banana, cinnamon fudge with apples (and almonds and cashew nuts). Not too bad, but far from being cake!
          Now that you mention about the use of eggs, that is very true. The large number of eggless cakes I have made are very fragile, and seems to not have cooked properly (no matter how long I bake, they do not maintain structure. Sometimes I do put a bit too much water in I guess). I had thought the butter and sugar content were the key to cakes structures, but I guess they are more the development of gluten and protein right?? (I had it so wrong!) I once made an eggless carrot cake with quite a generous amount of oil and sugar, which no matter how long I baked, would simply not cook! In the end I took it out of the pan, in which it simply melted to goo as I unmolded it! The flavour was just right though (the top bits which were cooked tasted good).
          Anyway, about microwave cooking – I haven’t got a microwave at this house either! I have made a few eggless “cup” cakes successfully with the microwave before. Pretty amazing how such short zaps of extreme heat can work so well with the raising agents in cakes!
          And with regards to different sorts of desserts, I did try to make apple crumble using the oven. And with steamed cakes, I just won’t get the same texture as baked ones! Also, I have seen quite a few steamed cake recipes using 7 up. What do you think about that method? And also lots of eggless Indian cake recipes employs condensed milk in giving their sponges a light texture.
          Crepe cakes were very popular in Thailand, although it is kind of dying down now. They are kind of toilsome though… but I guess quite healthy as compared to normal cakes right? I may give it a try!
          And what do you mean by when you were into health and nutrition? Tell me more about that!

          Thanks for all the knowledge!

          1. BTW, I forgot to ask. Are you an expat in Thai, or a Thai national?

            7 Up in bakes goods recalls southern poverty for me. (shudders) I’ll have to do a blog post on that, so you’ll understand. 🙂 But the purpose is the fizz: It helps the cake rise. You can do something similar with NO2, by chance I have a plan to do that tomorrow.

            But you have it right, protein keeps the structure of a cake. There are also ratios of water to sugar. Too little water and the sugar can’t dissolve, giving you hard bits, usually around the edges, bottom, or crust. There’s fat and flour, too much fat the protein can’t contain it and the cookies spread too much. Too little fat and your baked goods are dry on the pallet.

            I remember reading that you were semi-vegan. Is that why you’re staying away from eggs? If you can eat them, I really suggest you learn how to make a proper sponge/genoise. Just the experience of making one will show you how baking works: eggs, sugar, flour and nothing else, oh, you can add butter, but it’s not necessary. If you played with the ratio, you’d quickly see how even slight changes affect the end result.

            There’s a post on my blog called Quiche Epiphany. I explain my journey from health to decadence in greater detail there, but I used to be obsessive about nutrition and weight training. It was the experience of eating food without adulterating it which changed my philosophy on health. I’m not a glutton, but I do enjoy excess from time to time. I’ve also learned through reading and play that there’s nothing wrong with egg yolks, lard, and sugars — in moderation. So, I’d much rather have one piece of good cake, or quiche, or steak than a whole lot of something made to be good.

            BTW, I was experimenting in my kitchen today. I went through nine recipes for Whoopie Pies, then banana toffee, and finally variations on caramelised condensed milk. The trick is using a calculator to do 1/4 of a full recipe.In this way I can test the same recipe with several small changes and quickly see the results side by side. You might consider that for your future culinary endeavours. 🙂

          2. I’m not an expat! hahaha. I’m definitely Thai but I had been living in New Zealand for the past six years. Just back for a holiday before I go to college in the US (your homeland).
            I would imagine too little water would be nice for a cake with a sweet and crunchy crust! Also, I recently came across this new ‘innovative’ type of cookies here in Thailand called “smash balls” here is a link:
            http://www.mglobemall.com/deals/id/1401/Maker-di-Metro-%E0%B8%8B%E0%B8%AD%E0%B8%A2%E0%B9%80%E0%B8%9E%E0%B8%8A%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%9A%E0%B8%B8%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B5-33
            Most of it is in Thai, so I apologize! But these cookies are delicious! I have had a tester.
            Through my experience as a vegan, I realize that there is nothing depriving from abstaining from the ‘indulging’ foods. Slowly they do not even becoming ‘indulging’ i.e. steak, etc. I think it’s just society and media that paints that picture for us. I mean, in India eating steak would not be considered a rich, delicious food that should be eaten in moderation. Like in our traditional cultures, indulging in food usually mean some dessert with low-sugar that contains healthy ingredients. I’m sure we can find decadence in health foods too, just depends on our mindset.
            Also, I used to do the whole ‘1/4’ of a full recipe all the time too. Because I would fail at most of the baking experiments I make, I try to use as little ingredients as possible. I’m thinking of making a pancake cake too with this vegan recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/healthy-vegan-and-terrific-strawberry-pancakes-362383 but I will not have people to eat them because ‘cakes’ doesn’t seem to be that big around here… I think Thais do still have a liking to the mild flavours of our desserts. Would you consider try making Asian desserts? 🙂
            P.S. I avoid eggs because my mum’s a lacto-vegetarian. Right now, I will continue to take eggs (as free-range as possible) for at least the next four years, until I am sure the beneficial nutrients in eggs for brain and body growth will not be needed. Then I will probably become vegan again 😀
            – Izzy

          3. Here’s a trick for getting a hard crust on a baked cake. Instead of dusting the pan with fat and flour use fat and sugar. The sugar and fat will caramelise where ever the butter and sugar are. For flavour, dust the inside of a cake pan with fat and cocoa powder.

            I love Asian desserts. For me, they’re the launchpad into Molecular as I’d be playing with agar and tapioca ‘n stuff.

            Maybe you have some info for me. When I was in Lao and up along the Thai Laos boarder, they had these a m a z i n g desserts. People set up a stall and you’d chose these brightly coloured and oddly shaped things which the staff put in a bowl and poured liquid like coconut milk over. OMG it was delicious.

            Hmmm, Google translate isn’t working.

          4. Thanks a lot for the crust tip! But I was talking about getting a crunchy-ish crust on a steamed cake. Thinking that if I wanted that appeal of a browned-baked cake, I would need to chuck the steamed cake into my mini oven for 5 minutes or so. Would that do the cake alright, you think?
            Also, I have a very important question: Will an Asian-style steamed sponge cake work with no sugar? I just happen to be out of sugar i.e. what would happen to the texture? But I can use other sources of sweetener i.e. honey.
            About Asian desserts, I would not have thought of them as ‘molecular gastronomy’… Might be because they are an everyday thing over here.. We use gummy flour and all sorts of mixes to get the variety of textures in our desserts. I guess that is very different from the good old Western way of “mix then bake” Although European desserts do become slightly more intricate in their methods. I guess it’s the lifestyle that influences different cultures’ way of cooking i.e. Westerners wouldn’t have much time to carefully complete all the various steps in their baking, during the times of new settlements (not sure if I’m making much sense).
            I think you are talking about a “Tubtim grob” sort of dessert. I write about it in this post. http://obsessivenutritioncompulsive.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/audrey-cafe-and-bistro-desserts-review-super-scrumptious-sweets-and-a-lovely-atmosphere/
            But then again, lots of the desserts around here has got brightly coloured/shaped things poured on top with coconut milk. The little things were probably all the different seeds and stewed fruits, tapioca starch balls, etc. I talked about Thai desserts in my recent posts, you should have a look! I agree Thai desserts are delicious, especially ones in ice. They aren’t too sweet and there’s so much flavour in one bowl. Go search for them on google, I’m sure you can find recipes too! It would be exciting to make your own Thai dessert! 🙂
            -Izzy

          5. I’ll explain that in a longer post. Promise. In short, poor people in the southern untitled states would use 7-Up in cooking because they have nothing else to use, so it connotes something negative to me.

          6. I thought you had lived in California? What would they use a soda-y stuff in cooking for? I thought they were used as a raising agent in baking. I think people still use them in cakes (especially Asians) because they are cheap and convenient.
            By the way, I tried making the pancakes cake using the vegan strawberry pancakes recipe which I gave you the link of: turned out crap! HAHAHAHA. Because I once again, tinkered with the recipe! I will redo them and take a photo next time!
            – Izzy

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