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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
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Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Kenny’s Krumbs

If only Cosmo Kramer had focused on selling the tops of crumb cake crumbs instead of muffin tops, he’d have had a hit.

Now, everyone who has delighted in the crumbs on top of a crumbcake can revel in jumbo crumbcake crumbs from Kenny’s Krumbs.

Kenny has transformed the streusel (the crumb topping—see section below) into crunchy, cookie-like nuggets of cinnamon goodness. They’re crumb cookies—there’s no cake involved, although you can use Kenny’s Krumbs on any cake you like.


  • Snacking straight from the bag.
  • For your coffee break (or with other favorite beverage—tea, milk, hot chocolate).
  • As a garnish with whipped cream on pound cake or other uniced cake.
  • To garnish an iced cake.
  • Krumb-topped cheesecake.
  • On ice cream, along or with your favorite dessert sauce.
  • As mega-crumbs on a fruit crisp, a deep-dish baked fruit dessert made with a crumb topping.
  • On a cobbler, replacing the biscuit topping (the difference between crisp, crumb, cobbler, etc.)
  • To top chocolate or custard tarts.
  • As a pie topping (see our article on crumb tops for pies).


    Who needs cake. Here, crumb cake topping baked up as cookie-like “crumbs.” Photo courtesy Kenny’s Krumbs.


    Instead of butter, Kenny’s Krumbs uses margarine to create the crumbs. The other ingredients include enriched bleached flour, malted barley flour, sugar and spices.

    Kenny’s Krumbs sells them packaged in 12-ounce resealable bags. Four bags of Krumbs are $28.00, 12 bags are $72.00, plus shipping.

    You can also buy Krumbs in large metal gift buckets and smaller tins from Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cakes ($27.50 to $30.00).

    Kenny’s Krumbs and Hahn’s deliver anywhere in the continental U.S. Plan ahead: These crumb cookies are a great teacher gift or stocking stuffer.


    Picture 656

    Bring them to friends and teachers, stuff stockings, snack on. Photo courtesy Kenny’s Krumbs.



    Long popular as the topping on Streuselkuchen, Germany’s crumb-topped yeast cake, streusel (pronounced SHTROY-zul) is a topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats.

    The word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter. The original Streuselkuchen was very flat, with crumbs equal to the height of the cake (think one inch of cake topped with one inch of crumbs).

    Note that all crumbcakes are coffee cakes, but not all coffee cakes are crumbcake. Another popular coffee cake, also a yeast cake, can be strewn with raisins and nuts and drizzled with a variation royal icing* (and we wish we had a piece right now).

    The crumb cake is believed to have originated in Silesia, which today is in western Poland (if you’ve read James Michener’s Poland, you know the borders changed regularly).

    The original recipe engendered variants with tart fruits (apples, gooseberries, sour cherries, rhubarb), poppy seeds and pastry cream.


    Today, Americans can enjoy their crumbcakes with with a layer of fruit (apple, apricot, raspberry), chocolate and other flavors.

    Or, those who have discovered Kenny’s can simply enjoy the crumbs!

    *To make coffee cake icing, mix until smooth 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons warm milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.



    RECIPE: Gingersnap Whoopie Pies

    Today is National Gingersnap Day. Treat everyone to some homemade gingersnap whoopie pies.

    Crunchy gingersnaps are descendants of Lebkuchen, soft spice cookies that were probably created by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany (the earliest written records are from 1296). The history of whoopie pies, an American creation, is much more recent—1926!

    The ginger snaps themselves are a cross between a cookie and a cake, sandwiched between an easy vanilla buttercream.

    This recipe is from The Faux Martha via Go Bold With Butter. Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 40 minutes.


    Ingredients For 12 Cookie Sandwiches
    For The Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup light molasses
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    Make them for family and friends. Photo courtesy The Faux Martha.


    For The Filling

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    You can buy gingerbread whoopie pies from



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

    2. WHISK together the flours, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    3. CREAM the butter and sugar in a large bowl until evenly combined, using a handheld or stand mixer. Add the molasses and blend until incorporated. Scrape down the the sides of the bowl and mix in the cream, egg and vanilla.

    4. MIX the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. The dough will be dry but will still hold together. Using a one-tablespoon scoop, drop 24 cookies onto baking sheets, about an inch apart.

    5. BAKE for 10 minutes. The cookies will still be soft but will firm up after cooling. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Meanwhile…


    6. MAKE the filling. Using a stand or handheld mixer, whip the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and cream together until well incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla. Continue to beat until the filling light and fluffy.

    7. SPREAD a generous amount of filling on the flat side of half of the cooled cookies. Top with the remaining cookies to create sandwiches. Serve or store in airtight container for up to 3 days.



    FOOD FUN: Patriotic Cookie Pizza For July 4th

    Show your colors this 4th of July with this or snack fun and festive dessert from Pillsbury. Raspberries, blueberries and creamy filling top an easy cookie crust.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, total time is 1 hour 35 minutes.


    Ingredients For 24 Servings

  • 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted


    A cookie pizza for July 4th. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray.

    2. CUT the cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; place in the pan. With floured fingers, press evenly over the bottom to form the crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 25 minutes.

    3. BEAT the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon peel in medium bowl until fluffy. Spread over the baked crust. Arrange the raspberries in large star shape in the center. Arrange the blueberries around raspberries.

    4. DRIZZLE or brush with the melted jelly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



    JULY 4TH: Red, White & Blue Angel Food Cupcakes


    These angel food cupcakes are red, white and blue (with an optional touch of green). Photo courtesy Completely Delicious.


    Here’s a July 4th recipe based on that summer favorite, angel food cake: light and airy and just waiting to be topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

    This recipe, from Annalise of via the folks at, spins angel food cake into cupcakes, with a lightened whipped buttercream topping instead of whipped cream.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 45 minutes.


    Ingredients For 12-18 Cupcakes
    For The Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup egg whites (from about 8 large eggs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    For The Whipped Buttercream

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Fresh berries: blueberries and raspberries
  • Optional: candied mint leaves (recipe)


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

    2. SIFT together the powdered sugar and cake flour, three times. Set aside.

    3. BEAT the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium high speed until foamy, in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand-held mixer. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, with the mixer running. Beat until glossy and soft peaks form. Then stir in the vanilla.

    4. SIFT the dry ingredients over the meringue in 3 additions and gently fold in after each addition. Do not over-mix or the meringue will deflate.

    5. SPOON the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the top. Bake until golden about 18 minutes, until the cupcake tops spring back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool completely.



    Angel food cake is always baked in a tube pan, which creates the environment best for a light-rising cake. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

    6. MAKE the frosting in the stand mixer or with the hand-held mixer. Beat the powdered sugar and butter together until smooth. Add the wcream, salt and vanilla and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Frost the cupcakes and top with the berries.

    Angel food cake is a light, flourless cake made with sugar, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla or almond extract, and a dozen or so egg whites, depending on the recipe. There is no leavening. It is typically baked in a tube pan, and popularly served with berries and whipped cream—although it is just fine plain or with a dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate, custard, fruit, etc.).

    Some historians think that the first angel food cakes were baked in the South by African-American slaves, due to the strength required to whip the air into the whites. Others theorize that the cake originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the early 1800s.

    October 10th is National Angel Food Cake Day. Here are recipes for a from-scratch angel food cake, and for a strawberry glaze. If you don’t want to bake from scratch, try a store-bought or cake mix.



    RECIPE: Star Cookies For July 4th


    It’s beginning to look like July 4th! The Silpat cookie sheet is from Williams-Sonoma.


    Want to bake cookies for July 4th?

    1. MIX up and roll out your favorite sugar cookie dough (or other rolled cookie dough).

    2. USE a star cookie cutter to cut shapes. If you have small and large star cutters, make large and small sizes.

    Here’s a set of 6 nested star cookie cutters, that you can also use for Christmas cookies.

    3. BAKE, cool and ice the cookie tops white royal icing (recipe below); then decorate with red and blue stripes. Voilà: the Stars and Stripes.

    Check out the different types of cookies in our delicious Cookie Glossary.



  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • Red and blue food color

    1. MIX first three ingredients together for 7 to 10 minutes, until icing stiffens. If icing appears too stiff, add more water, one teaspoon at a time. You want the icing to be thin enough that you can pipe it easily. Tint 1/4 of the icing red, and 1/4 blue (see instructions below).

    2. DECORATE the cookies when they are cool. Use an offset spatula to ice the cookie tops white. Then place the tinted icing into separate piping bags fitted with a very small round tip.

    3. CREATE the red and blue stripes. If you don’t have a steady hand, wavy lines are fine. Keep the tip about 1/2 inch above the cookie as you ice. This helps to achieve a straighter line.

    Variation: Instead of piping stripes, you can sprinkle red, white and blue star decorations on the white royal icing base while it’s still wet. Here are large stars and small stars.

    4. DRY the cookies completely, usually 1 to 2 hours.



    JULY 4th: American Flag Pie Top

    While we just said that our favorite pie topping is streusel (crumb topping), here’s something special for July 4th.

    You can buy or bake an open face pie (no top crust) or a tart, and decorate it as the American Flag.

    All you need to decorate are:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Whipped Cream
    Older children can do the decorating, and everyone can enjoy a piece of “grand old pie.”

    If you’ve purchased the pie, the dessert can be ready in 10 minutes!

    For those who don’t know the lyrics/tune to George M. Cohan’s classic, “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” practice on You Tube.



    It’s a grand old pie! Photo courtesy Agata and Valentina | NYC.


    If you use an aerosol whipped cream like Reddi-Wip, the air will deflate much sooner than if you whip your own stabilized whipped cream.

    Even if you don’t stabilize the whipped cream, your own beater-whipped cream will stay fluffy longer. You don’t need to create whipped cream stars, which the Reddi-Wip nozzle enables. Instead, just emulate the real white bars of the flag, and use one long line of whipped cream in-between the rows of strawberries.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Crumb Top Instead Of Pie Crust


    Use a yummy streusel topping instead of a dough top crust. Photo courtesy Grand Central Bakery | Portland.


    We’re not a huge pie crust pan. We prefer thicker, buttery, cookie-like tart crusts (here are the differences between pies and tarts).

    Personally, we’d rather have a cobbler, crisp or grunt (the difference).

    If it has to be a conventional pie, give us a crumb topping instead of a top crust. For thus, that means streusel—the same topping that goes on top of crumb cake.


    Streusel is a crumb topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats. We think it’s easier than a conventional dough crust.

    Pronounced SHTROY-zul, the word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter.

    Streusel is used as a topping for a variety of pies, fruit crisps, cakes and pastries, most notably coffee cakes.

    A pie with a streusel topping is sometimes referred to as a “crumble pie.”




  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

    2. USE your fingers to squeeze the fine crumbs into large clumps (size as desired—we like large crumbs). Sprinkle over the top of the pie and bake per recipe instructions. That’s it!



    FOOD FUN: Cookie Dough Icing


    A fresh-baked cupcake topped with cookie dough. Photo courtesy Carolina Cupcakery.


    Who needs icing?

    Carolina Cupcakery tops this cupcake with a scoop of cookie dough.

    Who can top that?

    Make your own cookie dough, or top your homemade cupcakes with a slice from a roll of cookie dough.

    If you’re concerned with raw eggs, read the label on purchased dough to see if the eggs are pasteurized. If not, make your own cookie dough with Safe Eggs pasteurized eggs.

    For more cupcake fun, visit

    Although the words are used interchangeably, professional bakers know that there’s a difference:

  • Frosting is made with table sugar (granulated sugar).
  • Icing is made with confectioner’s sugar (also called icing sugar).
    Of course, when you top the cake with cookie dough, there’s no issue!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake A Special Coffee Cake

    Many of us would love a delicious piece of coffee cake with our morning coffee—or to serve to Dad on Father’s Day.

    If you can find an artisan-baked coffee cake in your area, great. We live in a big city where the rents are so high that the beloved neighborhood mom and pop bakery is largely a thing of the past.

    So the only solution: Order by mail (check out this terrific povitica, an Eastern European coffee cake) or bake your own.

    But first….


    Coffee cake is a yeast-leavened cake that is typically served at breakfast or as a snack with coffee or tea. It is often glazed with a white confectioner’s sugar icing or topped with streusel. The latter is also called crumb cake.

    Coffee cake can contain raisins, nuts, other dried fruits and/or chocolate chunks. Most are flavored with cinnamon. More elaborate recipes incorporate cream cheese, jam or fruit curd.

    According to, food historians generally agree that the tradition of eating sweet cakes with coffee likely originated in northern or central Europe in the 17th century, when coffee was introduced (see the history of coffee).



    A coffee cake inspired by the blueberry muffin. Photo courtesy The Baker Chick.

    These areas already had sweet yeast breads, a natural accompaniment that evolved into “coffee cake” The made with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, nuts, dried fruit and spices.

    German, Dutch and Scandinavian immigrants brought the recipes with them to America. Over time, coffee cake recipes evolved to contain sugared fruit; cream cheese, yogurt and other creamy fillings; streusel and other toppings.

    See the different types of cake in our Cake Glossary.



    The “cinnamon roll” coffee cake. Photo courtesy The Baker Chick.


    There are many great coffee cake recipes out there. If you don’t have one, ask family and friends if they have a favorite before heading to recipe websites.

    For an inspired coffee cake recipe, we looked to Audra Fullerton, a.k.a The Baker Chick, the writer, recipe developer and photographer for this blog. We’re big fans.

    The “Blueberry Muffin” Coffee Cake

    The first coffee cake from Audra, photo above, is a blueberry muffin recipe baked as a cake, with an extra brown sugar topping. It’s not a yeast cake but is super moist, with plump blueberries in every bite.

    It takes all of 10 minutes to mix, and 40 minutes in the oven. How can you resist?

    Here’s the recipe.

    The “Cinnamon Bun” Coffee Cake

    The second recommendation is a jumbo cinnamon roll, the size of a cake.


    Instead of rolling and cutting the dough into individual rolls, you cut the dough into strips and attach them one by one until a monster cinnamon roll is achieved.

    It’s more time consuming than the blueberry coffee cake, but isn’t that “wow” factor worth 1 hour and 15 minutes of your time to assemble?

    After that, in just 20 minutes in the oven you have a warm, fragrant, gooey 9-inch “coffee cake.”

    Here’s the recipe.

    Special enough for Father’s Day: this Apple Streusel Bundt Cake.

    Also for your consideration: a Hummingbird Coffee Cake, a Southern tradition.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Angel Food Cake For Summer

    One of our favorite summer cakes is angel food cake, a light, flourless cake made with sugar, cream of tartar, salt, extract (almond, lemon or vanilla). a dozen or so egg whites and a touch of salt. There is no leavening, no cholesterol, no gluten and just 72 calories for a slice equal to 1/12 of the cake.

    Angel food cake is typically baked in a tube pan; a bundt pan doesn’t work (don’t try it!). The tube pan should have a removable bottom and “feet”, so you can invert the hot cake pan directly onto the counter to cool.

    The tender, snowy white cake is popularly served with berries and whipped cream, although it can be served plain, with other fruits or with a dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate, custard, fruit curd, fresh fruit).

    Fluffy, airy cake, berries and whipped cream: It was the summer cake baked by our mother, who whipped heavy cream with an electric beater until she purchased an iSi professional cream whipper with nitrous oxide cartridges. (We still have her 60-year-old whipper. It works great, and the whipped cream is so much more delicious than supermarket aerosols.)


    A delicious hot weather cake. Whipped cream optional or imperative, depending on your point of view. Photo courtesy

    Angel food cake is an American creation. Some historians think that the first angel food cakes were baked in the South by African-American slaves, due to the strength required to hand-whip the air into the whites with a whisk (the hand-cranked rotary beater didn’t appear until 1865-1870).

    Others theorize that the cake originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the early 1800s, based on the quantity of old tube pan-like cake molds in the area. There is a National Angel Food Cake Day, October 10th. Whoever picked that date didn’t read the memo on best summer cakes.

    Here’s a recipe sent to us by McCormick, contributed by Amanda of, who adapted it from the She used McCormick extracts and spices.

    Read the entire recipe and see the tips at the end of this article before preparing the recipe.

    For July 4th, instead of the roasted strawberry sauce, make Red, White & Blue Angel Food Cake with fresh berries.


    Ingredients For The Angel Food Cake

  • 1-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (from about 12 large eggs—but it’s better to purchase egg whites only if you have no uses for the yolks)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
    Ingredients For The Roasted Strawberry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 ounces of strawberry spread (or jam, jelly preserves)
  • Whipped cream (make your own from scratch)

    For The Angel Food Cake

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. If you have not tested your oven recently, use an oven thermometer to verify that the temperature has been reached.

    2. SIFT together in a large bowl 3/4 cup of the sugar and the sifted cake flour (this is half of the sugar and all of the flour).

    3. FIT a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat the egg whites in the bowl until foamy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream of tartar, lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts, balsamic and salt, and continue to beat until soft peaks form, roughly 2-3 minutes.

    4. GRADUALLY BEAT in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until glossy stiff peaks form. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    5. REMOVE the bowl from stand and sift the flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, over the beaten egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold (do not stir) the flour into the egg whites.

    6. DO NOT butter or spray or grease the tube pan. Pour the batter into the ungreased pan and run a metal spatula or knife through the batter to eliminate air pockets. Smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. The cake is done when the cake springs back when gently pressed or there are cracks over the top.

    7. INVERT the pan immediately upon removing from the oven and allow the cake to cool for about 1-1/2 hours. If your pan does not have feet, invert on the neck of a full wine bottle. When completely cool…

    8. RUN an offset spatula or knife around the sides and center tube of the pan to loosen the cake, then remove the cake from the pan. Next, use the offest spatula (or knife) along the bottom and remove. Set the cake on a serving plate or cake stand.


    A slice of angel cake has just 72 calories (without the toppings). Photo courtesy


    Preparation For The Roasted Strawberry Sauce

    Why roast the strawberries instead of simply slicing them? It creates juice and a very soft texture. Strawberries are not a great baking berry, since they tend to lose their shape and texture. Roasted, their flavor becomes more intense.

    Note that you can’t roast the berries in advance. As they sit, some of the color will start to leach from the berries into the juice. So when the cake comes out of the oven, turn up the heat and roast the strawberries.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Place the sliced strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle evenly with the maple syrup and sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Roast at 400°F for 10-12 minutes or until the berries are tender and have begun to release their juices.

    2. PLACE the strawberry spread into a medium bowl. Scoop the roasted strawberries on top of the spread and mix them together with a fork. If the mixture seems too thick, add up to 1/2 cup warm water, a bit at a time.

    3. TO SERVE: Pour some of the sauce (not all) over the cake. Cut the cake using an eight- or ten-inch serrated knife (bread knife) in a sawing motion. Try not to press the cake down as you cut. Place each piece on a plate and drop a dollop of whipped cream on top. Cover with more strawberry sauce.

    OPTIONAL: For a smooth strawberry sauce, use a blender or food processor. If you do this, you may not need to add the strawberry spread.

  • BRING all ingredients to room temperature.
  • MEASURE or weigh the egg whites. Eggs can vary greatly in size and weight, and there are lots of them in this recipe. If you are separating whole eggs instead of buying egg whites, the eggs must be very fresh. It makes separating them easier, as does separating them fresh from the fridge instead of at room temperature.
  • ENSURE that the mixing bowl and beaters are absolutely clean and cool (we place ours in the freezer—it helps with the volume). Even a speck of grease can limit the volume you get from the egg whites.
  • DON’T OVERBEAT! Follow these three words: stiff glossy peaks.


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