Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites

Sometimes you need to get your chocolate fix on without getting your gluttony on.

And these are just the little bites to do it.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

There’s NO added white or brown sugar, NO butter or dairy, and NO flour used.

They’re vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free and you’d never guess they’re healthy.

They’re a revamp of my 2009 Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Fudge Balls and are made in minutes. Noteworthy changes include increasing the ratio of cocoa powder and adding a dash of agave. The net result is bites that taste even more like real brownies. Rich, supremely fudgy, and satisfying. And are made entirely from plants.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

The new batch size is slightly larger, but still yields just 2 dozen small bites, about 3/4-inch to 1-inch in diameter. If you roll them larger, approaching golf ball size, one dozen is a realistic yield.

I used cashews and highly recommend you do the same. Cashews are the vegan, plant-based equivalent of butter. They’re softer, richer, and creamier than other nuts. They blend smoother and are more flavor-neutral.

I prefer cashew to almonds because almonds are chalkier, harder, coarser, don’t blend as easily, impart more nutty-flavor rather than buttery-flavor, and aren’t what I’d reach for. If my choice was almonds or peanuts, I’d go with peanuts. At least that way the finished bites would taste peanut buttery.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

This is a wet-ish dough, but it shouldn’t be sloppy wet, nor bordering on Chocolate Cashew Butter. If it is, you need to dry it out. Add more cocoa powder or nuts, one tablespoon at a time. In this batch size, one tablespoon makes a difference, so add slowly. If the dough is too dry and is sandy, moisten it either with an additional squirt of agave or another date or two.

Because natural ingredients vary so widely; just how creamy or dry your cashews are, how soft and moist the dates are, and just how finely your food processor can pulverize, are all variables to account for. Use my recipe as a guideline, adding a pinch of this or squirt of that as necessary to get the dough to combine into a big softball that slaps around the interior of the food processor canister. If you have the choice of a food processor and a Vita-Mix, I prefer a food processor.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

Remove the dough, put it on a large plate or in a bowl, cover it, and allow it to chill for a few hours, up to a week, before attempting to roll it into balls. If it’s too warm, you’ll have a sticky, tacky, chocolate sauce-like paste all over your hands. Not the worst problem in the world, but rolling will be more annoying, stickier, and more time-consuming than it needs to be. Chilled dough is much easier to work with.

Optionally, dredge the bites through sprinkles. Only good things can come from sprinkles.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t truly think so, but they taste like rich, fudgy, full of eggs-and-butter and melted chocolate brownies. They pack some serious fudge factor and are dense, chewy, rich, and so satisfying. They keep for weeks, months really, in the refrigerator or freezer and it’s nice to have a dozen around to snack on.

I have tupperwares full of dough balls in my fridge and freezer to be baked off or snacked on at a later date. Some is raw-vegan and some is the real thing. Unless I label it or have a clear memory of what I stashed, these healthy bites could easily get confused as the real thing.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

If you’ve never made a raw vegan chocolate treat before, or something that fools everyone, this is the one to try.

The bites remind me of 2009 when my blog was full of Dessert Bites, Balls, Cookie Dough, and Truffles Recipes. Things change, life moves on and ebbs and flows, but this recipe is full of nostalgia. And chocolate.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

I like to think of putting teeth marks into one of these is as guilt-free.

Get your chocolate on without getting your gluttony on.

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (vegan, GF) NO Added Sugar, Butter, or Flour

Print Print Recipe

Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free)

These bites are rich, dense, ultra fudgy, and taste like they're made with eggs, butter, flour, and sugar, but don't include any of those ingredients. They're vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, with no sugar added and they're healthy, but sure don't taste healthy. If you've never made a raw, vegan chocolate treat before, or want to get your chocolate on without getting your gluttony on, this is the recipe for you. No-bake, easy, and ready in minutes.

Yield: About 2 dozen small 3/4-inch bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


2/3 cup cashews (I use raw, unsalted, whole from Trader Joe's)
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 cup soft, moist medjool dates, pitted and loosely packed (I used 20 medium dates)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 4 tablespoons agave nectar, or as necessary (maple syrup, honey, yacon, or corn syrup may be substituted but all impart more flavor than agave)
sprinkles for dredging, optional (many brands are inherently vegan)


  1. To the canister of a food processor or Vita-Mix (I prefer my food processor for this job), add the cashews, cocoa powder, and blend to pulverize into fine crumbs, about 15 seconds. Do not over-process because you will make chocolate-cashew butter very quickly.
  2. Add the dates, vanilla, and process until mixture begins to combine. It's likely the mixture will be sandy, coarse and not combining. As necessary to get it to combine, add agave, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing to incorporate after each addition.
  3. You'll know the consistency is right when the dough combines into a softball-sized mound and the mound travels around the canister in one big ball. It will still be tacky and sticky, but it shouldn't be wet and sloppy. Dough that resembles the consistency of nut butter is too runny and loose and dry ingredients must be added to help it solidify. Add a tablespoon or two more cocoa powder or cashews, as necessary, to dry out the dough. Dough that's too pebbly, dry, or sandy will benefit from anther couple dates or tablespoon of agave, as necessary, to moisten it.
  4. Transfer dough to a plate or bowl, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 1 week, before rolling into balls. Dough that's warm is difficult to work with; it's stickier, messier, and it leaves a chocolate paste-like layer on your hands. Wait until it's chilled before pulling off small hunks and rolling between palms until smooth. Work quickly because the warmer the dough gets, the harder it is to roll. I roll the balls about 3/4-inch in diameter, up to 1-inch.
  5. Optionally, dredge balls through sprinkles. This has the added benefit of absorbing some of the tackiness or stickiness of the dough.
  6. I prefer the bites chilled and store them in the refrigerator. Bites will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for many weeks, or in the refrigerator for many months, or in the freezer for 6+ months.

Related Recipes:

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Fudge Balls (GF) – 5 minutes and 3 ingredients to make an extremely rich and satisfying treat. This recipe inspired today’s recipe

The Ultimate Fudgy Caramel Brownies – My new favorite brownie recipe. Made in one bowl with a whisk and ready in 30 minutes. The brownies are dense, fudgy, rich, supremely moist, and not at all cakey

No-Bake Vanilla Cake Batter Chocolate Truffles –  Vanilla cake batter in the middle that’s coated in chocolate, perfect for the holidays or to set out at parties any time and one of my most pinned recipes

Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles (no-bake, with vegan & GF options) – For those who enjoy salty ‘n sweet treats, these truffles pair savory pretzels and peanuts with sweet peanut butter cookie dough before being dipped in chocolate

Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting – A longtime favorite brownie recipe that works like a charm every time to produce flawless, fudgy, rich brownies in just minutes with one bowl and whisk

Quintuple Chocolate Fudgy Brownie Cookies – The richest cookies I’ve ever made and the best chocolate cookies I’ve ever had. Five different types of chocolate is used, creaming a supremely rich, decadent cookie

Nutella Brownie Truffle Bites (no-bake, GF) – None of the work of rolling the bites into little balls and instead, the dough is pressed into a pan and sliced to save time

Chocolate Covered Oreo Balls (no-bake) – Crushed Oreos, mixed with cream cheese, and coated in chocolate make for a rich, decadent, and very chocolaty treat that are especially popular around the holidays

Soft and Chewy Brownie Cookies – They taste like a fudgy, moist, decadent brownie in cookie form and are almost flour-less, making them even richer tasting

Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (vegan, GF) – Consistently one of the most viewed pages on my site, day in and day out, for the last 4 years since I posted this recipe in 2009. Made them in minutes and they taste like real chocolate chip cookie dough

Have you ever made no-bake bites or balls?

Making no-bake 40+ Dessert Bites, Balls, Cookie Dough, and Truffles is easy and there is no wrong way.

Combining nuts or seeds with dates, raisins, or other dried fruit; sometimes adding peanut butter, agave, maple syrup or other glue-like ingredients, and blending them is always going to result in something wonderful.

If you have favorite recipes, please share links.


131 Responses to “Healthy Fudgy Brownie Bites”

  1. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today — March 28, 2013 at 12:06 am (#

    OMG, this is so healthy that I need to do it. And it’s not at all because it’s chocolate ;)

  2. Diane @ Vintage Zest — March 28, 2013 at 1:09 am (#

    I’m very tempted to make these right now! I have a question for you. I’ve tried processing dates before, and they’re super hard to work with in my sub-par food processor. Now, I could try to work with it again by chopping them up before adding them into the bowl. However, I’ve seen dates that are already processed into almost a paste at the international store. Would this be okay to use? It’s just processed dates pressed into a brick shape, but it crumbles apart fairly easily.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 2:09 am (#

      Just soak your existing dates in warm water for a half hour or so; and then if need be, chop them into smaller bits before adding to your food proc. If your dates end up getting VERY water logged, you may need to play with the ratios a bit but by and large, this is way easier, convenient and cost effective! than buying those pastes. I know what you’re talking about…ripoff IMO. Just soak your own dates and make your own paste :)

    • Diane @ Vintage Zest — March 28, 2013 at 11:13 am (#

      Thanks for the tip!

  3. Joanne — March 28, 2013 at 3:34 am (#

    The sprinkles are the perfect touch to make these extra decadent!! I need these in my life so that when that sweet craving hits at night, I can reach for these instead of a tub of ice cream!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 4:33 am (#

      Having a stash of these in the fridge/freezer prevents me from reaching for cookies, real brownies, or whatever else I seem to find!

  4. Aimee @ ShugarySweets — March 28, 2013 at 3:44 am (#

    These are so cute! And I sure could use a balance of healthy desserts in my diet! Thanks Averie (love the sprinkles :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 4:32 am (#

      May as well include sprinkles in everything I possibly can is my theory :)

  5. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance — March 28, 2013 at 3:53 am (#

    I love having healthy dessert options to curb a chocolate craving. Once I get my hands on some cashews, I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks!

  6. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — March 28, 2013 at 4:08 am (#

    It’s so nice to have guilt-free options like this that still make you feel like you’re indulging a bit! These look just perfect! Loe the addition of cashews.

  7. ashley - baker by nature — March 28, 2013 at 4:39 am (#

    I would LOVE to have a bag of these laying around for late night cravings (which always happen!!!). So cute and fun too with the sprinkles!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:10 am (#

      You and me both! Better these than tons of cookies, chips, or other junky snackfood which I am prone to at that hour :)

  8. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — March 28, 2013 at 5:03 am (#

    Is it so wrong to say that the sprinkles are my favorite part?! They’re so bright and colorful… makes me happy :)

  9. Sue/the view from great island — March 28, 2013 at 5:09 am (#

    This is a dangerous post to be reading before breakfast! I’m fascinated by the idea of using the cashews as butter. I’m wondering if pecans would work, too because they seem to have a similar texture. I have to get experimenting, thanks for the inspiration.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:09 am (#

      Pecans add way more flavor than cashews. It’s much more distinctive and don’t blend into as creamy of a state as cashews. Better than almonds but on par with walnuts. Nothing beats a cashew is raw/vegan ‘unbaking’! :)

  10. Paula — March 28, 2013 at 5:40 am (#

    I love these things but haven’t made them in months. I got a new food processor last week and haven’t used it yet–this would be the perfect recipe to give it a test run. The fun thing about raw vegan nut bites are all the various nut and dried fruit combinations…but I’ve probably made chocolate ones most frequently (dried cherries are a tasty addition)! Ani Phyo’s raw donut holes are another favorite and work well with cashews instead of almonds.

  11. Eva @ Eva Bakes — March 28, 2013 at 5:45 am (#

    I’ve made healthy brownies that are similar to these brownie bites. You are right – they are so, so good and rich and fudgy! You thought of something that I totally missed though… sprinkles! Duh! How could I forget those? This recipe looks wonderful, as always!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:07 am (#

      Sprinkles just make everything better and glad you’re already a fan of the nobake bites that are similar to these!

  12. Jen @ FitterSelf — March 28, 2013 at 5:49 am (#

    I’m a huge fan of your no-bake vegan dessert bites, and these sound fantastic. Totally making these for Easter…I love fooling family and friends with decadent treats that are actually healthy! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Tieghan — March 28, 2013 at 6:07 am (#

    I Love how healthy these are! Seeing as my family east chocolate after EVER meal I think I need to make these!

  14. jackie @ marin mama cooks — March 28, 2013 at 6:23 am (#

    These balls are so darn cute and I love how you threw the colorful sprinkles on them. These would be the perfect after lunch snack that you wouldn’t feel guilty snacking on! I tend to have a bite or two of dark chocolate some afternoons and it really hits the spot! I love the addition of dates and cashews to give the chocolate some nutritional punch! Yum!
    xoxo, Jackie

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:05 am (#

      I think you’d love these, Jackie! They hit the spot for exactly what you’re talking about – that couple bites of dark choc that’s so needed some days :)

  15. Katy @ KatysKitchen — March 28, 2013 at 7:33 am (#

    Very cute. I make these often and store them in my freezer, but I’ve never thought of rolling them in sprinkles. Cute idea.

  16. Heather (Where's the Beach) — March 28, 2013 at 7:47 am (#

    That’s really a good description for cashews. They are so versatile.

  17. Marie @ Little Kitchie — March 28, 2013 at 8:02 am (#

    Oh my goodness!!! YUM! Your photos are always gorgeous, but these are just so stunning – especially love that last one! These look positively divine and I love that they are healthy! Got to make some of these for the husband!!

  18. Jackie @ Domestic Fits — March 28, 2013 at 8:34 am (#

    You got the marble rolling board! It looks awesome with those gorgeous brownie bites :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:01 am (#

      Yes I did and it was 100% the PERFECT thing to photograph these on I thought! Still haven’t used it to roll out any dough yet but that will soon change :)

  19. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — March 28, 2013 at 8:41 am (#

    You MUST be joking — those don’t have ANY flour, butter, sugar or eggs? They look identical to your typical “brownie/chocolate truffle.” It’s unbelievable that whipping up some cashews and dates produced these fudgy balls of heaven! Need.

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:01 am (#

      I know, I thought they looked pretty identical too, and it’s amazing what plants can do, right!

  20. Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies — March 28, 2013 at 9:14 am (#

    YUM! I love a healthy way to get in some chocolate :)

  21. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — March 28, 2013 at 9:26 am (#

    Oh how FUN! Healthy brownie bites rolled in sprinkles! Love it! PS: I’m swooning over your marble board background! I just ordered mine and can’t wait for it to arrive!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:29 am (#

      you’re going to love it and you’ll be shocked how HEAVY!!!!! it is. I was preparing for it to be heavy but it’s even more so!

  22. Tina @ Tina's Chic — March 28, 2013 at 9:52 am (#

    Healthy and chocolate!? It sounds too good to be true. I definitely have to try these. You always have beautiful pictures, great stories, and amazing recipes! I always look forward to reading your blog. :)

  23. Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations — March 28, 2013 at 9:54 am (#

    I love everything fudgy and chocolatey. And if it can also be consider healthy, well count me in!

  24. carol | a cup of mascarpone — March 28, 2013 at 9:56 am (#

    Averie, are you sure these are healthy? Or are you just saying that? ;) Seriously, these look amazingly delicious!!!

  25. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — March 28, 2013 at 10:07 am (#

    YUM! I make these with a similar recipe and they are SO addicting! Cannot wait to try your recipe, Averie! Thank you! xo

  26. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen — March 28, 2013 at 10:52 am (#

    I really do love reading your posts. They are so thought out and written beautifully. I feel as if I am baking with you- whilst reading! Or not baking in this case! ;) I actually bought a few bags of dates last week- I pureed them to make cc cookies. I want to be creative with dates. In my house we use dates for sticky toffee pudding and that is it. I love seeing other recipes using dates!!! :)

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 11:30 am (#

      Thanks for the wonderful comment! I write my posts as if someone IS going to bake this and like to point out things along the way that they should be aware of. And I do take my time writing my posts to lay them out well and not just throw them together. So thank you for noticing and glad my intentions and things are working out like I hope they would!

  27. Cassie | Bake Your Day — March 28, 2013 at 11:22 am (#

    These are great, Averie! I love using dates in recipes like this. You probably can’t even tell that they are good for you!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 11:28 am (#

      You can’t tell at all! Seriously the bites taste like REAL brownies – wouldn’t say it if they didn’t and I’m a tough critic!

  28. sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 28, 2013 at 11:37 am (#

    Ok, I obviously love these! And all the sprinkles. I love using dates in recipes like this – they are like a little sweetening miracle worker! And these brownie bites literally look like brownies rolled into balls. They don’t even look like they are missing butter, oil, or eggs! I love your pretty granite counter tops too. it makes the sprinkles really “pop!”

    Oh and those pretzel peanut caramel pb cookie dough truffles – umm… WOW.

  29. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm (#

    These bites look amazing, Averie! Love the sprinkles – so fun!

  30. Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) — March 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm (#

    These look absolutely AMAZING!! And the sprinkles make them even better :D

  31. Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection — March 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm (#

    Thank youuuuuu! I’m dying for some “healthy” sweet recipes. Bikini season is right around the corner and I need to feed my sweet tooth with things that will make my waistline happy. These look delicious!

  32. Stephanie A. — March 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm (#

    I put these in a nutritional counter and for one bite it was 14 grams of sugar. Is this sugar necessarily BAD for me??

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm (#

      I personally don’t count grams of anything. I’m just not a counter. Never been my thing and for me to say this is bad and that isn’t, that’s not something I can do. Only you can. Personally, I don’t see how plants, raw/vegan anything, in moderation is bad!

  33. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — March 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm (#

    These look perfectly poppable and delicious! I love that you rolled them in sprinkles too!

  34. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm (#

    Amazing! Sprinkles make me happy. Chocolate makes me happy. This snacking size makes me happy.

    It all makes me happy :)

  35. These look so good Averie! I especially love all of the sprinkles. I love the nut/cocoa/date trick for making raw brownie-type treats but never realized that cashews are more “butter-like” than other nuts because I’ve never used them in baking. Now I have no idea why I’ve never tried that! Thanks for teaching me something new, and for the healthy brownie inspiration!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm (#

      Oh you will love working with cashews more now that you know how buttery they are compared to other nuts when blended!

  36. tracy {pale yellow} — March 28, 2013 at 5:24 pm (#

    I want a whole bag of these to pop in my mouth right now! They look fantastic!

  37. Kiran @ — March 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm (#

    Sprinkles. Chocolate. Brownie. Bites… I could eat it, all day :D

  38. Rabi'a — March 28, 2013 at 5:46 pm (#

    YUM can’t wait to try this. Looks delish. Love the pictures.

  39. Amber K — March 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm (#

    These look delicious! And dangerous ;)

  40. Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) — March 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm (#

    I love brownie bites and healthy ones seem amazing!!

  41. Abbe@This is How I Cook — March 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm (#

    Sort of like a Lara Bar in ball form?I like it! And my daughter will, too! I’ll be sure to make her some so she can have them after her 1/2 marathon she’s running to raise money for leukemia. I made your caramels to put on her desk for a donation to the Leukemia fund. Will let you know how they go over but my guess is they will go fast. They were heavenly!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm (#

      Glad to hear you made the caramels! Thanks for LMK! And congrats to your daughter on her race and efforts and these are perfect running fuel!

  42. Monica — March 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm (#

    Really nice healthy alternative! These brownie bites looks ridiculously moist and fudgy. I’m a big fan of cashews but not dates so much but I’m guessing you don’t really taste that and it’s used more for the binding, chewy texture.

  43. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — March 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm (#

    Yum! I made some cookies kind of like yours this past week, but with peanut butter! I realized I didn’t add enough sugar so they didn’t make the blog this week! Another time! I am sooooooo loving your recipe!! Using cashews is such a great idea!!

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2013 at 9:51 pm (#

      Yes sometimes you have to tweak things a few times before they’re blog-able. Don’t I know!

  44. Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry — March 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm (#

    I love cashews in my vegan desserts. These brownie bites look awesome-I need the Easter Bunny to make me some of these :)

  45. Katie — March 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm (#

    I kid you not, this morning I was making cookies (that SCREAM of Averie, flavor-wise) and I started thing about the cookie balls you used to post all the time with dates. I remember thinking, I wonder if she still makes those. Uncanny. I swear.

    I also never thought I’d read a post on your blog with the word “healthy” in the title. ;)

    I always have abowl of raw cookie dough balls in my freezer to snack on. I’m out of dates and peanut butter right now. I tried to make coconut butter yesterday. EPIC fail.

  46. Ari @ Ari's Menu — March 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm (#

    Yes. To all of it. I wouldn’t change a single thing, and I LOVE the sprinkles on top. They totally take it from a “snack” to a dessert! PS, is that marbley surface new??? I’ve been wanting one of those!

  47. Erica — March 29, 2013 at 7:16 am (#

    Definitely a great, healthier alternative!! The sprinkles make them so fun!!

  48. Nutmeg Nanny — March 29, 2013 at 8:10 am (#

    Guilt-free treats are my favorite kind :) and the sprinkles are such a pretty touch. These looks so tasty!

  49. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — March 29, 2013 at 9:50 am (#

    In looooove!

  50. Kate@Diethood — March 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm (#

    Okay, first of all, the sprinkles!! I LOVE IT! Secondly, I love it when chocolate goodies come in healthy packages!! :-D

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