The Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie

Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie via Sweetapolita

Happy November to you!

That’s it. I’ve officially got the November-but-soon-to-be-December-cookie-making itch. Don’t you? My favourite cookies to make, bake and create with are sugar cookies. Variation is great too, but in the end I just love a perfect little sugar cookie. That’s not to say I love every sugar cookie, but the right sugar cookie has my heart. It has to buttery, slightly crispy, full of either pure vanilla or deep dark chocolate flavour, and absolutely must keeps its shape when baked.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookie via Sweetapolita

If you’ve read my previous post about The Perfect Sugar Cookie (and Cookie Pop), you know that I have a best-loved vanilla sugar cookie recipe (and technique for rolling and baking to ensure they keep their shape). So when I make the chocolate version, I use almost the same recipe, but I add some extra sugar (brown), premium dark cocoa powder, and an extra egg to make up for it. (I omit the lemon extract). And just like that they are the deepest of chocolate with the same delightful buttery, slightly-crispiness as the vanilla version. Doesn’t the cookie dough look so dark and decadent?

As for decorating these, anything goes of course. I love the visual of a pastel icing or fondant on a deep, dark cookie and, just as the vanilla version, they are perfect for cookie pops too. (You can learn about how to do that in the same post). Although the recipe helps keeps them from expanding, it’s the process that is key, in my opinion. It’s all about the chilling the dough, rolling it and chilling again before cutting shapes, then chilling (almost freezing) the shapes before baking. This will add to the baking time compared to other sugar cookie recipes, but it makes all the difference. Just make sure to bake the cookies long enough (even if it feels as though they’re taking forever), so that they are crispy on the edges, but not burnt. Burnt chocolate cookies can make you shiver–and not in a good way.

So albeit a simple and no-bells-and-whistles recipe, it’s only the beginning of countless (fabulous) chocolaty cookie designs. ♥

Perfect Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Yield: Apprx 30 medium cookies, depending on shapes/size

Buttery, crisp and super-chocolaty, these sugar cookies are ideal for decorating, snacking, tea-time or gifting. If the steps are followed, they will keep their shapes well and won't expand while baking.


  • 6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1-1/4 cups (137 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (8 g) salt
  • 2 cups (454 g)(4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (228 g) light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, cold
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract


  1. In large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs until just combined.
  3. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and blend.
  4. Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2" thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper (I use a silicone rolling mat underneath to ensure it doesn't slip while rolling, but you can even dampen counter so the parchment sticks a bit.), then place two 1/4" wooden dowels on either side of your dough, then another sheet of parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough (this will require a bit of elbow grease for the first few minutes until it softens up a bit) so it's flush with dowels--they will ensure that your dough is even thickness.
  7. Preheat your oven to 325° F. Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a baker's half sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment), with 2" clearance around each one and the edge of sheet. Place sheet with cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until cookie edges are just crisp, about 16 minutes.
  9. Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.


May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. They also freeze well in an airtight container.

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Sweetapolita’s Notes:
Good luck & enjoy!

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  1. 1

    I’m totally making these. They look scrumptious! I got the November itch too but I’m going to try to enjoy the calm before the December Christmas storm!

  2. 2

    These are beautiful!

  3. 3

    They sure do look dacadent.I too wasthink how lovely the would look with some pastel icing like a soft pink. You are amazing.

  4. 4

    Cant wait to try this Rosie!! Beautiful pictures!

  5. 5

    Am reading you, and follow you everywhere! I using a loto of your recipew with great success.. I just need to say hat I LOVE YOU!! <3

  6. 7

    These cookies just brought a huge smile to my face. Just beautiful, Rosie! Hope all is well!

  7. 8

    Oh. My. !!!

    I will be trying these ASAP. I have a wonderful tasting cookie but it tends to spend just a bit. These look perfect! Thank you for sharing! You are one of my “go to” people when looking for anything sweet!

  8. 9

    These look delicious and they are perfect! I’m sure going to try this recipe following all the steps, because some chocolate (perfect) cookies are wonderful as christmas gifts. Will you share your recipe for royal icing one day, Rosie? I haven’t found one that I feel comfortable with, and I would like to try yours!
    Happy weekend and baking!

  9. 10

    I am definitely making these cookies!

  10. 11

    Perfect cookies Rosie!

  11. 12

    Just wanted to thank you for sharing your wonderful baking tips and recipes. Accorfing to my boys My cakes are now the yummiest cakes my boys love eating and that is simply a big thanks to you. May I also add that they both love joining me to bake up something yummy from you and I know we are all going to have so much fun in the kitchen baking a batch of these yummy cookies. I’m sure you have probably figured that yummy is their favourite word when it comes to sampling the baked goods from your wonderful recipes.
    Big THANK YOU again for sharing and educating me.
    Love you lots x

  12. 14

    I have been wondering about a chocolate flavor sugar cookie… or even something to replace gingerbread cookies for Christmas. perfect!

  13. 15

    I also want to start baking Christmas goodies right away, but there’s a lot of work ahead of me, so I can’t – yet.
    It’s amazing how well your cookies keep their shape. I’ll have to try your technique.

  14. 16

    I love the simplicity of a good sugar cookie but I do always find the chocolate kind rather disappointing – this recipe looks like everything I could want and more & has made me ridiculously excited for the upcoming cookie season!

  15. 17

    I really want try this dark version, because I made your sugar cookies and they were… simply perfect!

  16. 18

    Hello! Happy November to you too! I have a huge block of dark chocolate sitting in my fridge, can I use that instead of the cocoa powder?

  17. 19

    I am definately going to make these for my grandkid’s and perhap’s a few for me !!! xxx

  18. 20

    These sure do look perfect! LOVE this recipe…they’re so pretty too :)

  19. 21

    Hi Rosie!!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us! I love it and definitively will try it! The cookies look delicious!! I´ve just tried your “Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Cake” recipe ((I posted it ;) ) with some changes, and my family loved it!!! Best wishes from Belize!!!

  20. 22

    These are just lovely!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. 23

    I love that you have already started thinking about holiday baking! These cookies look like they are going to make the list no questions asked!

  22. 24



  23. 25

    wow! Those are perfect. I am thinking all that flour is what helps them keep such a great shape while baking. This is a must try. Thanks for posting another fabulous recipe.

  24. 26

    These are beautiful!

  25. 27

    Perfect timing to start my Christmas baking. These cookies look devine on their own which shows how well the bake and don’t spread. Thanks for sharing Rosie – it looks like a winning recipe to me!!

  26. 28

    These are lovely! One of these days I’m going to brave and patient enough to make these and try out my hand decorating them with royal icing. You intimidate me with your talent!

  27. 29

    I have made a version of a dark chocolate sugar cookie for several years. I make a thumbprint before baking and fill with raspberry jam when they are cooled. Something was always not quite right with this cookie, but I didn’t know what. I can’t wait to try your recipe Rosie. Thank you!!!!

  28. 30

    What gorgeous cookies! Does it matter if we use natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder? The brand you recommend is obviously Dutch-process but recipe didn’t specify so I was curious if natural would also work. Thanks!

  29. 31
    Barbara Hadjiapostolou says:

    I have made some of your cakes and they have turned out absolutely gorgeous. you are indeed an inspiration to a few of us here in South Africa. Am looking forward to trying out the cookie recipe this weekend.

    thank you so much for all the tips and so easy to follow instructions.

  30. 32

    These are so pretty, Rosie! I love the dark hue of them as well! On the cookie baking list! P.S. I made your vanilla sugar cookies a few months ago and they turned out beautiful! Thank you for always providing us with such gorgeous recipes! xo

  31. 33

    i am so nervous about trying a chocolate roll out cookie, I worry I will over bake them, one day I will be brave enough

  32. 34

    They are stunning Rosie, just like everything you make. I love looking at all your beautiful creations. Your cake recipes have saved my life after moving to Quebec from California.

    Rosie, I really need your help on a sprinkle search. I don’t know anyone better to ask than you! Please let me know if I can email you.


    Ps. At the rate, I am going working my way through your recipe list, someone might need to check me in to rehab @ the Betty Crocker Institute.

  33. 35

    These look divine! Do you have a frosting recipe you would recommend for on them (not fondant)? Thanks so much!

  34. 36

    rosie these do look perfect!! i’ve used that cocoa powder before too and it’s so rich and good.

    i can’t even believe the holidays are upon us. blogs are gonna go WILD with baking pretty soon!!


  35. 37

    Oh my goodness! They’re amazing. I’m gonna say just one thing: PERFECT!


    Nyanyels (from Barcelona)

  36. 38
    Linda from Holland says:

    They look so clean and sharp, just love the way they look. I agree with earlier comments. I follow you blog by email and my heart makes a little jump everytime I see there is a new post. I learned a lot and tryed several recipes. They don’t look as good as yours yet, but it’s getting better each day. I just wiched that we had a school like Bonnie Gordon around here !!! Do you have a great gingerbread recipe as well ??? Love everything you do ! Keep those video’s comming !

  37. 39

    The are just absolutely fabulous! I am such a huge fan of everything you bake. I have question though…I recently tried to make a peanut butter sugar cookie, but the recipe was not great and the cookies did not keep their shape at all (I made them in the shape of pugs for a friends birthday). How could I adapt the recipe to make peanut butter cookies? Or at least peanut butter flavour? Any advice would be so much appreciated.

  38. 40

    I am SO ready to make Christmas cookies!!!! And this recipe will be added to my list….they look amazing!

    Thank you for your amazing recipes! I use them often and check your blog weekly for new posts – I’m addicted! :)

  39. 41

    Do you think the texture of these would work for a stuffed cookie? I’ve been looking for a good chocolate cookie to form around candies and bake.

  40. 42

    So beautiful!! I want to make some pretty decorated cookies this winter, would love to try them on a dark chocolate background

  41. 43

    Although I rarely make sugar cookies, these would be worth trying. Whenever I made them, they always puffed up. I love that yours stayed ‘put’.

  42. 44

    Beautiful cookies! I could probably sandwich them together with something sweet and creamy in between.

  43. 45

    Hey Rosie! Just made these!
    They are awesome, but make a huge amount! My mixer was overflowing!

  44. 46

    I love these cookies, is it wrong that I want to eat the cookie dough scraps,raw?

  45. 47

    Wow these look absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Love the idea of a dark chocolate sugar cookie because I’m not really a fan of the traditional kind. These sound great!!!!

  46. 48

    I’m a cookie lover but especially notice my need for baking them and eating them once November and December roll around. And buttery is amazing, as are anything chocolate for me. And these sugar cookies fit the bill. They look too good, as usual. Cravings kicking in now!

  47. 49

    This was only my second time making sugar cookies (the first time, I made your vanilla ones!) and they were ahhh-mazing! Perfectly chocolatey and so much fun to make – thank you for your recipe :]

  48. 50

    I just love your website. Will be adding these to my holiday cookie list :)

  49. 51

    This will seem like a silly question, but here goes:
    What do you think would happen if you made these with all white sugar and not brown?
    I am living in a country where they don’t sell brown sugar – or molasses *gasp!* I’ve had lose 99% of my ‘go to’ recipes because of that. BUT these cookies… OH MY! I really would love to try them. Any thoughts? I may just give it a go and see what happens.
    I’ll be hauling an entire suitcase full of the stuff when we head back to the states for a visit.

    • 52

      Hi Tammy,
      I think the cookies would work just fine with all white sugar, so no worries! The flavour might be a little less “deep,” but delicious nonetheless, I’m sure. If you do, let me know how it went? Best of luck!

  50. 53

    Rosie, I made these cookies and they are the most amazing chocolate cookie ever, this from a vanilla lover. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  51. 54

    Hi there. I found your recipe in a greek blog.
    It used your photo but didn’t really give you credit or a link. If you move the mouse over the photo it does say by sweetapolita, though.And that’s how I found you. I did the recipe – your recipe- and it’s awesome !! thanks a lot for sharing.

  52. 56

    These look perfectly delicious and decadent! Please tell me you will be making some (and bringing) for Christmas?! ;) xo

  53. 57

    Made these this week and they were AMAZING!!!

  54. 58

    These look absolutely perfect, and the photos are so perfectly styled! I’m in love :) And I need to give this recipe a try asap!

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

  55. 59

    These look magical. I must must must try this recipe for the holidays.
    PS. I love my Silpat too!

  56. 60
    Jessica Jones says:

    With the wooden dowels to we lay them down next to the dough to ensure thickness?

  57. 61

    Those look fantastic. I need something to use up the rest of the creamy salted caramel filling I used between some vanilla bean sugar cookies yesterday. I think these will fit the bill. Thanks.!

  58. 62

    I am STILL itching to make these, I have all the ingredients and just have not found the time! Speaking of frosting these, do you have a suggestion for a recipe? I specifically bought some cute Christmas chape cookie cutters to use with this recipe and I would love to decorate my trees, bells and stars! :)

  59. 63

    Rosie, thank you so much for all your recipes. I’ve made a few of them now and none of them shave let me down! I’m a fellow Canadian but been living in Scotland for the last 14 years and its great to see that your measurements are also in grams (saves me trying to convert). The amounts were spot on and my 2 girls have just devoured countless amounts of these dark chocolate cookies prior to bed….which is probably not my best idea, but as its close to Christmas I give in a lot! But thank you so much for your brilliant site and sharing all your recipes!

  60. 64

    Just baked these up today and waited very patiently for them to cool so I could taste-test (raw dough passed the test already haha) – brilliant! Great flavour and texture, just the right sugary hit IMO. Thanks for the super recipe :-)

  61. 65

    Hello Rosie! I thought they were the most amazing cookies and tried to recreate them. They look beautiful, and they turned out very tasty but extremely hard, what did I do wrong?

  62. 66

    Hi Rosie, Thanks for the lovely recipe. I made a batch 3 days back. It turned out very good – I mean the colour and the shape. But, like Ida’s comment, my cookies from the first half of dough turned out rock hard (even though the colour and the shape looked exactly like in your pictures! – I was really proud of myself that time ;) ) then I realized that i had rolled it out too thin as I didn’t have a 1/4″ rod to help me measure the thickness.
    So, I actually measured the thickness with my second half of the dough and made exactly 1/4″. But then the cookies turned crisp on the surface but chewy or underbaked?? (whatever you name it…) inside. I think 16 minutes of baking is not enough. I waited till it cool completly and since it was not uniformly crisp I baked again for 5 minutes but still not crisp. Is there something else wrong? or are the chocolate cookies soft inside?
    Anyways, the taste was awsome!

  63. 67

    made them yesterday and got so many compliments- everyone loves them. I got sixty cookies from this recipe and haven’t used all the dough yet!

  64. 68

    I want to use this dough to make a non-gingerbread, gingerbread house. No one eats the gingerbread, just the candy… Think it would work?!

  65. 69

    Thank you so mush for this recipe! Mine are just out of the oven! they are perfect! And it save my life that you translate with “gr”! Thank you again!

  66. 70

    Do you think it would be a problem only doing 1/2 a recipe? I want to test it out with gluten free flour, but don’t want 30 cookies if it doesn’t work out in my favor.

  67. 73

    Delicious! I made them last night and they turned out great. For a bit of variation I also (half) dipped some of my circle shaped cookies in white chocolate and then coconut which looked kinda cool and tasted yummy! Thanks from the bottom of our tummies all the way down here in New Zealand.

  68. 74

    PS I used two quarter inch thick magazines covered in foil instead of dowel and that worked fine.

  69. 75

    Is it normal for the dough to be dry/ crumbly before chilling?

  70. 76

    About to make these! Thinking about adding in some ginger chunks! :)

  71. 77

    Baking today and these are next…going to add some grated orange peel! Can’t wait to smell these baking while the snow is softly falling outside :-)!

    • 78

      They came out splendid! Tast and look great! It’s so cold here I just put tray’s in the garage instead of freezer LOL! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  72. 79

    Hey Rosie,

    Love your blog – its bookmarked on my laptop :)
    I’m thinking of making these cookies, but half the quantity – what should I do about the eggs since the recipe calls for 3 eggs?

  73. 80

    Sweetapolita is one of my favourite baking blogs, I don’t know why I didn’t just check here first when looking for a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies :-) Luckily, google was thinking for me, and here I am! I was looking for something to use to make ‘hats’ for snowman cake pops I’m making for my kids’ classmates, and these are perfect. Tasty, too!

    One surprise: the heavy dough totally stressed out my KitchenAid stand mixer! I have a Pro 6 model, so lots of gumption to it, but wisps of smoke came out the speed control lever… I’ve made Panettone, lots if yeast doughs, etc, with my trusty mixer, so was surprised. What kind of mixer are you using?

  74. 82

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love with the photo! I bake a lot during Christmas and wanted to add a new recipe to my list this year. I just took my first batch of these cookies out of my oven and they are to-die-for! I used Ruddy Red cocoa powder and it made them super chocolatey and very rich. They are labour-intensive but I will definitely be making these again!!!

  75. 83
    Kimpossible says:

    These made my short list for Christmas. They’re as well conceived as they are beautiful, and as unusual as they are delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  76. 84

    I have finally found my answer to the holiday cookie! (I only like chocolate :-) Question: What salt do you use in your recipes, i.e., is it Kosher/coarse salt or just regular table salt. Thank you!

  77. 85

    Made these cookies for presents and the cookies kept their shape. I tried many other recipes during the process but your recipe is for keeps. Thank very much for sharing. Happy Holidays to you!

  78. 86
    Laura Dolce says:

    Just made two batches of these today and WOW. So delicious, absolutely hold their shape and my kids love them! Left most plain, but did some with Tiffany blue icing and pearls. So pretty. thanks for this new holiday recipe – it’s a keeper!

  79. 87
    Julia Estrada says:

    Rosie, I just have to say that I’m so grateful for your recipes. I’m a college student but did not go to culinary school (though I thought about it for a very long time!) and so everything I do is self-taught. I bake whenever I’m home from college now (and I mean I bake a TON) and I’d say that 8 out of every 10 recipes I make are from this website. They all come out beautifully and I get so many compliments! Thank you for being one of my “teachers” and providing us with such great recipes and clear instruction. These cookies are awesome!

    Much holiday love,

  80. 88
    Virginia Libby says:

    My girls and I saw these and decided that we have to make them for Santa. Can’t wait to make a batch! Love your site and recipes. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  81. 89

    This recipe is great – cookies were fab! I didn’t do all the freezer / fridge steps but they still came out great. I managed to yeild about 25 cookies from just 1/3 of the mixture so maybe my cookies were smaller, but I froze the rest of the dough meaning I can get it out today and make a new batch in time for Christmas!

  82. 90

    Awesome cookies!!! I added these to my Christmas cookies this year and they were a huge hit. I cut mine into big snowflakes and gifts and added just a bit of white icing to decorate them. Everyone I gave them to were jostling for them. This is now my favorite cookie to make. Thanks so much for sharing!

  83. 91

    2 inches of clearence? So about 8 cookies per half sheet going into the oven?

  84. 93

    Wow, mine came out so perfect! Thanks for all the tips on making perfect sugar cookies. Going to be spreading the love tomorrow with piles of perfect chocolate hearts.

  85. 94

    This recipe was easy to follow and delicious!! My cookies did not spread and turned out beautiful!! I had to adjust only the bake time as I did not have the silicone cooking mat. Thank you for the tip on rolling the dough between celaphane, mess was minimized and it worked great!!

  86. 95
    alice smith says:

    does this recipe really make only about 30 cookies? with 6 cups of flour and a pound of butter… it just seems as if there should be a lot more cookies. is this a problem of the baker eating the dough?? ;-)

  87. 96

    Another winning recipe. They have a great chocolate flavor and are only a little sweet without any toppings. The color is gorgoues and I used it to make some Mickey Mouse cupcake toppers, which looked gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  88. 97

    This looks great – but I think a little more instruction could be useful for those of us who are just learning to bake. I tried my mixer and it caught fire. I happened to be baking some tortilla chips at the time so I just thought the light smokey scent was those in the oven but I knew something was up when the dog started barking and I realized the smoke was coming from the mixer as soon as I unplugged it there was a burst of flame so I through it in the sink and turned on the water. Now I have a bowl of almost mixed dough. I’m going in with my hands – but I’ll wash them first.

  89. 99
    Brenlynwin says:

    Made these this afternoon & they are fabulous! Both the dough AND the cookies! =) THANKS for sharing a great recipe!

  90. 100
    J Williams says:

    The dough came out beautiful, almost black as tar. Some of the nicest dough I’ve ever worked with and the taste is wonderful. I decorated them with white sprinkles and white snowflakes. The black and white look was very different.

  91. 101

    This is hands down THE PERFECT CHOCOLATE COOKIE in every way! I went through 4 double batches over the Christmas season and got rave reviews. The dough is a decorator’s dream to work with, no spread, clean cuts, nice flat tops. The flavor is exceptional and the texture is perfect. Works well with lighter cocoa, half & half and black. Totally trashed my default chocolate cookie dough. Look no further, this is THE ONE! [it also keeps much longer than 2 weeks in airtight storage... only if under lock & key] Seriously, when people take the first bite, their eyes roll back. Yah, that good!

  92. 102

    These cookies are just… WOW! I will definitely be making these soon.

  93. 103
    jora sanchez says:

    i’ve made them, they are great!! followed all the baking tips and the shape was perfect even though it was a snowflake (no way easy)and the flavour is really good! thank you for sharing all your recipes an tips!

  94. 104

    Not only are these cookies beautiful they are delicious!!! The don’t spread at all and hold their shape beautifully. I also made this recipe and substituted the cocoa with flour, doubled the vanilla, and added a little lemon extract. Worked just as beautifully and deliciously as the original recipe. Thank you for your willingness to share your recipes and for being so detailed and the beautiful pictures that accompany them.

  95. 105

    Made these this evening with my daughter. She saw Totoro cookies on Pinterest, and thought of this recipe, and was suddenly driven to make cookies. We happened to have everything we needed for it (whew! We had a snowstorm last night and I didn’t want to go to the store). I only have a regular-sized Kitchenaid, so next time (and there WILL be a next time) we’re going to halve the recipe. I just had my first sample. Brilliant! I don’t usually do rolled cookies–I’m too impatient, and frankly I haven’t had a recipe that made it seem worth it. But these will be done again. Thanks so much!

  96. 106
    raquel feeney says:

    i can’t really get all purpose flour in belgium… what will happen if I use pastry/cake flour??? Its either that or “bread” flour… there is no “all purpose” here!

    HELP! i want these cookies!!

  97. 107

    Just wondering…
    Do you think these cookies could be piped into rosettes or sea shells?


  98. 108

    When I made this dough at Christmas it was absolutely gorgeous….looked liked a freshly poured blacktop road. It was great to work with and turned out to be the best tasting chocolate cookie I’ve ever had. I plan to make them again for an occasion at school…they’ll resemble a slate chalkboard….yummy!



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