Apple Vinaigrette

I feel that it is my moral obligation to share with you a vinaigrette I discovered this past week when I made it for Thanksgiving #1.

It’s a simple recipe, modified from the recipe I found here.

Mix up all the ingredients, and drizzle them over a bed of baby spinach, fresh apples, and pecans.

You’ll die.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped apple

And if you feel that it is your moral obligation to have seconds, well, I certainly won’t judge you. After all, we’re having it at Thanksgiving #2. Again.

Cocoa Bottom Banana Pecan Bars

Because bananas couldn’t get any better.

On my quest to use up my stash’o’bananas in my freezer, I came across another delicious recipe. We can thank the folks over at Kitchen-Aid for this one. Yum.

Cocoa Bottom Banana Pecan Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a13x9-inch baking pan. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or you could do it by hand), beat sugar and butter at a medium speed until creamy. Add the bananas, egg, and vanilla, continuing to beat until well blended.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, and beat until well blended. Stir in the chopped pecans.

Divide the batter in half. Stir the cocoa into one half, and spread the chocolate batter into the bottom of the greased pan. Top with the plain batter, and swirl with a knife as desired.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Now, there were only a few tricks to this one. I wouldn’t even call them that, really.

First, I have a tendency to never pre-mash my bananas if they’re going in the mixer anyway. Call it laziness, or call it not wanting to wash another dish. (Another name for laziness?) And my bars turned out just fine.

Second, it didn’t swirl as well as I expected. This photo was taken after me swirling like a madwoman. The batter was just too dense to really swirl well.

But it’s okay. Because in the long run, it turns out just lovely.

Remind yourself that the edges of this are not burned…they’re CHOCOLATE. Yum.

Gorgeous, and very simple to cut into bars and serve in any fashion you desire. (Or eat four bars before you realize what even blind-sided you.)

The final flavor is still very reminiscent of banana bread – I guess when you squeeze five bananas into a batter that only fills a 13×9 pan, you’re going to have a pretty dominant banana flavor.

But just think…banana-y…chocolate-y…goodness. If you’re even more of a chocoholic (cough – MOM- cough) you could add mini-chocolate chips to this batter and I’m sure it would be even more delicious.

Here’s the easy-to-print version for you my friends: Cocoa Bottom Banana Pecan Bars

Now go…and bake!