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Kentucky Derby Cookie Bars

Kentucky Derby Cookie Bars - You haven't had derby pie like this - a chocolate chip cookie crust is topped with a Derby Pie filling made with pecans, chocolate chips, and a hint of bourbon. Oh and don't forget to top them with gooey homemade bourbon caramel sauce!

Kentucky Derby Cookie Bars – You haven’t had derby pie like this – a chocolate chip cookie crust is topped with a Derby Pie filling made with pecans, chocolate chips, and a hint of bourbon. Oh and don’t forget to top them with gooey homemade bourbon caramel sauce!

Welcome to May, everyone! Since it’s our first recipe of the month, it’s also our cookie recipe for this month.

As you know, I like to start each new month with a new cookie recipe. But as you also may know, sometimes I take liberties with the term “cookie.” I may use cookie flavors but make another dessert, like I did with these chocolate chip cookie dough cake pops. Because sometimes you just gotta keep it interesting, people.

Here are some other recipes where I stretched the limits of my cookie recipe creativity:

All of this is to lead up to today’s recipe, which is also a recipe that features cookie qualities, but isn’t technically a cookie. It’s more of a bar. A Kentucky Derby Pie Bar, to be exact. With the Derby coming up this weekend, these are the perfect bars to make for your festivities!

So what exactly are in these Kentucky Derby Cookie Bars??

In Kentucky, they have a traditional dessert called Derby Pie. It’s basically a nut and chocolate pie. It’s served all year long, not just on Derby Day. These bars get their inspiration from that traditional dessert…and takes it up about five notches.

First thing we change is the crust. Traditional Derby Pie is served on a classic pie crust. Not these bars, though. We use a chocolate chip cookie crust.

Next, we add in some bourbon for added flavor. During the baking process, the alcohol gets cooked out but the rich flavor of the bourbon remains. And to make it even better, we make a bourbon caramel sauce to drizzle over the top. I may not love to drink bourbon, but, man, does it taste incredible in desserts!

Finally, contrary to the classic Derby Pie, these bars have more flour in the batter to make them more cakey and thick than gooey and messy. We have enough goo coming from the chocolate chip cookie crust so I personally prefer the dense filling on top to give these bars the perfect chewy texture.

When all these ingredients come together, you get the most decadent, moist, flavorful dessert that you can imagine. Good luck sharing these!

To make sure this recipe goes just as planned, here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t chop your pecans too finely – I like the chunks of pecans in these bars so I think a rough chop is all you need.
  2. The bars may start to brown in the oven before they’ve baked through. Just add foil to the top of them to keep the browning down while the center finishes baking.
  3. When making the bourbon sauce, do not let it thicken too much over heat. Once the sauce begins to cool, it will thicken even more. Therefore, if the sauce is cooked to a thick stage, it will almost solidify when it cools.
  4. Please please try this recipe with the bourbon. The alcohol cooks out so you can still enjoy with the family (or while pregnant, like me!), but the flavor that remains is irreplaceable. I promise it will add so much to these bars.

Are you drooling over these bars yet?? I’m just about to go whip up another batch of these now. That caramel drizzle is calling my name!

Print Recipe
Kentucky Derby Cookie Bars
You haven't had derby pie like this - a chocolate chip cookie crust is topped with a Derby Pie filling made with pecans, chocolate chips, and a hint of bourbon. Oh and don't forget to top them with gooey homemade bourbon caramel sauce!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
bars
Ingredients
For the Derby Pie Filling:
  • 3/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans roughly chopped
For the bourbon caramel sauce:
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
bars
Ingredients
For the Derby Pie Filling:
  • 3/4 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans roughly chopped
For the bourbon caramel sauce:
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Instructions
For the Derby Pie filling:
  1. Clean out stand mixer bowl and dry off. Add butter and sugars and cream until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add bourbon and vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour and salt and mix until combined. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips until mixed throughout.
  2. Pour batter over the cookie dough crust and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
  3. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 45 mins-1 hour before cutting. In the meantime, make the bourbon caramel sauce.
For the bourbon caramel sauce:
  1. Whisk brown sugar and water together in a medium saucepan until combined. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until mixture begins to darken - about 5 minutes. Whisk cream, bourbon, and salt together in a measuring cup and pour into caramel mixture once it has darkened, whisking constantly.
  2. Continue to cook mixture for another 5 minutes, or until moisture has evaporated and mixture has begun to get thicker. Don't let it get too thick because it will thicken as it cools. Remove from heat and let it sit and thicken for 15 minutes.
  3. To serve the bars, cut out a square bar from the pan and drizzle with the bourbon caramel sauce. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. If you'd like, you can also pour sauce over the pan of cookie bars to let the bars soak up the sauce a little bit. Then, simply cut and serve.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest 

Pin for later:

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13 comments

  1. Would love to try this! This looks sooooo good! Yummy! This made me drool. Now, this recipe will be one of my favorites. I like all the ingredients in it. This is perfect for me. thank you.

  2. Oh holy heavens! I have pinned this for later because it looks like everything in a bite. There’s something about a good baked treat you can eat all year long

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