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:
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches – In my defense, I give you a cookie recipe here, but it just so happens to also use those cookies as the sandwich for ice cream
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites with Fudge Frosting – Also a legitimate cookie recipe, but baked in a square form to make into little bites
- Blueberry Muffin Tops – Okay, now this one is probably the biggest stretch. These muffin tops are made with cookie dough to keep them from spreading, but they’re more muffin-y than cookie-y.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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