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–+ servings

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 Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 15 bars


For the chocolate chip cookie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

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


For the chocolate chip cookie crust:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13x9 baking dish. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a bowl fitted for a stand mixer, add butter and sugars and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and water and mix until combined. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Slowly add flour to mixture and beat until combined. Add chocolate chips and fold in until mixed throughout.
  • Spread cookie dough into greased baking dish. You may have to work it in with your hands so that the layer is even. Set aside while we make the filling.

For the Derby Pie filling:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 adapted from Half Baked Harvest