Monday, April 28, 2014

Gettin' Down and Derby

It’s time to dust off my Derby glass collection, pick up a couple of bottles of bourbon, and tie a new bow on my hat because Kentucky Derby week is here! 

Derby Party
In Louisville the celebration begins early in the week with parties and festivals, all leading up to that one very special race on the first Saturday in May.   

Kentucky Derby Pie bars
My love affair with everything Derby began while living in Kentucky during my high school and college years.  Although folks in the Midwest don’t celebrate The Derby with quite the same exuberance (there are some diehards here though), I’ve managed to stay true to my Kentucky past and start my own traditions. 

One tradition is “the making of the Derby Pies,” (translation:  chocolate bourbon pecan pies).  As if pecan pie could be any more sinful, down south we felt the need to add chocolate and bourbon. 

Traditional Derby Pies
This year, I am revising my tradition a bit and am making Derby Pie cookie bars instead.  All of the principle ingredients remain – bourbon, chocolate, pecans and brown sugar, only now it’s a finger food that’s much easier to eat while juggling your tip sheet and Mint Julep. 

The official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby

And with that....I'm off to the races.  Happy Derby Day!   

Derby Pie Bars
For the cookie base:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the topping:
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3 Tbsp. bourbon
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet morsels

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment paper, and butter the paper and sides of pan. 

Cream together butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Stir in egg yolk and vanilla.  Sift together flour and salt and stir into butter mixture.   Press dough into prepared pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cookie base is lightly golden.  Let cool for 10 minutes before topping.

Whisk together eggs, brown sugar and bourbon.  Whisk in flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir in pecans and semi-sweet morsels.  Spread topping evenly over the cookie base.  Bake for 20 minutes, until topping is deep golden brown.  Cool before cutting into bars. 




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