You can take the girl out of Kentucky but you can’t take the Kentucky out of the girl.
I was born in Lexington, Kentucky and spent the first few years of my life in a small town about an hour away. Over the years that followed, I regularly visited family across the state, and it was there that my love affair with Southern culture began. While my short stint in Danville hardly qualifies me to claim Kentucky as my home sweet home, I have enough roots situated beneath that bluegrass to know that good things happen in the land of bourbon and basketball. Those rolling hills have always felt a little like home, so it pleases me to no end to share today’s recipe with you all.
In just a few weeks, Southerners, socialites, and gamblers alike will join to participate in the Kentucky Derby, and you had better believe I wish I was one of them. While I’ve never been to the Derby, it’s my absolute favorite sporting event to celebrate, and if you’ve not done so before, I’d challenge you to giddy-up. In preparation for last year’s races, I gave you derby pie bars, a gooey, nutty shortbread bar filled with booze and chocolate. As a sequel to those decadent treats, you’re getting more of those same elements wrapped up in the ridiculous-delicious package of derby pie cookies.
These derby pie cookies are extra: extra chocolatey, extract chewy, extra boozy. They’re loaded with Derby Pie flavor but without all of the time and hassle that is required to make and bake a pie. In under thirty minutes, you can have buttery, caramel and bourbon-flavored cookies that are chock-full of nuts and dripping with morsels of chocolate. Whether or not you watch the Derby, you need these.
To make derby pie cookies, we start by melting butter. Two sticks of liquid gold are combined with brown and white sugar, bourbon, and vanilla. Eggs come next and are stirred in before the dry ingredients are added. The crescendo of these cookies are the hunks of dark chocolate and chopped nuts that are added to the batter. Once integrated, oversized dough balls are rolled onto a baking sheet and placed in the oven until the tops of the cookies have begun to crack and the edges are bronzed.
I like to finish these derby pie cookies with an extra sprinkling of salt and pecans, but you can skip this step if you’d prefer. You can also substitute some or all of the pecans for walnuts if desired, although I like them with toasty pecans the best. A key ingredient to these derby pie cookies is the bourbon. Be sure to choose a quality variety that will lend a sweet, caramel flavor to the dough. (Shameless plug: Blanton’s is the favorite in our house, but Basil Hayden’s, Woodford Reserve, and Eagle Rare make regular appearances as well.) If two tablespoons of bourbon isn’t enough for you, feel free to add a third. No judgment here.
Get on your marks, get set, and GO bake these derby pie cookies ASAP. The races are just around the corner and these treats are begging to be made. Happy Friday and happy baking to you all!
If you like these derby pie cookies you should try:
Derby Pie Cookie
These derby pie cookies are loaded with dark chocolate chunks, toasted pecans, and bourbon. Make these Kentucky-inspired treats for derby day!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 16 1x
- ¾ cup (170 gm) unsalted butter, chopped
- 1–1/4 cup (250 gm) light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup( 50 gm) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2–3 tablespoons good quality bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2–1/4 cups (300 gm) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
- ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
- 4 ounces (about one cup) coarsely chopped dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, melted the butter over medium low heat just until melted. Do not allow to sizzle, boil, or bubble. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour the butter into a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar and sugar. Whisk to incorporate before adding the egg, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, powder, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Once incorporated, fold in the pecans and chocolate. If the mixture looks greasy and soft, place the dough into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. Otherwise proceed to the next step.
- Use a large cookie scoop (about 3 tablespoons of dough) to scoop rounds of dough onto the baking sheet. You can smooth your dough by quickly rolling it in your hands. Place the dough rounds 2 inches apart on your baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the top of the cookies have barely begun to crack and the centers no longer look wet. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired, and enjoy!
- For large pools of chocolate on top of the cookies, include a few large chocolate chunks on top of the dough balls.
- If your cookies spread too much refrigerate the dough balls for several minutes prior to baking.