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Kentucky Derby Bars

Derby Dining

It is a gorgeous late-April Tuesday here in the mid-south.  The weather is warm, the sun is bright and the azaleas are in bloom.  So what’s on the mind of this Kentucky native? What I’ll be eating this Derby Day, of course!

With the Kentucky Derby less than a week away it’s time to make plans.  When I’m not looking up photos of inspired Derby Hats, I’m looking through my recipes.  While I treasure the tradition of Derby Pie I have been giving some thought to portion control.

Spreading the Wealth

Cut into a Derby Pie as if it were any other, divide it into the expected six or eight wedges, and you may need to monitor those who indulge for signs of Sugar Shock! While it is a delicious pie it is very rich and a challenge to fully enjoy in large doses.  Instead, wouldn’t it be nice to bake the same great taste into a shape that is easier to share in smaller, but equally delicious, portions?

This recipe for Derby Bars call for the same secret ingredients as Aunt Hen's Brownie Pie (with the addition of bourbon, if you like), but transforms them into a bar cookie that spreads the nut-studded chocolate-y wealth of a dessert for eight into thirty or so delicious four-bite portions. They are the perfect size for sharing with friends at a Derby Party buffet or for snacking on anytime.

Derby Bars

½ cup butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (usually walnuts or pecans)
2 Tablespoons bourbon (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.


Roll dough for a one-crust pie shell into a rectangle and use it to line the bottom of a small jelly-roll pan, approximately 9" x 13".

Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. 

Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the filling. 


Melt butter until soft.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in flour, then chocolate chips and nuts.

Finally, stir in the bourbon, if desired.

Spoon the mixture onto the prepared crust, spreading it evenly to cover.

Bake at 375F for 20 – 25 minutes, or until set and golden.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. 

When cool, cut into 1½ - 2 inch squares.

Makes approximately 3 dozen bars.



Gypmar said...

Yum! Love the idea of making them into bars.

grace said...

i have a recipe for derby bars that consists of essentially the same ingredients but yields much different results. both are fantastic though!