Derby Pie Bars

27 Aug

Most of the recipes in this blog will be inspired by what I’ve seen on other blogs and in cookbooks.  If you’re a beginner, it’s always best to make a recipe first as closest to as written as you can, and then to think about how you can doctor it to make it your own.  This is one of those sorts of recipes.

I love pecan pie, but I’ve never made it from scratch.  I saw this recipe for chunky pecan pie bars and decided to give it a try.  I had purchased a big bag of walnuts from BJ’s (cheaper than pecans and I’m a poor, unemployed recent college graduate), and the combination of walnuts, chocolate chips, caramel and crust reminded me of another pie I tried for the first time recently: Kentucky Derby Pie.

Now, I’m from northern Virginia.  It’s a sad, sad place where there’s no sweet tea or buttermilk ranch dressing and where people don’t put gravy on their biscuits. Maybe this pie is more popular than I realized, but I had never even heard of it until I tried a piece in Louisville, Kentucky at my boyfriend’s quad rugby nationals (necessary plug for quad rugby, which you’ve probably never heard of.  You should google it, it’s a great sport).  Anyway, out of chunky pecan pie bars and Kentucky derby pie, this recipe was born.

It all starts with a chocolate chip cookie crust. The derby pie is essentially a chocolate chip cookie on top of a pecan pie.  The way I see it, who needs boring pie crust when you can use a chocolate chip cookie instead, right? Right.

You could really use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, as long as it spreads out well and isn’t too fluffy.  I slightly modified THIS one because the cookies looked flat and delicious.  Anyway, like most baked goods, this one starts with softened butter and sugar, and preheating the oven to 350 degrees.


     Creamed together, then with one egg and one tsp vanilla extract.


Finally, salt, baking soda and flour (I blended everything together from start to finish with my hand mixer, but used a fork to stir in the last ½ cup of flour).


Ta da! All done.  The dough was pretty soft, but smelled amazing!  I used a 1 oz ice cream scoop to dole out 5 smallish scoops of batter around my 8×8 pan, then pressed it down slightly.  It looked like this:


     Into the oven!  But only for 5 minutes till it’s all melty.  My little dollops didn’t spread out quite as nicely as I’d hoped, but at this point everything was so liquidy, I just used a spoon to smooth the dough into an even layer in the pan.  Then, 2-3 T of chocolate chips!  (I know you were wondering when the chocolate would come into the picture!)


    Now back into the oven until just barely cooked through (about 10 minutes for my cookie crust).  While that finishes baking, you can make the walnut filling.  Guys, this step is so easy I didn’t even take pictures.  Just whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, molasses, sugar, butter and vanilla, then fold in the walnuts:


      Here’s a close-up. Its gonna be runny and pretty dark because of the molasses.  (It was getting stormy outside, so forgive the lighting on this one).  I should also probably mention that if this were a true derby pie, it would include some Kentucky bourbon.  I didn’t have any, but if you wanted to add some, you could probably throw a few tablespoons into the filling at this step.

Now the magic happens.  Take your cookie crust from the oven.


You could totally just eat that cookie as is, but resist!  The complete pie/bar is worth it.  Pour the filling on top and spread out the walnuts.  I still had some cookie dough left, and since it was so soft, I put it in a plastic bag, cut off the tip, and piped it right on top.  Then I sprinkled another tablespoon or so of chocolate chips on top of it all.


Genius, right?  Yes.  Yes it is.  Then back into the oven until it’s all set up.  I pulled it out at 25 minutes and it was PERFECT.


Chocolate chip cookie crust with gooey caramel, crunchy walnut filling and chewy chocolate chip cookie topping?  You really can’t screw this one up.  These bars are probably the best piece of baking I’ve made yet, and the perfect combination of all my favorite desserts.  They’re also the first dessert that I’d say is my recipe (spliced together from two recipes with sizable adaptations…that counts, right?)


Derby Pie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

1 stick softened butter

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

1 cup flour

2-3 T semisweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350, grease an 8×8 baking dish
  • Cream butter and sugars together with hand mixer until well combined
  • Add vanilla extract and egg, and continue to blend until well combined and liquidy
  • Sprinkly in salt, baking powder, and ½ cup flour and continue to mix until just combined
  • Gently stir in (by hand) the last ½ cup of flour until just combined.  Dough will be quite soft.
  • Take five dollops of dough, about 2-3 tablespoons each in size, and distribute evenly around the greased baking dish (reserve the rest of the batter for later), and bake 5 minutes until the dough is melty
  • Spread the melty dough more evenly around the dish, and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly
  • Continue to bake crust 10-15 minutes until it looks like a just barely done cookie (it should not be brown on top, or doughy in the middle)
  • Meanwhile, mix together filling

Derby Pie Filling

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/8 cup corn syrup

1/8 cup molasses

½ cup sugar

1 T melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

Remaining cookie dough

1-2 T chocolate chips

  • Whisk all ingredients (but walnuts) together until well combined, then stir in the walnuts
  • Pour filling on top of the baked chocolate chip cookie crust
  • Put remaining cookie dough batter into a plastic bag, cut off the tip, then pipe on top of the filling; sprinkle chocolate chips on top
  • Bake 20-30 minutes, still at 350 (mine was perfect at 25), until filling is set-up

Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.  Store in airtight container or in the refrigerator.


One Response to “Derby Pie Bars”


  1. I survived!…and Sweet Potato Ravioli « Halite and Pepper - August 29, 2012

    […] all roasted!  The let sit until cool enough to handle (If you’re like me, you’ll make derby pie bars while you wait).  Then make the filling.  This part is […]

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