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Derby Pie Bars made with a bourbon caramel and a buttery shortbread crust! Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with these easy to dessert!
So growing up on a farm, and riding horses pretty much my whole life until I went to college means I love watching the Kentucky Derby.
So it makes sense then that eventually a dessert to celebrate the race would eventually make its way onto this blog.
And if you know me, you know I love my desserts that come together in 30 minutes or less. Especially a bar dessert recipe. So enter these Derby Pie bars.
Now I just can’t wait for the Kentucky Derby this weekend to enjoy these bars and maybe a mint julep on the side 😉 Who’s with me?
Why These Bars Are The BEST
- Like A Pie But Easier. These are everything would love about a Derby Pie but in bar form. Which means it’s easier to make!
- Make Ahead. I love a bar recipe for dessert because I can make it ahead of time and have it ready to serve or bring with me to a get together.
What Is A Derby Pie?
What is a real derby pie even? A real derby pie is kind of a riff on a pecan pie- with a sticky caramel like filling but made with chocolate and walnuts. And get this- no bourbon. Huh, I always thought there was bourbon in it.
Well my bars do, because why not? Bourbon, and caramel, and chocolate, and walnut all sitting on top of a buttery shortbread crust. Like I said friends, crazy good.
How To Make These Bars
So let’s talk about how to make these bars shall we?
- Making The Crust: This crust starts with a easy shortbread crust that can three different ways. You could make these in your stand mixer, food processor, or by hand with a pastry cutter if you need to fit in an arm workout. I made mine with my stand mixer but the other two options would work too. You will bake this crust first on its own, then add your filling to bake it again.
- Making The Caramel: This caramel sauce starts by adding your brown sugar and butter on a stove until melted. Add your condensed milk, vanilla, and bourbon and bring to a boil. The sauce gets cooked until it reaches 225°F, but just be sure to stir, stir, stir while this is cooking otherwise it may burn on the bottom! Allow it to cool before adding to the filling.
- Toasting Walnuts: For toasting, simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes in a 350°F oven, stirring occasionally. You want the nuts to be a shade darker, but be sure to take them out on time so they don’t burn!
- Making the filling: Allow your caramel to cool before adding to the mixing bowl for your filling. Once its cooled, combine the flour, eggs, and Now that you have your caramel sauce, let that cool while you prepare the rest of your filling. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and flour, and caramel. Stir in your (cooled chopped walnuts) and chocolate chips. If the caramel and nuts aren’t cool before you add them to the bowl you run the risk of cooking your eggs, and melting your chocolate chips. Now you are ready to go to pour the filling over the partially baked shortbread crust and bake for an additional 30 minutes in your preheated oven.
Yes you definitely can. I like to store mine at room temperature covered for 2-3 days. Or you can store in the fridge for up to a week, but you may want to let them soften a bit before serving.
Absolutely! These would freeze great. Just wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months.
100% yes you can.
More Bar Dessert Recipes To Try
For the Crust
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup (107 g) packed light brown sugar
- 6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter
- 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 Tablespoons dark or light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extracte
- 2 Tablespoons Bourbon optional
- 1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 3/4 cup (90 g) all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups (256 g) whole walnuts toasted and chopped
- 2 cups (340 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Prepare oven and pans. Preheat your oven to 375F and prepare a 13×9 pan with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
- Make the crust. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the flour sugar and salt. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Press into the 13×9 pan. Bake at 375F for 14-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 350F.
- Make the caramel. In a medium saucepan, add the brown sugar and butter. Stir and cook over medium heat until melted. Add the milk, corn syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. Bring to a boil and stir continuously. Insert a candy thermometer, and continue to cook until the thermometer reaches 225F. Remove the heat and allow to cool before adding to the rest of the filling.
- Make the filling. Once the caramel has cooled to room temperature add your flour and eggs and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Bake the bars. Spread into the prepared 13×9 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 350F oven until the top is golden brown and set. Cool completely before cutting into bars and enjoying!
- Make ahead/storage: I prefer to store these covered on the counter for 2-3 days, or you can store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Allow to soften again before serving.
- Freezing: Wrap well and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
- Bourbon: The bourbon is completely optional in this recipe and can be left out if you so choose.