Let’s sneak another Derby recipe in just under the wire.
I’m almost certain that I’ve never had an “official Derby Pie” (a.k.a. one baked by Kern’s Kitchen, which has the name trademarked). Back home, we always made our own Derby Pie (or, unofficial-Derby-Pie) to celebrate the great horse race, but we’re technically not allowed to call anything we make “Derby Pie” (you can read all about that lawsuit fun here). And sometimes, we wild and crazy Kentuckians would have this pie at times other than the Derby. I specifically remember a time my mom made it on a summer weekend when we were hosting a yard sale. It was super hot, and I was eating this rich, chocolate, melty mess of pie in the sweltering sunshine, which left me feeling less than superb. I’m pretty sure I avoided the pie for several years afterward.
When folks around Kentucky make unofficial-Derby-Pie, they generally throw in a few tablespoons of bourbon, which I was surprised to discover is not actually used in official Derby Pie.
But we’re taking the power to the people today and making not-Derby-Pie cookies, and we’re adding bourbon. You’re welcome.
For my cookie recipe base, I used Ashley Rodriguez’s salted chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is literally the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had. I got her cookbook, Date Night In, (<–affiliate link) for my birthday last month, and I am completely obsessed with it. I’ll have to share her recipe sometime soon, but for now, you should probably just go buy her book and spend the next month in the kitchen with it.
This recipe calls for the basics of unofficial-Derby-Pie: butter, chocolate, walnuts, and bourbon. We’re using dark chocolate bars, which I cut into chunks for maximum melty chocolate goodness, just like in an unofficial-Derby-Pie. I didn’t have quite enough chocolate this morning, so I went on a literal chocolate run, sprinting the 6 blocks to Trader Joe’s to buy a few chocolate bars, and then sprinting back home. I tell you what, if you want to look like a criminal, break into a full sprint with a handful of chocolate bars as soon as you step outside the store. For anyone who saw me this morning, I promise I paid for the chocolate. To add to my embarrassment, I was unlocking the door to our apartment (sweaty, smelly, and wearing the shirt I slept in), when one of our neighbors walked by in a suit, and asked if I went for a jog. I swallowed my pride and admitted, “I jogged for chocolate,” and held up the 3 chocolate bars for proof. Shame.
The good news is, the chocolate run was worth it. These cookies actually taste like unofficial-Derby-Pie. Rich, chocolatey, walnuty, and bourbony. For those of you frightened by the 1/4-cup of bourbon, please don’t fear. It just adds a hint of flavor. Nothing too strong. And you’ll finish the cookies with a sprinkle of flake sea salt. I bought a bag of Jacobsen Sea Salt (<–affiliate link) a few months ago, and it is the best sea salt I’ve ever used. It’s a little spendy, but a small amount of salt goes a long way, as the big flakes add a big punch of flavor. And since sweet and salty is the perfect combination, it’s a great way to top these bad boys.
And I wouldn’t mind if you served these cookies with a Kentucky Mint Bourbonale. Just sayin’.
If you’re looking for more bourbon-tastic recipes, check out these other delights:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into roughly ½-inch chunks with a serrated knife
- ¾ cup walnut pieces
- flake sea salt, for finishing (I used Jacobsen's)
- Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat liner.
- In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until well-combined. Add the egg and bourbon. Mix well to combine.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the sugar mixture and mix to combine.
- Stir in the chocolate and walnuts.
- Scoop the dough onto the baking sheet and sprinkle cookies with a pinch of flake sea salt.
- Bake 10-12 minutes (11 was perfect for me). Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.