Kentucky Derby Bars

Happy Thursday readers!

This week has been a whirlwind, and I am counting down the days until Sunday when I can relax!

Between trying to get back in the groove from my Charleston trip, planning to take a Cinco de Mayo themed dinner to friends who just had a baby tonight, and being in my cousin's wedding (plus providing bridesmaids' brunch the morning of) this weekend, my head feels like it's going to spin off!

Thanks to all the wonderful comments, emails, and texts responding to my "Defining My Niche" post on Tuesday. It seems that wholeheartedly for many of us, lifestyle is a niche...and, it's what we love most in the blog world.

Can y'all believe that we are already nearly a week into May? Not to mention, Kentucky Derby weekend is here!

We will not be watching this year, as my cousin's wedding will be filling that time, but last year we attended a Kentucky Derby party hosted by one of my book club friends and her husband.

I took Kentucky Derby Bars with me and they were a huge hit. While they did not photograph well, trust me they were good! I am excited to be sharing the recipe with you today!

Kentucky Derby Bars (Recipe credit here)
Serves 18-20

For the cookie crust:
2.5 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp water
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 C chocolate chips

For the filling:
1.5 sticks (12 tbs) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
3 eggs
3/4 C all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbs bourbon
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 C chocolate chips
1 C whole pecans

For the bourbon sauce:
1/4 C water
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C heavy cream
2 tbs bourbon
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9x13" baking dish.

To make the cookie crust, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add water and beat to combine.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread evenly into greased baking dish and bake 10-12 minutes.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, flour, salt, and bourbon and continue to mix until well combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Pour batter over the cookie crust.

Bake until filling is set and the top is light golden brown, about 45 minutes. (If top starts to get brown, cover it with foil.)

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

While the bars cool, make the bourbon sauce. (I had to make Bryce do this step, because bourbon makes me gag!) Whisk together the heavy cream, bourbon, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it begins to boil, watch closely and whisk until the mixture starts to smell like caramel and turn a golden color, and then to a light brown (approximately 5-6 minutes).

When you see that it has started to turn brown, slowly pour in the heavy cream mixture, whisking constantly and quickly.

Continue to heat over medium-high until mixture has thickened and is a light caramel color (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

Cut the bars and drizzle bourbon sauce.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


Do you have Derby plans?

What is your favorite Kentucky fare?

Have a great day!