Bob’s Red Mill’s United States of Cookies: Kentucky Derby Pie Cookies

Kentucky’s cookie imitates its famous Derby Pie, with chunks of dark chocolate, crunchy chopped pecans, and a hint of bourbon.

Recipe source:

I don’t remember how I found out that I like bourbon, and the post, “Turns out I’m a bourbon girl. Who knew?” that turns up once a year in my memories on Facebook, is low on clues. I’ve since discovered that I like barrel aged stuff: wine, cider, maple syrup, other liquors. Bourbon can only be aged in new barrels,so there’s a glut of barrels that have aged bourbon and now are available to age other things.

But yes, I like bourbon (turns out I like rye too, or at least Whistlepig’s). Scotch, no. And I like pecans, and dark chocolate chunks (why do chunks seem more decadent than those demure little morsels?) And it sounds like I’d like Kentucky Derby Pie if I ever had it (it’s definitely on the “to make” list).

“Derby pie,” according to Wikipedia, was created at the Melrose Inn in Kentucky by the Kern family, who has somewhat notoriously been rabid defenders of their copyright to the point of suing big names like Bon Appetit for publishing recipes under that name. Maybe that’s why this cookie has pecans instead of the traditional walnuts? Pecans do feel more southern, though.

Look what I found this time!

Yes, I went back for the coconut sugar. The recipe also calls for “evaporated cane sugar” which would make sense if it was vegan, but it also calls for butter and eggs so that’s not it. I used regular granulated but wanted to get the coconut, especially the unrefined, which has a slight burnt caramel flavor and a nice deep golden brown color.

As for the bourbon…

Please ignore the pink Food Network branded wine stopper I’m using in it; the cork broke off of the original stopper.

My husband brought this home sometime around a gift giving holiday, because of my liking bourbon and because the bottle looks like a genie bottle. Cue Christina Aguilera. But seriously, very classy, Willett. I’m totally keeping it and making a glittery, gigantic calm jar out of it when it’s empty.

Again I made a glutinous recipe from a gluten-free one, so maybe that’s why the texture of the dough was pretty textbook normal, and the directions to “mix until crumbles form” and “incorporate with your hands” seemed unnecessary.

The directions also seemed to imply that you should form the entire bowl of batter into a ball, incorporate the chunks and nuts, and bake it. Thank God for common sense.

Aren’t they lovely?

Overall Impressions

Mmm schmelty chocolate goodness… I ate one still warm and it’s chocolate heaven. I can’t taste the bourbon. I wonder if the flavor will come out more later, or if more bourbon would enhance it. Perhaps the dark chocolate is just overpowering. I made banana muffins recently with both dark chocolate and peanut butter chips, and I could barely taste the peanut butter.

Later: Fully cool, still can’t taste evidence of bourbon (nor can my husband). Still delicious, with a soft, cake-like texture.

Next Time

Cookie bars! Bananas Foster Cookie Bars from Louisiana. More liquor (rum this time) and we get to play with fire! Which reminds me that I need a torch…

All photos by Amber Sutton

Originally published at

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