It’s Derby Week! Yes, the Kentucky Derby is one of the fastest sporting events, clocking in at around two minutes, but it’s oh so much fun, even if you simply watch on TV with a few friends. If you
do decide to host a viewing party, be sure to include mint juleps (see our recipe for the hands down best way to pump up the mint flavor), and Hot Browns, (a turkey sandwich fancied up with mouthwatering Mornay sauce and then topped with tomatoes, bacon and Pecorino Romano cheese). The traditional sweet finish is Bourbon Pecan Pie but if you want the same flavors in an easier to eat form, try these Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars. The shortbread cookie crust is a great base for the bourbon-laced filling.
Can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby? Don’t fret. You can take a variety of different tours of Churchill Downs after the crowds disperse.
Chocolate Chip, Bourbon Pecan Bars
For Cookie Crust:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
For cookie crust: In the bowl of food processer, add flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter pieces and process until dough forms. Press into bottom of a greased 8X8 pan, being sure to add about a quarter of an inch around the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or just until cookie crust begins to brown. Remove and let stand.
For filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add butter and brown sugar. Mix until creamed. Add eggs and bourbon, mix until incorporated. Add flour, chocolate chips and pecans. Mix until just incorporated. Pour filling on top of cookie crust and smooth to the edges. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until filling is firm and top is light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.
We will not say one discouraging word against the Cowboy Cookie. A variation on the tried-and-true chocolate chip, this cookie is satisfyingly crisp on the outside and chewy in the center. The origin
of the name is as fuzzy as spring duckling. Some say it has something to do with the addition of coconut, oats and pecans, which help keep a cowboy fortified in the saddle. Sounds mighty sensible to us. The StateEats kids gobbled these up before we could utter “giddyup.”
If you’ve never seen it, the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is a wonder to behold. It is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and is known for its striking rainbow hues.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, cream the shortening and two types of sugar on medium speed until thick and creamy. Add eggs, and vanilla. Add flour mixture. Stir by hand until well combined. Then add oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts if using. Stir by hand until well combined. Drop walnut size dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove to wire rack to cool. Transfer to an airtight container.
It is any surprise that February is National Chocolate Lovers Month? With Valentine’s Day this weekend, we decided we absolutely had to go all chocolate with this Mississippi Mud Pie. This Southern
indulgence gets its name because it supposedly looks like the thick mud that lines the Mississippi River. Lots of variations of this pie exist, some with a regular graham cracker crust, some with marshmallows, and some even with ice cream. We went with a more traditional version and oh my, we were left swooning in chocolate heaven.
If you are planning a trip to the Magnolia State, check out the Mississippi Blues Trail. This travel planning site includes information about historic sites, museums, upcoming concerts and more.
Mississippi Mud Pie
- 1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup pecans
- 1 ½ sticks butter
- 1 ¾ cups brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 teaspoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in microwave
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon chocolate extract
- 1 teaspoon Kahlua liqueur (optional, if omitted add another teaspoon of chocolate extract)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar
- Chocolate shavings (optional)
- 3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted and cooled (optional)
Pulse sleeve of graham crackers and pecans in food processor until fine crumbs are formed. Transfer mixture into a bowl. Add melted butter and sugar. Mix well. Press mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.
In the meantime, mix butter and brown sugar together in mixer on medium speed until mixture is creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add melted chocolate chips, cocoa, heavy cream, chocolate extract, and Kalua and beat until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour the filling in the pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool on counter and then transfer to fridge.
Add heavy cream into a mixing bowl and beat on medium to high speed. Just before soft peaks begin to form, add the sugar to taste. Beat a few more minutes until soft peaks form. Add whipped cream to cooled pie, then top with chocolate shavings and pecans.
If you grew up in or near Baltimore, you are well-familiar with the Berger cookie. A cousin to New York’s black and white cookie, this confection is a soft vanilla cookie heaped with chocolate frosting. And we do mean heaped. In fact, some would say the cookie is just a vehicle to deliver more frosting.
Berger Cookies began in the mid-1800 when Henry Berger emigrated from Germany and shortly thereafter opened his eponymous bakery in East Baltimore. The recipe has only changed slightly since that time and today Berger Cookies employees hand dip 36,000 cookies per day.
These cookies are very easy to recreate at home. We slightly adapted the King Arthur Flour recipe. The StateEats kids killed a half gallon of milk gobbling these up.
If a visit to Charm City is in your future, check out Fort McHenry National Monument, widely regarded as the birthplace of the “Star Spangled Banner. ” You can visit all summer and listen to ranger talks on artillery and the flag, participate in children’s activities, hear fife and drum concerts and more.
For the cookies:
- 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup milk
For the frosting:
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar sifted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the cookies: Cream butter and sugar together using a mixer set to medium speed. Add salt, vanilla, egg and baking powder. Beat one minute. Gently add in flour alternating with milk until thoroughly blended.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop spoonfuls of dough, about 1 ¼ inches in diameter, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Flatten cookies with palm of hand or bottom of a glass coated with cooking spray. Bake cookies at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown. Do not overcook. Let cool on pans.
For the frosting: Place the chocolate chips, corny syrup, vanilla and cream in a large bowl. Microwave in short bursts about 90 seconds, stirring in between, until chocolate begins to melt and the cream bubbles. Stir until chocolate mixture becomes smooth. Add in the confectioners sugar, mix until incorporated. Let cool to room temperature.
Spread frosting on top of the cookies. If frosting slides off the cookies, allow it to set a bit longer.
Time to bust out your fancy hats, snappy suits and dresses, it’s Kentucky Derby season! Folks in Louisville (say it right, “Lew-a-vul”) have some menu favorites that will be part of the festivities – among them, mint juleps, Hot Browns (hot turkey club sandwiches with Mornay sauce), rolled oysters, and those little fancy cucumber sandwiches that are cut oh-so elegantly. The sweet finale often is a chocolate chip pecan pie flavored with a bit of Kentucky bourbon.
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