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Kentucky Derby Bars

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with these easy and delicious Kentucky Derby Bars. Much like Derby Pie, these bars are packed with traditional elements like butter, eggs, pecans, and of course, chocolate!

Squares of Derby Bars on a White Scalloped Plate

These bars are utterly decadent, creamy and delicious. This recipe is originally from Paula Deen, who knows a thing or two about southern cuisine for sure. I’ve made a few alterations to the original, mostly in the shortbread crust.

There isn’t a year when I don’t look forward to the Ketucky Derby. I’m not sure if it’s the pomp and ceremony, Southern hospitality… or the hats.

Or just as likely, the beautiful horses, roses, and stately edifices of Churchhill Downs.

If you’re like me and adore all things Southern, you might love to read my Kentucky Derby Recipes with Southern Charm for more food ideas!

Whatever it is that drives us to the Derby, food is most definitely of top priority. Sipping a mint julep in the sunshine surrounded by beauty is dreamy and wonderful. By the way, here’s a non-alcoholic mint julep recipe you can make and serve to the whole family.

Close up view of Derby Bars on a white stand

Kentucky Derby Bars

When I think of southern cuisine, many ingredients come to mind. Pecans are one of them.

These bars are a twist on the iconic Derby Pie. They are utterly delicious and incredibly simple to make and they freeze well too.

Baked in a 13 x 9-inch pan, this recipe will make plenty of bars for Derby Day… and beyond!

Kentucky Derby Bar Ingredients

The ingredients are rather simple for these chocolate chip pecan bars. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here’s what you need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar and brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Dark corn syrup
  • Large eggs
  • Pecans
  • Chocolate Chips

Traditional Derby Pie ingredients will often include bourbon. If you want, you can add 2 tablespoons to the filling and bake as directed.

How to Make Kentucky Derby Bars

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.

Step 1: Make the Crust

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan.Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Step 2: Make the Chocolate Chip Pecan Filling

In the same large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and eggs until combined. Then fold in the pecans and chocolate chips. Pour the mixture over the partially baked crust.

Step 3: Bake the Bars

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is set. Let cool completely.

Storing the Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars

Store the bars in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature. Freeze for longer storage.

Tips for Making Derby Bars

  • Line the baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang of foil on the sides. Then spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. This helps to lift the bars out of the pan after they’ve cooled.
  • Partially prebaking the crust helps keep it crisp and solid. Bake until its lightly browning, about 15 or so minutes.
  • Bake only until the center is set. This should take between 30 and 35 minutes.
  • Once the bars have come to room temperature, I like to refrigerate the bars until they are very solid. It’s helps cut more precise bars.

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Kentucky Derby Bars with Pink Roses
Squares of Kentucky Derby Bars on a White Stand

Kentucky Derby Bars

Yield: 24 servings

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

Filling

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, letting excess extend over the sides of the pan; spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

For the Crust

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture is sandy. Transfer to the prepared pan and press the mixture firmly into the bottom. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the Filling:

  1. In the same large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and eggs until combined. Then fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.
  2. Pour the mixture over the partially baked crust.

Bake the Bars:

  1. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is set. Let cool completely. I like to chill the bars in the refrigerator (after they have cooled slightly) until firm.
  2. Using excess foil as handles, remove the bars from the pan before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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3 Comments

  1. Why double the butter from original recipe? Wouldn’t it make the crust fall apart like a shortbread cookie.

  2. Pingback: Foodie Friday // Kentucky Derby Appetizers and a New Home! – VB in the city

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