Derby Pie Bars


Anna Thomas Bates does it again (and shares it with all of us, thankfully.) My grandma recently sent me a clipping of several recipes Ms. Bates contributed to the food section of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in honor of the Kentucky Derby.

If you’re not familiar with my blog or the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ms. Bates is columnist and special contributor at the JournalSentinel and has her own website. And I happen to love all her recipes. In this recipe, Ms. Bates takes a stab at turning a classic pie into a bar by pouring the pie filling over a shortbread crust. I’ve never had Derby Pie, or even a knock-off, but this bar recipe definitely inspired me to either try making it or buy it.


shortbread crust ingredients.

  • 1 c. packed brown sugar (I may have used a bit more than a cup – I’m not into measuring carefully)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (again, I may have used more here)
  • 2 ¼ c. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt

filling ingredients.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ c. flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. toasted, chopped walnuts (spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes)
  • 2 T. bourbon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan (I usually use glass dishes for baking bars – this is something I got from my mom).
  2. In a large bowl, cream brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla. Add flour and salt and stir until well-combined. Press dough into bottom of baking pan. Prick all over with a fork.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, until beginning to brown. The top of the crust will look slightly wet. Remove from the oven but leave oven on.
  4. While crust is baking, mix filling in a large bowl. Beat eggs and sugar, stir in flour, baking powder, salt, cooled butter and vanilla.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and bourbon. Pour filling over cooked crust. Return to oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and puffy. (I always err on the side of undercooking.) Let cool, then slice into squares.


Recipe rating: 

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