Pecan pie with chocolate chips and Kentucky bourbon: It’s a Derby thing

The Kentucky Derby is next Saturday — it’s always the first Saturday in May — and as a genuine Kentucky Colonel (I have a certificate from the governor to prove it), I feel a certain obligation to preserve and promote the rich traditions and heritage of the commonwealth of Kentucky.

So, I’m sharing my family recipe for what is generically known as chocolate pecan pie with bourbon.

It’s similar to a pie that’s sold commercially as Derby-Pie, but we can’t call it that, because Derby-Pie is a registered trademark of Kern’s Kitchen of Louisville, and they don’t like it when someone uses their trademark generically. I don’t blame them.

Whatever you call it, if you’re having a Derby party, you really should serve this.


  • 9-inch deep-dish pie crust
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, more or less (I use a more)
  • 1 cup pecan halves, more or less (I use a more)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. With a mixer, whip the butter, sugar, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy
  3. Spread the chocolate chips and pecans evenly on the bottom of the pie shell
  4. Pour the mixed ingredients into pie crust and back at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until set
  5. Let cool 30 minutes before serving (it’s good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream)

Photo by gregoirvedb via Flickr

It’s cold and dreary, a good time for homemade chocolate chip banana bread

Extra-moist chocolate chip banana bread - recipe.

I got this recipe for chocolate-chip banana bread from my daughter, Thing 1. She’s 11. She’s been making it, by herself, for a couple years now.

She uses a recipe from Betty Crocker Kids Cook. She considers it her recipe. I’m supposed to ask permission before I make it. I’m OK with that.

It’s good any time, but it’s especially good in the morning with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper. 

It disappears quickly, although no one really admits to nibbling. I usually end up having to cut a couple of slices and stashing them in a plastic container on a high shelf in the kitchen, so I can have a slice the next day.


  • 3 bananas
  • 1 stick of butter (or margarine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Spray the bottom of a 9-by-5 loaf pan with cooking spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and mash the bananas until they’re almost smooth.
  3. Melt the margarine in a saucepan.
  4. Combine the bananas, margarine, eggs, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the flour, chocolate chips, baking soda, salt and (optional) walnuts. Stir until the flour is wet then pour into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for about 5 minutes. Use a knife to loosen the bread and let it cool on a wire cooling rack.

You don’t need the same number of chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin cookies, ever

A chocolate-chip cookie.
Image via Wikipedia

I was at a converence the other day, and mid-afternoon, they brought in a tray of cookies with a long row of chocolate chip cookies and about the same number of oatmeal-raisin cookies.

When the break was over, there weren’t any chocolate chip cookies, but there were still plenty of oatmeal-raisin cookies.

This is because no one likes oatmeal-raisin cookies. OK, some people like oatmeal-raisin cookies, but, given a choice, most people would pick something else.

Cookie trays don’t lie.

You’d think meeting planners would notice this, too, but, as a group, they’re oblivious to the fact chocolate chip cookies go a lot faster than the oatmeal-raisins.

Putting an equal number of chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin cookies on a tray is like leaving the tails on shrimp when you’re putting them in a pasta dish. It’s something everyone does, but shouldn’t, because it’s stupid.

(No one’s going to grab a shrimp from the shrimp fra diavolo. They’re going to spear it with a fork, along with a twirl of noodles and sauce.)

I’m not sure how we can stop the madness, but I have an idea.

If you’re at a conference or church social or a PTA meeting, and someone brings in a cookie try with an equal number of chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin cookies, say this:


Hopefully, eventually, people will get the message.