Derby Pie

My Family, if you’ve been reading this blog you will know, is really big on food.

We’re also really into football and hockey.

But the other biggie for us is the horses. An Italian family into betting the horses?

I know. Shocking.

Well, this weekend is the biggest event in horse racing, for those of you virtuous types who don’t follow the ponies. That’s right, folks, it’s almost Derby Day!

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the triple crown, which consists of the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont. Win all three and you win the triple crown. The races are only open to 3-year-olds so horses only have one shot at the prize.

Secretariat won the triple crown in 1973, Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. Since then, nothing. It’s been one heck of a dry spell.

You may remember the big hubbub surrounding California Chrome last year, but he just couldn’t pull out the win at the Belmont.

Anyway, I digress.

With the Kentucky Derby coming up, I’ve been thinking about a childhood favorite dessert that we used to get down the shore and that has been off the restaurant’s menu for over a decade: Derby Pie.

It was essentially a chocolate chip cookie in pie form. But there was something a little different about it. I did some testing and I figured it out. What would make it a derby pie? Well, the Derby is run in Kentucky, right? What’s big in Kentucky? That’s right. Bourbon.

Sub the vanilla for bourbon and you have yourself the makings of a delicious Derby Day dessert.

The recipe is super simple, but ridiculously delicious.

You will need:

  • 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature (1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I mixed milk and dark)
  • 1 pie crust (store bought or homemade)

Preheat the oven to 275.

Roll out your pie crust and place in your pie pan.

In a bowl stir together the butter, sugar and flour.


Add the beaten eggs and the bourbon and stir until combined.


Add in the chocolate chips and stir again.


Pour the mixture into your pie crust


And bake at 275 for about an hour and a half.


Let cool before you slice otherwise you will have melted chocolate everywhere.

Top with whipped cream or ice cream if you’re feeling extra decadent.

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You may not know which horse to put your money on, but I can tell you that you’ll want to put your money on this pie.

Fudgy peppermint brownies

I know.

Two sweet and delicious recipes in a row.

But it’s Valentine’s Day and all I want to do is bake and eat chocolate.

And spread love.

And what better way is there to spread love than with a brownie?

And not just any brownie.

Oh no. You will never be able to even look at another brownies again after having these.

I admit, ¬†I always reach for the box when a craving for brownies strikes. But, it being Valentine’s Day and all, I decided to put on my girl panties and go for it. From scratch.

And to whom did I turn when venturing into the world of real, made from scratch brownies for the first time? Pssh.

Do you even need to ask?

This recipe comes from the one and only Martha Stewart.

My little twist was to add some chopped up candy cane Hershey Kisses to the top because I love peppermint and chocolate and because I’m trying to use them up.

Necessity the mother of invention and all that jazz.

So. The recipe.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chopped up)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • chopped candy cane Hersey Kisses (optional)

This recipe is really pretty easy. I don’t know why, but I had always imagined that brownies would be harder and that the box was just so much more convenient. But really, this is a snap.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 baking pan.

fill a pot with about a one inch layer of water and set a heat-proof bowl in it. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Turn the burner to medium and add the butter and the chocolate to the bowl.


Stir the butter and chocolate until the melt, being careful not to burn,


When melted, remove from the heat and let cool.

Add in the sugar and stir until combined.


Add the eggs and vanilla, and again stir until combined.


Last, Gently fold in the flour.


Pour the mixture into the greased pan


Sprinkle with the candies (if you want to)


And pop in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

The peppermint candies will bake into the top and form a minty crust on top of the rich chocolate brownies.


Your Valentine will definitely be thine.

Rainy Day Cookies

Memorial Day Weekend!

A three-day break from work.

The unofficial start of summer.

Time for barbecues and picnics and ripe peaches and watermelon and strawberry pie.


Here in New York, it’s 53 degrees and cloudy and windy.

So my plans for a hefty slice of cold strawberry pie after a burger and coleslaw had been thwarted. (I promise to tell you how to make the strawberry pie though once the temperatures rise).

All we can think about are movies on the couch and a big bowl of popcorn.

And cookies.

Gray and cold days scream for cookies.

Trouble was, I had planned on making pie. The strawberries were washed and sitting in the fridge, ready to be baked into a slice of summer. The butter was cubed for the pie crust.

So, we improvise.

Remember my pantry staples? Yup this is why you have them.

If you have cake mix, vegetable oil and eggs, you can make cookies.


All you need are

  • 1 box cake mix (I used dark chocolate)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

This gives you a basic cookie dough. Then you can mix in whatever you want.

For super decadent chocolate gooeyness, add chocolate chips to chocolate cake mix, or peanut butter chips for a play on Reese’s cups. Vanilla cake mix plays well with chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Or coconut if you want a real taste of summer.

I think that one of the most perfect combinations, besides peanut butter and chocolate, is chocolate and hazelnuts. Nutella? One of the world’s most perfect foods.

To make the cookies, preheat oven to 350.

Combine the cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil. The mix will be really thick. It will almost resemble the Oreo crumble on dirt cups. If you never made dirt cups as a kid go talk to your mom right now about why she deprived you of such an iconic childhood treat.


When the ingredients are combined, stir in the mix in of your choice. I used about a half cup of hazelnuts, I think. I don’t really measure. I just kind of throw them in and stir and add more if I need to. I just go for no cookie being left without nuts.

Spoon out the batter onto a greased cookie sheet. You can make the cookies any size you want. A little smaller than a ping pong ball gives you two dozen cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.


Your kitchen smells like chocolate. Melted, warm chocolate.

Brew a pot of coffee or some tea.

And settle into the couch for a 3 O’clock coffee break.

(My dad has coffee and a cookie at 3 everyday. He passed the habit to me. My body knows when it’s 3 O’clock)

These cookies are like a mix between a cookie and a brownie. Cakey and fudgey, but chewy and crunchy.

The gray skies don’t seem like such a damper on the weekend anymore.