Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies taste just like a slice of the pie the Kentucky Derby made famous!  

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies! (via

My travels are very food-centric, as you probably know by now if you’ve seen my personal Instagram. I like to try all the local, culinary specialties wherever I go. When I was in college, just barely 21, I attended a conference in Louisville, Ky., the home of the annual Kentucky Derby horse race. (Which is this weekend!)

It was the kind of magical trip that taste buds never forget. It was on this trip that I drank my first ever mint julep (in a dainty silver julep cup!) and ate a slice of that oh-so-decadent chocolate pecan pie known as ‘Derby Pie.’ My friends and I also hit up a few of the locales on the Bourbon Trail. (My food and drink interests have clearly not changed very much since I turned 21.) The only thing I regret is not purchasing a very fancy hat.

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies! (via

Every year when the Kentucky Derby rolls around, I dream about that pretty julep and that slice of pie. I haven’t tried my hand at recreating the pie yet, but I decided to make it in cookie form for this year’s Derby. Enter these Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’ve got silky brown butter in the batter, chunky walnuts (or pecans), chocolate chips and real bourbon in the mix. I also sprinkled demerara sugar on top. Y’all, I swear these are Triple Crown-worthy.

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies! (via

It’s important to note that there is some controversy around the chocolate pecan pie after which I modeled these cookies. According to this piece from NPR’s The Salt, the name ‘Derby Pie’ is trademarked, so the super-long name Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies will have to do! The traditional recipe for this famous pie calls for walnuts, but pecans are more frequently used. I used walnuts here because that’s what I had on hand, but you can do whatever you want! Fancy hat optional. // susannah 

P.S. What else can you make for your Kentucky Derby party? I have some other recipes in the archives. Try my Basil Julep, or Strawberry Mint Julep to go with your pie cookies! And if you’re celebrating the other two Triple Crown races with cocktails, try a Belmont Jewel and a Black-Eyed Susan.

Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies! (via
Celebrate the Kentucky Derby with Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies! (via

Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 56 minutes
These Brown Butter Bourbon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies are soft in texture with fragrant brown butter, a splash of Kentucky bourbon and crunchy nuts.
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 cup butter 2 sticks, softened
  • 2 ¼ cups unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ¼ cup demerara sugar


  • In a medium skillet, melt ½ cup of the butter (1 8-tbsp stick) on medium heat while stirring frequently. The butter will crackle and bubble as it cooks. The butter will start to smell nutty and brown 'crumbs' will form in the bottom. Continue to stir until the crumbs are medium brown in color (after about 2 ½ to 3 minutes). Remove the skillet from the burner and pour the brown butter into a heat-proof bowl, crumbs and all. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • With a mixer, beat the remaining ½ cup of the butter (1 8-tbsp stick) with the sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth, creamy and light in color.
  • Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl and beat for 2 minutes, until smooth.
  • One at a time, beat in the eggs, vanilla and bourbon.
  • Gradually stir in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Onto the prepared baking sheet, drop tablespoons of the dough 2-3 inches apart. Sprinkle each one with a pinch of demerara sugar.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire baking rack to cool, or serve warm.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.


You can make the brown butter in advance. Store it in the fridge and bring to room temperature when ready to use.

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nutrition information

Yield: 2 dozen

amount per serving:

Serving: 1oz Calories: 225kcal Carbohydrates: 28g Protein: 2g Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 6g Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 36mg Sodium: 166mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 18g
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!

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  1. Amanda | The Chunky Chef says

    Just one look at these ingredients, and I know they’ll make one amazing cookie!!!

  2. Cookin Canuck says

    Exploring new restaurants, bakeries and regional dishes is definitely one of the joys of traveling! It looks as though you captured the flavors of Derby Pie perfectly in these cookies.

  3. Lauren @ Hall Nesting says

    We always my plan my son’s bday parties around the derby so the adults can have fun later on haha. These cookies need to be at the party this wkend!!

  4. grace says

    brown butter is a game-changer in chocolate chip cookies (and many other things, too!). i think these look perfect!

  5. Melanie | Melanie Makes says

    I’d totally be down with stuffing my cookie jar with these delicious bites!

  6. Kathryn @ Family Food on the Table says

    You know I love me some bourbon any which way I can get it – but in cookie form?! Swoon! These sound outstanding! Yummed and pinned!

  7. Kristen Chidsey says

    Susannah–girl, bourbon in a cookie?! AMAZING!!! And my husband thanks you! It was awesome meeting you at Evoke!!

  8. TINA GLENN Walker says

    I think the recipe has a type-0. One cup of butter is 8 ounces (1 stick is 4 ounces so 2 sticks would be 8 ounces) But in parenthesis the recipe has (2 8-ounce sticks) which amounts to 2 cups of butter. This is what we did and the cookies were a hot mess. They tasted good but they spread all over the place and no amount of leaving the cookie dough in the fridge or adding flour made a difference. I would make these again if we can get the recipe sorted out.

    • susannah says

      Thanks for pointing this out, Tina! The recipe has been updated to reflect that you need one cup of butter total, or two 8-tablespoon sticks. Hope you give it another try!

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