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Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, for those times when you just can’t decide between a chocolate chip cookie and a slice of pecan pie. Sweet, doughy, and buttery, filled with chocolate chips, and swirled with nutty chocolate chip pecan pie. A cookie and a pie in one, truly the best of both worlds. Serve these bars up tomorrow for the Kentucky Derby…and every other weekend after. Every last crumb is delicious!

overhead photo of Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Taking us back to retro HBH today with a recipe that dates all the way back to the very first year of Half Baked Harvest. Honestly, I was not planning on sharing this recipe today. But when I realized that the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, something inside me flipped a switch. I remembered these cookie pie bars from way back when. I reasoned with myself that the post I had planned to share could easily be saved for next week. And that today was good day for something over the top, extra delicious, and very fitting for the Derby tomorrow.

To be upfront, I’ve never actually watched the Kentucky Derby. But I’m all about celebrating it through some good southern inspired food. In year’s past I’ve made oven fried southern hot honey chicken (a tried-n-true reader favorite) and my Nonnie’s pecan pie (my family’s personal favorite). But this year I got so caught up in Cinco de Mayo recipes that I kind of forgot about the Derby.

side angled of Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars stacked on top of each other

That is until I remembered these cookie pie bars. The perfect chocolate filled recipe to share today. Yes, they’re decadent, and yes, they might be a little more over the top than the recipes I usually share. But hey, every once in a while it’s fun to switch things up…live a little.

When I originally shared this recipe, it had a lot more ingredients. To be super honest, the recipe didn’t actually work all that well. So I was excited to revisit these bars and work out their kinks. I can now say they are so simple, so delicious, and pretty close to perfect.

Plus, they look much more delicious now too. It’s crazy to see how far my photography skills have come since that first year of 2012/2013. It’s also crazy that I’ve now been writing, cooking, photographing, and working on HBH for 6 1/2 years. And we have SO much coming up in the next few months, I cannot wait to share it all with you. Kind of loving seeing all the progress over the years. Makes me feel extra grateful. To all you long time readers (and newer readers too), thanks so much for sticking it out with me!

overhead close up photo Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

OK, now let me break these bars down for you layer by layer.

Layer one: chocolate chip cookie bars. This is your favorite cookie, but in bar form. For the “crust” or bottom layer of the bars, I press my go-to, base cookie recipe, into a baking dish.

Layer two: chocolate chip (bourbon) pecan pie. I used my Nonnie’s recipe for this layer, which is foolproof and so good. I like to sweeten it with real maple syrup so that bars don’t become overly sweet. Once you’ve mixed the ingredients together, spoon the pecan layer over the cookie layer and bake them both together. As the cookie layer finishes baking it rises up over the pecan layer, creating an almost swirled like cookie bar with chocolate chips and pecans bursting up on top.

side angled photo of Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars stacked on top of each other

My one tip here is to really allow time for the bars too cool before you cut into them. I know it will be SO tempting to cut into the warm bars, but they need time to cool in order to properly set up. These bars are incredibly fudgy and gooey, so cutting into them warm is just a bit too messy. Let em cool off and they’ll be perfect.

The bottom of the bars are doughy and soft. While the middle is very gooey and more pecan pie like. The top has more of a caramelized “crunch” to it from the nuts and the sugar browning in the oven.

Like I said, every last crumb is so delicious.

Chocolatey? For sure? Filled with gooey pecan pie deliciousness? 100%.

Thank God it’s FRIDAY. Friday can be decadent, enjoy it, and bake up some cookie bars for Derby Day tomorrow.

PS. scroll past the recipe and you’ll find the very original photo of this recipe. For all your aspiring food photographers out there, this goes to show you that over time, you will improve!  That said, I cringe looking at that photo, so it’s kind of crazy that I had the courage to include it in this post.

side angled photo of Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

If you make these Kentucky Derby pie bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 24 (24 bars)
Calories Per Serving: 242 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer

Pecan Pie Layer


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 
    2. Make the cookie layer In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, beat until combined. Stir in the the chocolate chips. Spread the dough out into the prepared dish in an even layer. 
    3. Make the pecan layer. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the maple syrup, bourbon, if using, and salt. Mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
    4. Carefully pour the pecan mix over the cookie layer. It's OK if not everything is covered. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. It's OK if the center is a little jiggly. Let cool completely before cutting, at least 1 hour.
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horizontal photo of Kentucky Derby Pie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

the original photo…

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  1. Ugh why of why did I not read the comments before making these? I had marked this recipe ages ago as one to try because the photos looked so enticing and I love the idea of combining two of my fav desserts. But wow was this a fail! So sad as it was a huge waste of my precious pecans and brown sugar (I live in Switzerland where both have to be imported) not to mention the dark chocolate.

    Like many others, I ended up with a liquid batter that, when poured over the cookie dough, turned into a horrible eggy layer of transparent goo that tasted pretty rank and did nothing to improve the dry, slightly cakey tasteless mess above it.

    My husband valiantly crumbled the lot and removed all the nuts and chocolate and we mixed those into a tried and tested cookie dough so as not to waste them. But very disappointed and kicking myself for not reading comments before I embarked on this recipe!

  2. I made these. Very disappointed. They were very cake-like! Very little flavor which surprised me
    Your recipes are beautiful but this is the second dessert I’ve made and won’t make again!

    1. Hi Tricia,
      Thanks for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear it wasn’t enjoyed! Please let me know if there is anything I can help with! xx

  3. 4 stars
    After reading the comments, I still decided to try the recipe. I followed it exactly. The bars along the edge of the pan definitely tasted eggy. That said, after you got past the bars along the edges, they all tasted great! So, I cut off and threw out the edge bars and served the others which were enjoyed by everyone. There must be something about how the pecan pie layer spreads out and bakes along the edges that leads to that eggy flavor. Hope this helps others!

    1. Hey Allison,
      Awesome!! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for your comment and sharing your feedback! Sorry about the eggy flavor, I’ve not experienced this! xxT

  4. 5 stars
    I made these Saturday for a Kentucky Derby party and they were really good. I liked that it was a fun twist on the pie and so much easier being in bar form. I made the recipe exactly as stated, making no changes / substitutions. The only difference I found it is seemed to take forever to cool, well beyond the hour, but that wasn’t a big deal – I just wanted to make sure they were completely set and cool before I cut into them. Otherwise, they were spot-on for me.

    For those who had the issue with the gelatinous bottom, I think it’s because your cookie layer didn’t completely seal around the edges and the pecan topping leaked through. Most of my bars came out perfectly browned and solid on the bottom, but some of the ones around the edges had that gelatinous film (which was easy to just scrape off, no big deal). It’s really important to make sure there are no gaps or holes in the cookie layer to prevent the pecan topping from leaking to the bottom. That should easily solve that problem.

    1. Hey Breanne,
      Awesome!! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for your comment and sharing your feedback! xxT

    1. Hi Valerie,
      Nope, you can follow the recipe as is and bake the bars in step 4. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love the recipe:) xx

  5. 3 stars
    This didn’t work for me. The egg/maple syrup mixture sunk to the bottom and made a layer of sweet cooked egg which was kind of off putting. I didn’t want to completely waste it as it had all those chocolate chips and pecans in it, so I peeled off the egg layer and stored the slice in the fridge just in case I’d missed any – the cake bit was actually very nice.

    1. Hi Meredith,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try, so sorry to hear you had issues. Was there anything you may have adjusted? Let me know if there is any way that I can help! xTieghan

  6. I wasn’t so sure about thsi when i put it in the over. The top layer was super liquidy. But when i took it out of the oven it looked just like the pictures. However, once i cut into it the bottom layer is squishy. Maybe it has something to do w being at high elevation? Or my eggs were too small? Or my room temp butter is probably colder than most peoples room temp. Tastes good even with the oddly jelly-like bottom.

    1. Hey Fern,
      Thank you so very much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Was there anything you adjusted in the recipe? That texture is pretty typical of a pecan pie. Happy Holidays!??

      1. I did use a lightweight metal pan for the cooking. And my maple syrup was aged in bourbon barrel. I skipped the bourbon itself. About a 5th of the pan wasn’t grey slimy on the bottom like what i mentioned. You pictures made it look more solid so maybe the gelatinous texture is how it’s supposed to be.

        Thanks for your quick reply during such a busy week!

    2. 3 stars
      So I had the issue with the bottom being too soggy as apparently The egg mixture went under the cookie dough. Tasted great but not firm to serve attractively. So my son suggested rolling the bars into balls and rolling them in graham cracker crust. Saved the day! Renamed them Kentucky Bourbon Balls!

      1. Hey Kirsten,
        Thanks for giving the recipe a try, so sorry to hear you had some issues! Gad you guys were able to save them:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Colleen,
      I am thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe, thanks a lot for giving it a try. I hope you have an amazing week! xTieghan

  7. I would like to make this recipe but after reading a lot of the reviews I am not sure!
    Is this a better version? I have made lots of your recipes and have enjoyed them
    immensely. I do not want to be disappointed.

    1. Hey Renee,
      So sorry, I am not sure what you mean by a “better version”? Let me know if you give the recipe a try:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Melissa,
      This was an older recipe that I revamped, there is no longer a Bourbon caramel sauce, you can follow the full recipe as is! I hope you love them! xTieghan

  8. 2 stars
    Baked these for Thanksgiving. Followed the recipe exactly, and the end result looked like the pictures shown. From a flavor standpoint the maple and bourbon really did not come through. You could really taste the egg quite strongly and the chocolate.

    1. Hi Cathleen! I am really sorry this did not taste as expected. If there are any questins I can help with, please let me know! xTieghan

  9. Very good recipe but cooking time was not accurate. My bars were very dry at 35-40 minutes so check it at 30minutes.

  10. 5 stars
    My mouth is watering while reading the recipe & when I tried this out I really liked the taste of this dish…That Amazing!!

  11. 1 star
    Going to start by saying that I bake A LOT. Would consider myself pretty good in the kitchen and know my way round a recipe. I wish I had listened to the other comments on here and picked a different recipe. These were so disappointing.
    Followed the instructions exactly and ended up with a grey, soggy gelatinous layer at the bottom. No maple or bourbon taste at all. Scraped the gross soggy mess off a few pieces and the cookie part tastes decent. But disappointing to have wasted good ingredients on that hot mess.
    Not sure where I went wrong but find it very strange that so many people are getting the same result.
    Stay away and make something else!

    1. Hi AC! I am really sorry to hear that this did not turn out well for you… Is there anything that could have gone wrong while making it? I would love to help! xTieghan

    1. Hey Catherine,
      That was the old version of the recipe, it has since been redone and added directly to the bars. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan