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Off to the Races: Baking Inspiration from Louisville, Kentucky

  • Sep 08, 2015

The Kentucky Derby may be months away, but that’s no reason not to find inspiration in baked goods that can be served alongside mint juleps. Held annually on the first Saturday in May, the Derby is a great Southern tradition, which is fitting since Kentucky boasts such rich dessert traditions as chess pie, pecan pie, blackberry cobbler and bread pudding.

A variation of pecan pie, Derby pie® originated in Kentucky at the Melrose Inn over a half century ago. George Kern, manager of the inn’s restaurant, developed the original recipe, and today it is a closely guarded secret of Louisville’s own Kern’s Kitchen. But there are a lot of ways to put a spin on the original, which features walnuts, chocolate chips and bourbon.

Derby pie cupcakes are a sweet alternative. They’re simpler than a pie to bake, take to a party and serve, particularly when you use Welcome Home Brands bakeware. For the batter, use butter-bourbon, brown sugar or dark chocolate and infuse with a generous helping of walnuts (or pecans) and chocolate chips. A creamy cream cheese frosting is a nice topper, along with a garnish of more nuts and chips. Drizzle with some caramel for additional oomph.

Another iconic Derby Day treat is the mint julep, a concoction of muddled mint leaves, bourbon and sugar served in a classic silver cup. And what better to serve alongside a mint julep than a mint julep cupcake? You can start by spiking your cupcake batter with bourbon (fun fact: Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon), or go for the kid-friendly version and leave it out. Swath in fluffy cream cheese frosting and garnish with fresh mint leaves for a definite winner!

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