This past weekend we hosted friends for their first Kentucky Derby here in Louisville, Kentucky. For most people, the first Saturday in May is just any other weekend, but to those of us who live in Kentucky, Derby Day is a national holiday taken VERY seriously. So seriously that schools are closed on the Friday before Derby. If you ask most people, businesses themselves close down somewhere around mid-week of Derby, as Derby festivities take priority over everything else.
Wanting to make the experience authentic for my friends, I searched for the appropriate souvenirs, shopped for the quintessential local Kentucky food for everyone to sample, and planned an after-Derby meal featuring Kentucky Hot Browns. Normally for dessert a true Kentuckian would serve Kern’s Derby-Pie® or some equivalent, generally referred to as Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Pie or Kentucky Chocolate Pecan Pie. The original version is made with walnuts while other versions now use pecans. Some use bourbon, some do not. It’s baked in a pie shell somewhat like a tart, and always has plenty of chocolate and chocolate chips.
Well, we’re a food allergy family, with severe allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. So no authentic Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Pie here. But why should that stop us from having an authentic Derby dinner? Personally I LOVE this pie, with its intense chocolate flavor and hint of bourbon.
So I decided to make a peanut/tree nut free alternative. I searched and searched, put a few parts of various recipes together, and came up with a Kentucky Chocolate Pie Bar, using roasted sunflower seeds. You can make this recipe in a pie pan, tart pans, a square baking pan, or 9X13 glass dish. Knowing my kids would not appreciate the bourbon flavor as much as the adults, I divided the recipe into two separate pans, and added bourbon and orange zest to one pan for the adults. I think bourbon and orange are a match made in heaven so I tend to put them together in A LOT of recipes, but you can also leave out the orange zest if you want. Bourbon on its own is pretty awesome in any recipe.
Delicious Kentucky Chocolate Pie Bar in tart pans.
These are great served warm with vanilla ice cream and whip cream, or chilled. I have eaten way too many this week as I wax nostalgic about how much fun we had over Derby weekend. In fact, I think I’ve eaten all of the leftovers. Which means now I have to go make another batch for everyone else in the household. Enjoy!
Peanut and Tree Nut Free Kentucky Chocolate Pie Bars
Allergy-Friendly Kentucky Chocolate Pie
Rate this recipe!
Allergy-Friendly Kentucky Chocolate Pie Bars, using roasted sunflower seeds for a peanut free and tree nut free dessert.
If using two pre-made pie shells in pie pans, bake shells according to package directions, piercing bottom of pie shell a few times to keep pie shell from expanding. You also can use pie weights, uncooked beans, etc. Remove weights halfway through baking.
If using ready-to-use pie dough, place 1 sheet of dough in each 8X8 inch pan or pie pan (or both sheets equally in a 9X13 inch pan), preferably non-stick. Lightly spray first with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. Pierce bottom of pie shells a few times. If using pie weights, remove halfway through baking.
Roast sunflower seeds at 375 degrees for approximately 7-9 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn.
Melt the 8 ounces of dark chocolate. You can melt in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl on 20 second bursts. Stir the chocolate each time until melted and smooth.
Or you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove. Fill a small sauce pan no more than halfway with water and bring to a boil. Place chocolate in a heat safe bowl and place the bowl on top of the sauce pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water in the sauce pan. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth.
Spread the melted chocolate on the bottom of the baked crusts. Let sit for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the roasted sunflower seeds evenly over the melted chocolate. Lightly press sunflower seeds into chocolate. Reserve a small portion of the roasted sunflower seeds to sprinkle on the top of the pie bars before baking.
In a large bowl, whisk the honey and brown sugar until smooth. You can use an electric mixer but I prefer to just mix by hand.
Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and then add to the honey/brown sugar mixture and whisk until incorporated.
Add the melted butter and incorporate.
Add the flour and vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate.
If not adding bourbon and/or orange extract, pour the filling into the shells. Or, if you prefer one bourbon, one non-bourbon, pour half of the filling into a prepared shell, then add 2 tablespoons bourbon and the zest of one orange to the remaining filling. Pour the remaining filling into the remaining pie shell. If making an entire batch with bourbon, use 4 tablespoons of bourbon.
Sprinkle chocolate and white chocolate chips over the top of the filling, as well as remaining roasted sunflower seeds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until middle is almost set. If using smaller pie tarts or pie pans, check at 25-30 minutes. Otherwise, check at 35-40 minutes.
Let pie bars completely cool before serving. You can cut the bars as big or little as preferred, approximately 24 bars.
You can serve the pie bars slightly warm with vanilla ice cream or whip cream, or refrigerate the pie bars and serve cold.