Mint Julep Brownies with Candied Pecans

If you have forgotten, this Saturday is the most exciting two minutes in sports.  Fans galore descend upon the Bluegrass region to watch three-year old thoroughbred horses compete in the Kentucky Derby.

Years and years ago I was lucky enough to be an infield spectator at the famous Churchill Downs racetrack.  In all honesty you can’t really see the race from the infield and it’s hardly millionaire’s row, but it is the place to party like a rock star if you so choose. 

While celebrities and proper Southern women view the race from their box seats wearing elaborate hats and sipping their Mint Juleps, the infield crowd is partying on with reckless abandon.  The hats are all homemade and have been some of the most creative head gear I have ever seen.  I wish I could find those pictures.

Many years ago I threw a Derby Day party of my own with the party requisite to come wearing an elaborate hat. It was a smashing success.  We had everything from designer to hand-crafted and everyone couldn’t wait to see what everyone else was wearing.  Of course we had traditional Kentucky Derby Day fare, Mint Juleps and Burgoo, a type of stew.  However, I wish I had known about these Mint Julep Brownies with Candied Pecans, they would have been a fantastic addition to the party.

I came across these the other day on the web and knew immediately I had to try them out.  They have such a unique flavor and would be the highlight of any Derby Day celebration.  Luscious would probably be the best way to describe them.  The hint of mint and bourbon create a very interesting and addicting depth of flavor.  I have never tasted anything like it. 

If you are going to watch the race this weekend, make sure you have these ready for the after party.

The top horse contenders this year, I Want Revenge, Pioneer of the Nile and Friesan Fire have all been showing well.  However, the potential sleeper for the race is Desert Party.  If you love rooting for the underdog, General Quarters should be your pick.

So make your brownies and pick your top three winners…losers have to clean the brownie pan! 

Here’s what you will need for the brownies:  Butter, dark chocolate, eggs, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, table salt, peppermint extract and bourbon.

In a medium saucepan, warm 1 cup butter and 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat to cool slightly.

In a large bowl beat 4 eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and 2 Tablespoons bourbon and stir until fully incorporated.  I thought this was a strange order in which to add ingredients but it worked well.

Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan (I just line my pan with parchment paper).  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cracks in cheesecake are bad.  Brownie crack is very, very good.  Cool completely before cutting, if you can wait.

While the brownies are baking and cooling, make your candied pecans.  You will need, butter, brown sugar and pecans.

Melt one Tablespoon butter over low heat.  Add 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, stirring until combined.  Add 1/3 cup pecan halves, cooking over low heat until mixture begins to darken; about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat for about 15 minutes until pecans cool and sugar hardens.  Break the pecans into pieces for garnish.

For an authentic Mint Julep presentation, splash each serving plate with some bourbon and place a brownie slice right on top.  Of course this step is optional but it really tastes good.

Garnish each slice with freshly whipped cream, candied pecans and a sprig of mint.

I hope your horse comes in.  My pick to win is Friesan Fire.

Mint Julep Brownies with Candied Pecans
Adapted from My Own Sweet Thyme

For brownies:
1 cup butter
4 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 Tablespoons bourbon

In a medium saucepan, warm butter and chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat to cool slightly.

In a large bowl beat eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture, sugar, flour, salt, peppermint extract and bourbon and stir until fully incorporated.  I thought this was a strange order in which to add ingredients but it worked well.

Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan (I just line my pan with parchment paper).  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool completely before cutting, if you can wait.

While the brownies are baking and cooling, make your candied pecans.

Candied Pecans

1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup pecan halves

Melt butter over low heat.  Add brown sugar, stirring until combined.  Add pecan halves, cooking over low heat until mixture begins to darken; about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat for about 15 minutes until pecans cool and sugar hardens.  Break the pecans into pieces for garnish.

For an authentic Mint Julep presentation, splash each serving plate with some bourbon and place a brownie slice right on top.  Of course this step is optional but it really tastes good.  Garnish each slice with freshly whipped cream, candied pecans and a sprig of mint.

One Year Ago Today:  Bake Sale Bars

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79 Comments

  1. Hilary 1

    Hi Cathy .. thanks for letting us know about these delicious sounding brownies .. a good alternative for us here in the UK. Kentucky Races – sounds fun ..

    Thanks – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

  2. I am hoping you will find and post pictures of the elaborate hats, and the people wearing them! I have already printed up the brownie recipe for a special day!

  3. Shawn 3

    That looks fantastic-alicious!

    I’m so totally going to have to make those.

  4. I have to tell you, I made the Lazy Cook’s Baklava yesterday for a baby shower. They are SOOO good and so easy! Love them! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Well, of course, you were in the infield partying vs being in the stuffy upper seats! ;-) OMG, these brownies … I can tell they are worthy of converting to gluten free. Will report back later!

    Shirley

  6. Cathy those look unreal! I love brownies…all kinds!

  7. Donna 7

    These sound absolutely perfect for a party such as the Derby!! Awesome choice. I enjoy mint juleps every once in a while so I am of a most certain mind, I would LOVE these!

  8. Chocolate and whiskey? Sounds like a good day to me.

  9. Debi 9

    What a fun dessert for a Kentucky Derby party!

  10. Jackie 10

    I had a friend who got a recipe from Kentucky that was called Kentucky derby Pie. Chocolate chips, bourbon, pecans, chocolate brownie type filling, OMG died and went to heaven. Have not made it in years, but it may be time to do it again. Your brownies inspired me. Maybe could add a touch of mint to the pie. Oh, the pie doesn’t really need a crust, it is brownie consistancy.

  11. Rindy R 11

    These brownies would make it in no time flat to my WAIST line! They certainly look like winners!

  12. I saw these on Lisa’a site too and drooled there over these. Good choice! They do look like a winner- maybe even a triple crown.

  13. Leslie 13

    ohh I forgot about the derby..I suppose I have to get out my fancy hat!!

  14. Melynda 15

    I have the ingredients, YUM. I am glad the weekend is near.

  15. Oh.Good.God. You’ve sabotaged my diet again…

  16. Sara 17

    These look incredible. I bought a bottle of bourbon for a recipe, and only used about half of it. The other half has been sitting in my pantry waiting to be used. I’ll definitely be using it for these!

  17. Kim 18

    This is my idea of a Southern dessert! Looks just divine, my you have been up to a lot of wonderful cooking.

  18. I dont think the candied pecans would ever see the plates or anything else for that matter. I’d eat them straight out of the pan! *lol*

    The brownies look amazing, even if I don’t like chocolate, I can’t seem to turn down a fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven brownie. But I’ll have to pass on the Bourbon…can’t stand the stuff!

    I always love your presentation photos. So clean and crisp!

  19. melissa 20

    Oh My Word! Brownies made with booze! Yum
    I hope you find the pictures, they would be neat to see.

  20. michelle 21

    I’m so excited that you put these brownies up here! I’m from Louisville so we’re having a HUGE Derby party and these will be perfect for me to take. Thanks so much :]

  21. I’m not sure if I’d like the brownie… but the candied pecans I KNOW I’d like!!

    And the brownie looks beautiful. You take the BEST pictures!

  22. Mary 23

    Now you’ve gone too far. How am I to resist this confection? It’s positively decadent.

  23. OMG I want those!!!

    Also–I made the pizza recipe (cauliflower, etc.) last night and it was SO good! The kids devoured it! I will definitely make it again!

  24. Marjie 25

    I get it – splash the plates with bourbon, and the hooligans will conk out so Mom can have peace and quiet to (not) pack the house…

  25. imom 26

    I got so distracted by the melting butter and chocolate that I forgot to read the rest of the recipe! Not really! Those look amazing.

  26. Marcy 27

    Nix the pecans, but bring on the whiskey and peppermint! LOL! other than the pecans they look great! I want to go to a horse race – ANY horse race – it sounds exciting;))

  27. These look great! I’m on Pioneer of the Nile!

  28. Pam 29

    Now I want to have a derby party – fun hats, good food. The brownies look amazing.

  29. I love the idea of peppermint extract and bourbon in these brownies! Delicious!

  30. LilSis 31

    I love the Kentucky Derby! Opening Day here in Del Mar is a ‘big hat’ day also! We always go for that event.

    These brownies look so amazing! The whipped cream, pecans, and mint sure turns the brownie into an elegant dessert. I’m bookmarking now!

  31. I feel like I’ve been gone forever! (I’ve missed you!) And I open to this gorgeous brownie, yum! I wish I could wear a fancy hat and party like a rock star…but alas, this weekend will be spent catching up on everything I should have done last weekend. But it was worth it! Have a great day!

  32. dawn 33

    do you watch the derby? I never got into it really, but what is that other tasty goodie that goes along with the derby? it’s a pie or a cake? supposed to be really good.
    well, these brownies look really moist and dense, jst the way it should be, right.
    and you know my love for pecans!

  33. Paula 34

    Oh my gosh, your derby party with crazy hats sounds like great fun! Of course, if everyone was eating these gorgeous spiked brownies, how could they not be ready to party! :-)

  34. Maureen 35

    That picture is making my mouth water. I can almost taste the yummy gooey-ness through the photo.

  35. elra 36

    Your brownies look incredibly good Cathy. I love the candied pecan, what an idea.
    Cheers,
    elra

  36. Kayola 37

    Anything chocolate is bomb diggity and then add candied pecans….HOLY COW! My two favorite things in this entire world!!!!! Could you think twice about where you are moving and move to Arizona right next door to me….oh I could learn so much from you!!!! No telling what you could learn from me…hahahahaha

  37. Jeff 38

    I have been to the Derby a couple times in my life and it is an insane event (infield is only place for me). Thankfully we did our betting when we got there and then proceeded to drink ourselves past stupid. The whole atmosphere is amazing and full of energy.

    Any dish that feature mint juleps is a win win in my book. Nicely done!

  38. Oh I love brownies…thanks for the recipe

  39. These look great – perfect for Derby Day. I like the party with hats idea!

  40. Cheryl A. Clements 41

    I love brownies but I love the crispy edges more than the middles. To achieve that I use the Baker’s Edge Brownie pan and it rocks. I also use it for corn bread and/or Johnnie cake. A good friend was drooling over the pan I had and so I gave it to him and bought myself another one.

  41. Wow, mint julep brownies. I think I am in heaven. What a perfect recipe.

  42. I always feel badly for the horses….The brownies look fantastic, so moist and rich enough for me!

  43. Marlene 44

    You never, ever cease to absolutely amaze me.

    I can die in peace now for you have taken my heart!

  44. Awesome recipe and I cannot wait to try it. Here in KY the derby is quite a big deal. I am looking forward to making these brownies for “derby day”, as we call it.

  45. krysta 46

    oh these are being made tonight.

  46. Bob 47

    Well, I’m not a big fan of horse racing, but I love brownies! Those look wicked good, but then I’ll try almost anything with bourbon in it. ;)

  47. It seems like it’d be more fun to just drink mint juleps and eat fried chicken in fancy clothes than watch the horses run. Or eat these brownies!

  48. I’d love to come to a derby party at your house!

  49. Alisa 50

    You’re just trying to trick us all into showing up at your house so you can make us do all the packing.
    As long as the brownies are there, I don’t mind though.
    Have I mentioned lately that I love you?

  50. Brownie crack good, butt crack bad?

    Even though I wasn’t planning to do a Derby Day party, I was spending a lot of time this week looking at Kentucky recipes. Some great stuff out there. I love how these combine the famous mint juleps with CHOCOLATE.

    I love Derby Pie and used to make it regularly until I started developing an allergy to walnuts.

    Party on and enjoy the hats!

  51. My pick is Mint Julep Brownies with Candied Pecans, oh wait, that isn’t a horse? Oh well, I’ll just pick the brownie then! Delightful looking and can’t wait to try. Must pick up some bourbon.

  52. Laura 53

    When I was in law school at Virginia, every year everyone went to some race (I forget the name now) when they all got dressed to the nines and ripping drunk. Being from the north and not from a horse racing culture I always found it odd.

  53. tipper 54

    Derby or no Derby-those look yummy!!

  54. pam 55

    You beat me to it! I saw this recipe too, and put it on my list!

  55. Wow, this looks so amazing. I want to dive into my computer screen. Photos are amazing. A true foodie. Thank you for sharing!

  56. This is such a cool recipe! I look forward to test driving it, thanks!

  57. My mouth is watering!
    Gonna have to try these.

  58. That looks amazing. Candied pecans. Nice touch.

  59. Katie 61

    OMG brownies are delicious – but with bourbon in them they are heavenly!I’ve got to try these :)

  60. Holy hell woman.
    I nearly shortcircuited my computer. As a woman who’s roots are as deeply embedded in Kentucky as Texas, these speak to my very soul.

  61. BigSis 63

    Wowee, do those look good! How bad could they be with booze AND peppermint?!

  62. Claudia 64

    Oh those brownies are perfect. This is my favorite two minutes in spring. I love this race!

  63. Suzanne 65

    Is it all right to add more than a splash of bourbon to my plate? ;) Absolutely beautiful photos!

  64. Cheryl 66

    Can’t drink the brown liquor, but never thought about “eating” it! Those look yummy and ever-so-timely.

    (Plus a l’il minty kicker garnish…all that and fresh breath too!)

  65. grace 67

    if you find those pictures, scan them and post them immediately!
    meanwhile, your brownies are perfect for the occasion. heck, they’re perfect for any occasion, like the fact that today is thursday.

  66. annbb 68

    The scariest 2 minutes of the year for me. I’m always so afraid something terrible is going to happen to the horse(s).
    And that MJ Brownie? Terrifying! Looks like you’d need to eat at least two. So much for the diet!

  67. Steph 69

    I love the tops of those brownies!!

  68. I can almost taste the lusciousness from here. I really can’t wait to try this cool, unique recipe this weekend.

    Thanks for the great little context about the hats and flavors of the Derby.

  69. Lisa 71

    Looks like I’m late to the party! I have this rule where I always pick a horse whose name starts with a vowel. To be a contender it looks like I have to pick I Want Revenge but I think I’d rather go with Chocolate Candy.

    I’ve never actually been to the Kentucky Derby though I love the atmosphere in Louisville during Derby week. I get back to Kentucky at this time of year whenever I can.

    And, of course, the brownies look great! I’m so glad you liked them. Thanks for giving them a try.

  70. Biz 72

    Holy crap these look amazing! My hubby loves brownies – I swear I am picking up dark chocolate on my home from work tonight to make these!

  71. OMG they look insane. Great pics.

  72. Don’t know anything about race horses, but I know enough about brownies to know that these look delicious. I love brownies that are cracked on the top.

  73. Just looking at these make me weep. Do you have a cookbook coming out?

  74. Elia L 77

    Hi Kathy! I was just wondering some things about the taste of these Derby Brownies, I do hope you’ll get back to me. Are the tastes of the mint and bourbon well noticeable? Just wondering whether to add more or less or keep it same, I’d like the flavors to be light but noticeble. Also you used dark chocolate, so these brownies are very rich? Do you think semisweet baking chocolate would suffice?
    Thanks!! Looking forward to making these for Saturday! :)
    Regards,
    Elia

  75. Noble Pig 78

    I would not change a thing, the flavors are completely appropriate as is.  Semisweet chocolate would make these too sweet, it would not be a good mix with the bourbon.

    Cathy

  76. Elia L 79

    Ok thank you! Happy (almost) derby day :)

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