Chocolate Chip-Pecan Kentucky Pie for the Final Four

By: Nealey Dozier

Many college kids don't exactly follow a healthy meal plan, and I was no exception. Since the majority of restaurants in my Alabama university town accepted our campus dining card, I would often order a lavish takeout dinner. Excess was the rule. One of my all-time favorite splurges was a rather large slice of warm Kentucky Pie from a local deli. That sublime chocolate chip cookie/pecan pie hybrid, a riff on Louisville's famous Derby Pie, was the stuff that dreams (and the dreaded 'freshman 15') were made of.

This Saturday, whether you're cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats or a fan of gooey chocolate chip desserts (because surely you are at least one of these things?), consider making this riff on crowd-pleasing Kentucky Pie for your fellow March Madness revelers. Serve slabs of this soft cookie-pie warm, straight out of the oven, with whipped cream or ice cream if you so please. (I do.) And if you want to do it like a real Southerner, offer a nip of bourbon on the side.

(Want even more recipes inspired by famous college town foods? Check out Cooking Channel's Bracket Battle of the Best College Eats.)

Kentucky Chocolate Chip-Pecan Pie
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Serves: 8
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1/2 cup pecans
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust, homemade or store-bought
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate syrup, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then chop.

Transfer the pie crust to a 9-inch pie plate.

Combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream them together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low; add the eggs, bourbon and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Spread the batter into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top. Bake until the center is set but still moist when pricked with a toothpick, about 35 minutes. (Do not overcook.) Cool the pie on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Nealey moved from Alabama to the West Coast to follow her dreams, only to realize once there how much she missed good ol’ country cooking.  So she took to the kitchen and began re-creating the dishes of her past, but this time without any help from a can. What started out as a hobby turned into an obsession, so she quit her day job to pursue cooking, and eating, fulltime. Dixie Caviar is where you can follow her pursuits of all things Southern.

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