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Besides horses, there are some things the Kentucky Derby just wouldn't be itself without; that includes big hats, Mint Juleps, hot browns, and bourbon. And when it comes to Kentucky's signature liquor, we don't limit ourselves to just pouring a glass. It's got a deep flavor that ranges from caramel to smoke, and it makes the perfect addition to dessert.
We know that bourbon balls are a classic Derby day dessert (and here's a recipe if you need one), but if you want to get creative, try these other five bourbon-infused treats.
Brown Butter Bourbon Cookies
Some boozy sweets don't really taste like booze. That's not the case with these slightly crumbly cookies, which marry the flavors of brown butter, pecans, and bourbon. Do note that the dough has to rest in the fridge overnight, so start this the day before you're planning on serving them.
Bourbon Street Banana Crisp
If you're in the mood for something warm and gooey, this recipe is your one-stop ticket there. Bananas are baked in a caramelized sweet brown sugar sauce and topped with bourbon and a crunchy walnut streusel. Think of it as comfort in case your (friends) horses don't win.
Bourbon Old Fashioned Glazed Pecans
If you're looking for an interesting hors d'oeuvre, try these cocktail-inspired nuts. The pecans are tossed with melted butter, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and a touch of cayenne. To mimic the flavors of an Old Fashioned, they then get doused with bourbon and dotted with the typical old-fashioned accoutrements of orange zest and cherries plumped in bourbon. Salty, sweet, crunchy, and boozy—basically they're everything good.
Bourbon Blondies with Walnuts
Bourbon is a great addition blondies because their similar caramel and vanilla notes elevate each other and sing. Walnuts add body and crunch, and a hit of salt really brings out the flavors.
Bourbon-Roasted Peach Cheesecake
We know, we know: peaches aren't in season. But that's the great thing about roasting them with bourbon, butter, and dark brown sugar—you get flavor out of less-than-perfect specimens. The topping sits atop a rich, creamy cheesecake filling which is cradled by a pecan-graham cracker crust.
Have a favorite way to bake with bourbon? Tell us about it in the comments below!