Derby is just around the corner! Can you feel it?
Louisville officially kicked off its Kentucky Derby celebrations over the weekend with Thunder Over Louisville, the nation’s largest annual fireworks event. Over the next two weeks, food and drink festivals, hot air balloon glows, parades, and pre-Derby races at Churchill Downs will take over the city’s social events calendar. It is the most exciting time of year to be in Louisville!
But you don’t have to be in Louisville for Derby to participate in the excitement. Having a Derby party in your own home whether you live in California or Maine is easy to throw together and fun for all!
I have lots of yummy Derby treats that are sure to make any party a hit (see the bottom of this post for links), but these cookies might be at the top of my list.
Bourbony, buttery shortbread cookies are cut into horse shapes, dipped in semisweet chocolate, and decorated with red icing roses for a tasty Kentucky Derby themed treat!
I love these cookies not only because they’re covered in semisweet chocolate, but because they’re easily decorated with red icing rose garland, which makes them oh-so Derby appropriate.
The Kentucky Derby is also referred to as the “Run for the Roses.” This is thanks to the rose blanket that is draped over the Derby winner (see picture here). Kroger florists in Louisville make the garland every year, and visitors are allowed to drop by the store and watch them work on it on Derby Eve.
All of this is to say that these cookies are as festive as they are delicious, and they will surely be a hit at your Derby gathering!
More Kentucky Derby Recipes:
- Hot Brown Bites
- Benedictine Tea Sandwiches
- Mint Julep Granita
- Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Chocolate Coconut Bourbon Truffles
- Bourbon Ball Cupcakes
Also, find Kentucky Derby Party hostess gift ideas here.
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Red frosting for decorating, if desired (I used this icing)
- To a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, sugar, salt, and bourbon. Beat ingredients using a paddle attachment until well combined and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Gradually stir in the flour.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour up to 24 hours until solid (this makes the dough more manageable).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into approximately a 1/16-inch thick sheet. Cut dough with horse* (or other) cookie cutters and transfer to baking sheet, placing cookies at least ½ inch apart. (Note: Work with small sheets of dough at a time to prevent overworking the dough. Transfer dough back to fridge if dough warms and becomes difficult to work with.)
- Bake cookies until edges are lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes, turning the pan after 5 minutes of baking. (Exact baking time will depend on the size of your cookies.)
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- After cookies have cooled completely, prepare the chocolate for dipping. This is best done in 3 batches, as you’ll only be able to dip so many before the chocolate begins to set.
- For each of the 3 batches, add ¾ cup chocolate chips to a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring with a wooden spoon between each session, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Immediately stir in ¼ cup room temperature chocolate chips until they are completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Begin dipping tops of cookies into chocolate. After cookies have been dipped, transfer back to cooling rack. Once an entire cooling rack’s worth of cookies have been dipped, transfer the cooling rack to the fridge for approximately 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
- Continue the process of heating the chocolate, dipping cookies, and refrigerating cookies until all cookies have been dipped.
- Decorate cookies with red icing to make a garland of roses if desired. Store cookies in the refrigerator until ready to serve.