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bite-sized vegan chocolate bourbon pies

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If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I identify pretty strongly as an Indiana girl.

I’m a Hoosier through-and-through. But there is another state out there that, as much as it pains me to admit, also has part of my heart. I grew up about 30 minutes north of the Ohio River and, while I may try to deny it, the Bluegrass State has always (and will always be) a huge part of who I am. I was born in Kentucky. My first “real” job was in Kentucky. I bought my prom dresses in Kentucky.

If Indiana is my favorite pair of jeans, Kentucky is the comfortable sweatshirt that I secretly love, but wouldn’t dare be caught dead wearing in public.

No offense, Kentuckians.

Growing up so close to Louisville means that the Kentucky Derby was a huge part of my childhood. I marched in the Pegasus Parade in high school. I watched Thunder Over Louisville from the bow of the Belle of Louisville when I was a kid. I wore my Pegasus Pin proudly to school. I happily enjoyed the “administrative holiday” from school that just happened to fall on the Oaks. And I ate my fair share of Derby Pie.

For those of you not from the area, Derby Pie is a chocolate, walnut and bourbon pie that was created at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. It’s, uh, the best thing in the world. Imagine pecan pie, but with walnuts. Plus chocolate and booze. It is my absolute favorite pie on the planet. It’s even in the running for my favorite dessert on the planet. It’s that good. And being that the Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, it seemed only fitting that I have a go at making this Bluegrass favorite.

The interesting part? I’ve never actually been to Churchill Downs. I’ve stood outside of it. I’ve watched the Derby on TV, but actually don a fancy hat and bet on the horses? Never. Hopefully now that I’m moving home, we’ll make it to the twin spires in the next few years.

Bite-Sized Vegan Chocolate Bourbon Pies

Bite-Sized Vegan Chocolate Bourbon Pies

Yield: 36 bite-sized pies
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

The chocolate-bourbon-walnut combo cannot be conquered—even with copious ground flaxseed and whole wheat flour.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick vegan margarine, cut into small cubes and frozen
  • 4-5 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan margarine
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt


  1. To make crust, in the bowl of a food processor, add flours, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add in frozen margarine pieces and pulse until pieces are about the size of peas. Add in water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough holds together when squeezed. Dump dough out onto a floured surface and form into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and stash in fridge for at least an hour to chill.
  2. When ready to make pies, preheat oven to 350°. Remove one dough disc from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circle pastry cutter or glass, cut circles out of the dough. Line the cups of a non-stick mini muffin tin with the dough circles.
  3. For the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling into each muffin cup. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until filling has solidified. Let cool for 5 minutes then remove from muffin tin and cool completely on racks. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 pie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 35mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

What are you doing for Derby this weekend?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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15 Responses
  1. Bob

    private comment for Cassie. if you are vegan-tolerant and now back in Kentucky I’d like to invite you to our monthly vegan potlucks in Lexington. Interested?

    1. Cassie

      Oops! You are completely right! I’ve adjusted the recipe to include other vegan-rific sweeteners. Thanks for pointing it out!

  2. You are not alone with your feelings towards exercise. The only thing that keeps me going is 1) know how BAD I’ll feel if I don’t exercise and 2) knowing how AWESOME I feel after I do exercise. The actual act of exercise is horrendous and if it were a person I’d punch it right in the face. I don’t know if you can change how you feel about it, but maybe just acknowledge your accomplishments a little more and know that you should be proud of every workout!

  3. Noel

    I have been to two Derbys. Both for work. The first was for the thoroughbred documentary and it was a miserably long day. During the rac I was close to the rail in the final turn. Second was for KY Life segment another long day in the wind and rain. During the race I was standing behind Penny Chennery and Diane Lane. I hated it.

  4. I love that my state is your embarrassing comfy sweatshirt. Love.

    I lived in Louisville for 4 years and was only at Churchill Downs once. For a college formal. Where we got kicked out because of all the underage drinking (that’s a surprise), property destruction (I think someone tore a poster), and somebodies doing the deed in the elevator. Yup. That’s how we rolled. Because really? I don’t think we ever made it to the scheduled end of any formal without the lights coming on and “everybody out!”

    And, somehow, we still booked the Brown my senior year. Huh.

    Good times.

  5. Karen

    Haha this post made me laugh! I grew up in Louisville and couldn’t wait to get out when I graduated high school. I went to college in Ohio (vomit) and after graduating college, I moved down to Tampa, FL (best decision ever). Anyway, I miss derby pie so much and places down here will randomly have “derby pie” and let me tell you, it is NOT true derby pie. I have been looking for a recipe to make mini derby pies and looks like I found one! Thanks!

  6. They look good. My weekend plans are mostly about family (taking nephew for a walk by a river, we are crazy!) Grand National is probably the UK equivalent of your Derby and that happened over Easter. Ascot doesn’t start until June (and that’s full of hats!!). Neither of them have pies though, so that’s a total fail…maybe time to make these!

  7. rachel

    Oh hi- I live in Louisville. Can you just put some of those in the mail for me? It’ll cross the river nicely.

  8. Yay! I just knew you secretly loved Kentucky!

    I have to confess that I’ve never eaten Derby Pie. I don’t like chocolate, nuts in my food or bourbon. However, I love Derby Day and everything that goes along with it. I cry when they play My Old Kentucky Home. However, you’d never see me at Churchill on Derby Day unless I shack up with someone on Millionaire’s Row! Too crowded!

    I’ll be sharing this recipe with some vegan friends. Thanks! (and thanks for using that particular brand of my state’s signature product – after horses, of course!)

    1. Cassie

      While my love for Kentucky isn’t quite like that, I do cry when Jim Nabors sings Back Home Again in Indiana at the Indianapolis 500. I totally get it. 🙂

Meet Cassie
Meet Your Host

Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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