Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Run for the Roses Festivities

The 136th Kentucky Derby runs this Saturday, May 1. There's something about the cuisine, attire and history that's always appealed to me.  For years, my husband and I would stop by the local tracks and place a bet.  I used to have these amazing vibes and always pick the winner. Certain names would just stand out to me.  In the last few years, I've lost all credibility.  Since we've added kids to the mix, we now gather around the TV and pick our favorites. My boys love any excuse to cheer and shout!  Here are a few of my favorite recipes to help celebrate.  Enjoy the festivities!

Classic Mint Juleps

The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.  Mixes are available, but I love this recipe.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
16 mint sprigs, lightly crushed
8 cups finely crushed ice
1 cup bourbon
Mint sprigs
Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove sugar syrup from heat. Cool completely.  Place 2 crushed mint sprigs in the bottom of each of 8 glasses.  Add 1 cup crushed ice, 2 tablespoons sugar syrup, and 2 tablespoons bourbon to each glass.  Garnish with mint sprigs.
8 servings

Kentucky Chocolate Nut Tartlets
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
1 tablespoon egg substitute
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)

For pastry: lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup.  Level with a knife.  Combine flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the baking powder in a food processor.  Pulse 3 times.  Add the shortening.  Pulse 4 or 5 times or until combined.  Place flour mixture in a bowl.  Gradually, sprinkle ice water over the flour mixture.  Toss until moist.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead 3 to 4 times.  Press mixture into a 4 inch disk.  Place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll the dough into an 11 inch circle. Remove plastic.  Cut dough into 18 circles.  Fit dough into miniature nonstick muffin cups coated with cooking spray.  Gently press dough into bottom and sides of cups.  For filling:  divide chocolate and pecans evenly among muffin cups.  Combine 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and next 6 ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir well with a whisk.  Divide sugar mixture evenly among cups.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned and the filling is set.  Run a knife around each tartlet.  Remove from pan.  Lightly brush tartlets with 2 teaspoons bourbon, if desired.  Cool completely. 
This recipe makes 1 1/2 dozen tartlets.


  1. Ha "tarts" and booze.. it's gonna be a great day at the races!

    Welcome to SITS (yes I"m running late... but I'm told that's fashionable) ~your friendly neighborhood Welcomista

  2. Yum!!!! I think I am going to have try this out sometime!!I wanted to come by and say thanks for helping me celebrate my SITS day on Monday!!

  3. Cam over from SITS. What an amazing little recipe!

    Cute blog you have here..You have a new follower!

  4. Oh, yum! It makes me want to throw my own Derby party here in cold, rainy NW PA. Thanks for sharing them! Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  5. I love the story behind your blog... I need to stop by more often AND make those tartlets. Holy smokes those look good! Happy SITS Sat Sharefest! Valerie



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