Dearest Michael,

“You’re a really great baker,” you said so matter of factly to me when we were driving somewhere the other day. You were actually driving as you have sort of become my driver since you have had your license. Not sure if this is something you enjoy as much as I do, but I must confess, I love being driven.

These words from son to mother are like the sound of my favorite cardinal in the morning. I love to bake, I am good at it and baking anything connects me to your great grandmother, Kitsie and the happier times with my own mother. It also reminds me of the strength and connection you and I have because of what I learned the sad and hard way in my relationship with Ann. Baking is a great connection. It is repairing and centering and filled with love. There is no anger in my kitchen, it is always a happy spot and a grounding one.

Anytime I am in the kitchen, this is my zen place. Pulling out pans and sticks of butter to prepare something for you or any guests gives me such a warm feeling in my heart. I hope that when you have your own kitchen, this feeling will always be your go to place anytime you feel anxious or may be overthinking something. The kitchen, like the garden always propels me into the present and before I know it, any worry has disappeared. Just pulling out a special pan, or a certain wooden spoon knowing the thousands of recipes it has stirred or held is enough to feel like I just did a yoga class.

As I thought about the next recipe this morning when I woke up at 3:30 am, besides the brownie recipe (which as you know cannot be made public and is in the vault until I exit), it would have to be the CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE recipe. There are some recipes that are made so often, you don’t even need the recipe. This one I have changed slightly from the original because I have made so many of them, I have discovered a better way to make them over the years.

This dessert is super easy especially if you use a store bought frozen pie crust. For some purist bakers, the thought of a frozen pie crust is counter intuitive, but I have yet to perfect an easy go to pie crust and this is a really awesome time saver. (Likely loaded with every preservative I am always barking about, but what the hell.) I always keep a few in the freezer, Grandma Ann turned me onto Oronoque Orchards Frozen Pie Crusts years before I got married like in 1985 or something. This was a time in my life when I should have been finishing college, but instead was living with a boyfriend, searching for some home life or stability that for some reason I didn’t think I could provide for myself. Thank goodness that silly notion has changed. I have evolved and so has this recipe as years of baking any one recipe does.

This pie recipe I found on the back of one of the hundreds of Nestle Chocolate Chip packages I have had as a baking staple in the kitchen for my entire life since my first apartment. Thank goodness for BJS because they sell the nuclear version of Nestle Chocolate Chips and I always have at least one but more often two in my pantry and or freezer. I hope that anytime you see the golden yellow package of Nestle Chocolate Chips in your adult life, it transports you to the smells and sweetness of our kitchen when you were younger.

CHOCOLATE CHIP PIE (original recipe taken from the back of a Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip package at least twenty five years ago. I have doubled this recipe but I wouldn’t suggest it for your first rodeo of baking it, you have to get to know its personality first before assuming that simple doubling is just multiplying by 2 in a baking recipe, it is not).

2 eggs

½ cup of flour

½ cup of sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

3/4 stick of butter melted (if for some reason you only have a ½ stick this has worked too, this is an area where precision doesn’t’ really matter as much.)

1 stick of butter softened (not melted-like the way it is softened in BLUEBERRY CAKE. This part of the butter ingredient requires the entire stick so no cutting corners on this part.)

1 C of Nestle Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (I have used Ghiradelli and other brands over the years, for some reason, this is the best for this recipe, maybe it is just tradition)

1 Oronoque Orchard Frozen Pie Crust — not deep dish, regular size.

(they come in a two pack, when you have one left, put it in a large Ziploc baggie and stick it back in the freezer for the next round. These crusts last “forever” see? Preservatives do have an occasional place in my life.

1 nice pie plate to put the piecrust in (keep the foil base on the shell and just insert the whole thing in the plate before baking, it looks better but it is also for the occasional spillage that occurs when it starts to bake).

Preheat oven to 325.

Put unfilled piecrust into oven while oven is preheating, this just softens it a bit before baking. Not totally necessary if you forget.

Melt 1 stick of butter and set aside

Beat eggs and the 1 stick of softened butter in a mixer or with a mixer until somewhat smooth. (hopefully you have my pink one and are enjoying its place in your kitchen.)

Add flour, brown sugar, regular sugar and melted butter and beat well until everything is nice and smooth. Go easy on the speed so everything doesn’t fly out.

Manually stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into pie shell and put on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. This is only necessary if the crust looks a little too full to avoid a mess in your oven.

Place in preheated oven and bake for almost an hour or until golden brown and not jiggly when you go to take it out.


the original recipe, but my improvement is way better, the pink kitchen aid mixer I hope never lands in Jays Junk and the nuclear package of chips (those are my feet)

Leave a Reply