Candy Holiday Trees For Gingerbread Houses

Candy Holiday Trees For Gingerbread Houses

Candy Holiday Trees for Gingerbread Houses are a great addition to the landscaping! Made with a few ingredients, they are worth a little bit of time spent spent making them because they add so much to the gingerbread houses. 

*Make them ahead because the royal icing needs to dry overnight! They can even be made a couple of weeks ahead of time. 

My favorite sugar cones for the holiday trees!Gingerbread House Holiday Trees - Joy®



Six Steps for Candy Holiday Trees:

  1. In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, make 1 recipe of Royal Icing. Add it to a small bowl.Gingerbread House Holiday Trees - Step 1

2. Add the “leaf green” food coloring. Gingerbread Houses Holiday Trees - Step 23. Stir to combine.Gingerbread House Holiday Trees - Step 34. Continue stirring until all of the white streaks are gone.Gingerbread House Holiday Trees - Step 45. Spread a generous amount of the green royal icing onto a sugar cone; creating swirls with the icing.Gingerbread House Holiday Trees - Step 56. Immediately, add the sprinkles. Place on a silicone baking mat, wax paper or parchment paper. Set aside to dry overnight.Gingerbread House Holiday Trees - Step 6

Your family and friends will love your candy holiday trees for their gingerbread houses!




Lollipop Ponds For Gingerbread Houses

Lollipop Ponds For Gingerbread Houses

Homemade lollipop ponds for Gingerbread Houses add a pop of color to the landscaping. The are easy to make. And your friends and family will love them!

Special Equipment:

Four Easy Steps To Make Lollipop Ponds For Gingerbread Houses:

  1. In a heavy 2-quart pan, stir together 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup Karo® light corn syrup and 5 drops blue food coloring.Lollipop Ponds - Step 12. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Heat to 300ºF or hard-crack stage.Lollipop Ponds - Step 23. Stir in the blue food coloring.Lollipop Ponds - Step 34. Immediately, pour onto the Silicone baking mats, creating irregular-pond shapes. Set aside for drying, about 10 minutes.Lollipop Ponds - Step 4Have fun decorating your gingerbread houses!Lollipop Ponds - Step 5


Homecoming Means Football, Friends And Tailgate Parties

Homecoming Means Football, Friends And Tailgate Parties

Homecoming means football, friends and tailgate parties. It’s a special time for friends and family!

For me, homecoming means a big family reunion. Our family reunions created so many happy moments. Little did I know, but years later these moments would become my fondest memories. 

A Celebration Of Love And Connection

My Texas family reunions were down on the Hornsby Bend in Austin Texas.  We celebrated with of potluck dishes, story telling, and kids playing.

Family reunions were a time to focus on our family. The reunions kept our families connected. Our family history was shared by adults passing along favorite stories to the next generation. Some stories reached back seven generations.

Early Texas settlers

In 1832, my ancestors, early Texas settlers, Reuben and Sarah Hornsby, along with their six children traveled on the steamboat Pocahontas from Mississippi to Matagorda Bay, and settled in present day, Travis County. Reuben surveyed land for Stephen F. Austin. In exchange for his work, Reuben and Sarah were granted 3,200 acres of land on the Colorado River, Hornsby Bend.


I’ve been thinking about these extraordinary people a lot these past days. The story of the early Texas settlers resonates for me and what our our country has gone through these last years. The early Texas settlers endured many hardships. They made it and we can too!

Favorite Potluck  Dishes

  • Deviled Eggs
  • King Ranch Casserole
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Fried Catfish
  • Fried Chicken
  • Potato Salad
  • Baked Beans
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Sunday Dinner Rolls
  • Cobblers
  • Cakes 

I hope that your celebrations will be fun, creative and safe in accordance with the guidelines and conditions in your location. Long after COVID-19is behind us, these will be some of our fondest memories. 

I am looking forward to sharing My Texas Kitchen’s potluck recipes. Stay tuned!


Autumn Skies And Apple Pies

Autumn Skies And Apple Pies

Autumn skies and apple pies . . . it’s a favorite time for year for pie baking!

Recently, I discovered a new apple pie recipe by an influential American painter, Jackson Pollock. His pie became famous in the local community of Springs when it won first prize in the local Fisherman’s Fair. Every year, Pollock auctioned his signature apple pie at Ashawagh Hall. Over the years, his pie reputation grew. People would bid on it ahead of time. Often, is was already sold before the event.

As for a flaky crust, Mary Fannie Woodruff’s Crisco-based pie crust cannot be beat.  Down a Virginia country road, Woodruff’s Pies has been around for over 60 years. Mary Fannie, aka “Mama Woodruff” greets her customers. Coconut custard, lemon chess, buttermilk, blueberry buttermilk, lemon meringue pie, blueberry crumble and holiday pies are on the menu. Selling hundreds a week, the family-owned pie shop is popular among students from nearby colleges as well as locals. 

What are the best apples to make an apple pie with?

  • Granny Smith
  • Honey Crisp
  • Golden Delicious
  • Northern Spy
  • Braeburn
  • Jonagold

Autumn skies and apple pies . . . bake one today!

Apple Pie

The ultimate All-American apple pie recipe. Inspired by Jackson Pollock's signature apple pie, it's delicious any time of year and especially fun to make in autumn. Adapted from Jackson Pollock and Mary Fannie Woodruff recipes.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 T. unsalted butter, chilled in the refrigerator and cut in small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Apple Pie Filling: 4 pound granny smith apples, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg and 1 T. instant mixing or "gravy" flour

Egg wash: 1 large egg, lightly beaten and 1 T. sugar


  1. To make the pie crust:

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Use a pastry cutter, cut in the Crisco and butter until the mixture looks uniform and crumbly, about 8 minutes.

  2. Mix egg and vinegar with 1/2 cup cold water. Sprinkle egg mixture into flour a few tablespoons at a time, lightly stirring in with a wide rubber spatula. Turn out onto a silicone baking mat, gently knead a few times to bring the mixture to a smooth ball, being careful not to over work the dough.

  3. Cut the dough into four pieces. Flatten each piece, wrap tightly in plastic and chill for at least 1/2 hour or overnight.

  4. To prepare the filling:

    Peel, core and thinly slice apples.

  5. Add the apples, sugar, water, and spices to a large skillet. Gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, just until soft. Drain the apples, reserving the juice. Chill the apples. Reduce the cooking liquid. Sift the flour over the apples and gently toss. Set aside.

    This can be done the day before.

  6. To assemble the pie:

    Preheat oven to 450ºF.

    On a lightly-floured silicone baking mat, roll our the dough. Roll from the center out. Rotate the crust often, checking to be sure that the silicone baking mat is floured to prevent the dough from sticking.

  7. Place the pastry in a 10-inch round pie dish, allowing the pastry to hang over the side of the dish by about 1".

  8. Add the apple mixture into the pie shell and distribute evenly.

  9. Option 1:

    Roll out another piece of dough, cut into 1/2" strips, weave strips across the top of the filling. Brush lattice strips with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

    Option 2:

    Roll out another piece of dough, slide the pastry sheet onto a rolling pin, and unroll it on top of the apple pie filling. Allow the crust to overhang the edge of the dish by 1", trim away excess dough, pinch the top and bottom crust together all around the rim to seal the pie. Slice a few openings with a knife to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

  10. To bake the pie:

    Place the pie in the center of the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 325ºF and bake for 40 to 45 minutes more. If the pie is browning too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil.

Black Beans Are Easy To Fix

Black Beans Are Easy To Fix

“Black Beans are easy to fix, high in protein and fiber, valued as a cholesterol buster, and useful in hundreds of dishes.”

Laurie Colwin –  More Home Cooking 

Black beans, also known as turtle beans, are the ingredient of choice for today’s Meatless Monday recipe. Blended with vegetables and spices, they offer natural, healthy plant-based meal.Dried Kombu

Secret Ingredient:

  • Recently, I read in the Wall Street Journal about adding dried kombu, an umami-rich kelp. It rounds out the flavors!

With so many ‘plant-based’ choices, it is easy to be overwhelmed in the grocery store. For clarity on the myths and facts of meat consumption, Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter is reliable. 

Black beans are easy to fix!

Key West Black Beans

Delicious and a great dish for Meatless Monday!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours


  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 (4-by-4) square dried kombu, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 t. dried cumin
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar

Cooked white rice

Cuban bread


  1. Spread beans out on a cookie sheet and remove any foreign particles. Look out for small black stones that resemble the beans. Rinse the beans in cold water two or three times, stirring by hand. Do not soak, as the new varieties of beans do not need it.

  2. In a large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and bell peppers until wilted but not brown. Add the garlic, cook for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the beans, 2 tablespoons olive oil, kombu, bay leaves, cumin, and thyme. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans cook through, about 3 hours. Beans should be soft and just starting to fall apart.

  3. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

    Season generously with salt.

    Add vinegar and sugar just before serving.

  4. Serve on rice.