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


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.

Sweet As A Candy Apple

Sweet As A Candy Apple

Sweet as a candy apple . . . and so much fun to make! 

Staying home for Halloween? No worries.

Enjoy some time in your kitchen with your family. Candy Apples is an extraordinary culinary project. If you can boil water, you can make Candy Apples. With just a few more ingredients, craft sticks, a candy thermometer and a pastry brush, you can transform delicious red apples into a culinary dream!

Special Equipment:

Before:How to make Candy Apple

After:Candy Apples

Candy Apples

For a special treat make some Candy Apples for Halloween! You will be surprised how easy they are to make.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 1 package craft sticks - purchased at craft store
  • 1 dozen small red apples
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon candies
  • 1/2 t. red food color


  1. Wash the apples. Remove the stems. Set aside to dry

  2. Insert a wooden stick part way through stem end of apples.

    Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.


    Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

  3. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, cinnamon candies and red food color. Over a medium-high heat, heat the mixture to a boiling.

    Do not stir. With a brush dipped in hot water, occasionally, brush the sugar from the sides of the pan. (This prevents crystals from forming.)

  4. Boil the mixture until it reaches 290ºF, about 20 minutes.

  5. When cooked, remove from heat. Tip the saucepan; swirl each apple in the mixture, coating all sides. Lift the apple out of the syrup, swirl it around, allowing excess syrup to fall back into the pan.

  6. Place the coated apples on the prepared cookie sheet or silicone baking mat lined cookie sheet.

    Work quickly, dipping each apple before the mixture hardens.

  7. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

    Display on a cake stand or a serving tray.

Refrigerate apples to prevent listeria.




The Next Best Thing To Being In New Orleans

The Next Best Thing To Being In New Orleans

The next best thing to being in New Orleans is cooking your favorite creole cuisine at home. Grillades and Grits is New Orleans quintessential choice for breakfast or brunch. Grillades and Grits, pronounced “gree-yahds”, are medallions of various meats, usually veal or pork. They are slow-cooked in a tomato gravy, the “trinity”(onions, celery and green pepper) plus plenty of garlic. Smooth, rich, cheesy grits and fluffy biscuits are the perfect sides.Grillades and Grits

Grillades and Grits:

  1. Cut the meat into medallions.
  2. Pound flat.
  3. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  4. Dredge with flour.
  5. In a heavy-bottom skillet, brown the medallions. Set aside.
  6. Sauté the “trinity”, onions, bell pepper, and celery, add 1 tablespoon minced garlic.
  7. Add homemade beef stock. 
  8. Add the browned medallions and bay leaves.
  9. Simmer for 1 hour.
  10. Cook the cheese grits.
  11. Remove the bay leaves.
  12. Serve with cheese grits and crusty French bread.

Grillades and Grits are a popular dish at Mr. B’s in the French Quarter. 

The next best thing to being in New Orleans . . . make some Grillades and Grits for supper tonight!

Grillades and Grits

A classic brunch dish in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Enriched with creole flavors this is comfort food at its best!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 pounds veal round steak, about 1/2" thick
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t. thyme
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 t. dried basil
  • 1 bunch green onions, green part only, chopped
  • 3 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped

Baked cheese grits


  1. Combine the salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Set aside.

  2. Cut the meat into 2" squares. With a mallet, pound each piece of meat until slightly flattened.

    Sprinkle with seasoning mix and dredge in the flour. Shake off excess flour. Turn pieces of meat over and repeat the process.

  3. In a large cast-iron pot or enameled cast-iron, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meat several pieces at a time and brown evenly on both sides, being careful not to overcrowd. Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate. When all of the meat is browned, set aside.

  4. Remove any burnt drippings from the pan, add the oil. When hot, add the onions, bell pepper and celery, cook, stirring occasionally, in oil until vegetables are wilted, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes.

  5. Return the browned meat to the large heavy pot, add the beef broth, sautéd vegetables, wine, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and basil.

    Reduce heat to a medium, simmer partially covered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the cheese grits.

  7. When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves, add the green onions and parsley.

    Taste. Add seasonings if necessary.

  8. Serve with cheese grits and biscuits.