Fruit Compote

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup red wine
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 pints fresh or frozen berries of your choice

Combine sugar, wine, cinnamon, and orange zest, bring to a boil, and pour over berries. Refrigerate overnight.

Royal Icing

2 egg whites
1 pound (3 1/2 to 4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a mixer beat egg whites, half the sugar, and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly add remaining sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Food coloring may be added while beating.

Cookies and Ice Cream

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
6 individual servings Blue Bell vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt together. In a mixer blend butter and sugar until creamy. Slowly add molasses. Add flour mixture in small amounts, alternating with milk, until thoroughly blended. If necessary, add water a tablespoon at a time (dough should be fairly stiff, however). Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then roll out 3/8 inch thick. Cut out 12 four-inch-tall trees and 6 three-inch circles. Bake 15 minutes. Cut 6 trees in half lengthwise while warm. Let all cookies cool. Ice the tops of the circular cookies and the cut edges of the half-trees. While icing is still moist, use it as glue to attach 2 half-trees to the opposite sides of each whole tree, at right angles; then set finished trees on top of iced circular cookies. Let dry; decorate with icing as desired.

To serve, unmold ice cream by briefly running warm water on bottom of containers. Invert on dessert plates. Stand one cookie tree on top of each ice cream base and spoon fruit compote around bottom. Serve immediately. Serves 6.