The recipe comes from this cookbook, which was a gift to me on my 5th birthday. If you look closely, you can see the mustache one of my cousins drew on the brunette. Helpful, huh? (Is that supposed to be the mom, or just an older sister? She looks so young!).
Here's the photo that sold me on the cookies as a 5-year-old.
After you cut the cookies out and put them on the baking sheet, you paint them with paint made from egg yolks and food coloring. They are at their prettiest before they are baked (hence the photo only shows them before baking).
When they bake, they rise, and they aren't quite as attractive afterwards. They are still pretty, though. They are also a great excuse to collect cookie cutters in lots of interesting shapes.
The blob in the upper right is supposed be a dove. And what does a fish have to do with Christmas? Nothing, but he sure was fun to paint!
They also look quite festive, all in a pile. They have an unusual honey taste, which I like but hasn't been a big hit with anyone else, as far as I know. More fun to make than they are to eat, to paraphrase an old saying.
If you have children or grandchildren, these are your ticket to holiday fun. Trust me.
Mix thoroughly: 1/3 cup softened butter, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2/3 cup honey, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Stir in: 2 & 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll half of dough out on a floured pastry cloth, using a floured, covered rolling pin. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes and put onto a greased (or parchment-covered) baking sheet. Repeat with other half of dough, working quickly so it stays cold or it will get very sticky.
Paint designs with egg yolk paint (for each color: 1 egg yolk, 1/4 teaspoon water, and food coloring as desired).
Bake 8 to 10 minutes. For clear colors, do not let cookies brown.