FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH: Sift flour with baking powder into a wide bowl. form a well in flour. To this add butter, cut into small pieces, 1 beaten egg, vanilla, sugar and cream. Work ingredients together with your fingertips until you have a smooth dough that sticks together. Form a ball, wrap in waxed paper and chill 30 minutes.
The pretzel shape has particular significance at Christmas, as it is derived from a pagan calendar symbol marking the winter solstice--a circle representing the sun's course, with a dot in the center representing the earth. When this was made as a cookie, the dot became a cross; and when it was later made of one strip of rolled dough, it assumed the shape of the pretzel as we know it.
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