This is a German recipe that has been in our family for years and a part of our Christmas tradition. Over the years I've made some substitutions and found the recipe accommodating. I like to substitute dried currants and other dried fruits for some of the candied fruit. The cookies are best after they have aged in a sealed plastic container for several days, and they will keep for weeks at room temperature in the plastic container. They are sweet, spicy, soft, and chewy. The transparent glaze makes them pretty and I've gotten creative with using rum or bourbon instead of water and vanilla, you can also play with food color. These cookies are easier to bake if you use the silicone baking sheets or parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to the pan.