Preheat oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Heat honey and sugar in a pan over low heat. Pour into a mixing bowl, add vanilla essence, egg and rum and beat until fluffy.
Stir flours, baking powder, salt, spices and rind into the honey mixture. Knead well and form into a ball.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out 1 cm thick. Use a variety of Christmas-themed biscuit cutters and cut out about 100 biscuits.
Place biscuits about 1 cm apart on the trays. Brush with cream, then decorate with the glacé cherries, almonds and cachous. Use a knitting needle to make holes in the cookies you intend to hang on the Christmas tree; don't make them too small as they will close up a little during cooking.
Bake for 20–25 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to harden for a short time while still on the trays. Then lift carefully with a palette knife and cool completely on a wire rack.
Thread coloured ribbon through the biscuits that are to decorate the tree. Store the remainder in air-tight tins or freezer containers so they do not become moist and soft.
Experiment with different types of honey. Those with a strong flavour work particularly well. If honey has turned solid in the jar, place the jar in hot water. Make sure the water is no hotter than 30°C, as overheating the honey causes the loss of important nutrients.
Christmas shapes they may be, but biscuits they aren't. Rock shapes would be a better description. There is no shortening in the recipe, perhaps that is why they don't work! These may make pretty decorations if you spent the time and effort, but as for biscuits, not worth the effort and clean up! - 23 Sep 2010