In large mixer bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Add eggs; blend well.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly.
Chill until dough is firm enough to handle.
To shape teddy bears, form: a 1 to 1 1/2 inch ball of dough for the body; a 3/4 - to 1-inch ball for the head; four 1/2-inch balls for arms and legs; two smaller balls for ears; one tiny ball for nose and four tiny balls for paws (optional).
On ungreased cookie sheet, flatten large ball slightly for body. Attach medium-size ball for head by overlapping slightly onto body. Place balls for arms, legs and ears, and a tiny ball on head for nose. Arrange other tiny balls atop ends of legs
and arms for paws, if desired.
With wooden pick, draw eyes and mouth; pierce small hole at top of cookie for use as hanging ornament, if desired.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until set.
Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.
Store in covered container.
* Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.
If cookies will be used as ornaments, allow to dry on wire rack at least 6 hours
before hanging. Pull ribbon through hole for hanging.