3 cups water
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 ½ teaspoon anise seeds
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon anise seeds
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
Peanut or vegetable oil (for frying)
White sugar or confectioner’s sugar
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and anise seeds. Over medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Regulate the heat so that the mixture is simmering, then cook for about 20 minutes, until it has reduced to about 1 ¼ cups. Set the syrup aside to cool.
2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, anise seeds, and lard/shortening and bring to a boil. When the lard has melted and the liquid is boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the flour mixture all at once. Return to the heat and continue stirring for a minute or 2 until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Again remove from the heat and add the eggs, beating well after each addition. The dough should be very soft and only just hold its shape.
3. In a large heavy skillet, heat about ½ inch of oil until it is smoking. Flour your hands well and break off a piece of dough. Roll it into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Carefully slip them into the oil. Be sure not to crowd the skillet (cook separate batches, if necessary.) Drain on paper towels until you have finished cooking them, sprinkle white or confectioner’s sugar on them. Serve warm and drizzle the syrup over them.