1 pound dark brown sugar (or two cups of molasses)
1/2 cup water
1/4 orange rind
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cold
3 egg yolks
5 tablespoons anise water (essence)
In a large soup pot, bring sugar (or molasses), water, orange rind and cloves to boil. Simmer for 40 minutes until mixture forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water or reaches 238° F (113° C) on a candy thermometer. Cool.
While the syrup is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the salt into the flour. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the egg yolks and aniseed water. Knead dough until soft. Take small portions of dough and roll on a lightly floured surface, into sticks about 1/2 x 9 inches.
Transfer sticks to a greased baking sheet, placing them 1 inch apart. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool. Place sticks on a serving dish in one layer. Pour cold syrup on top. Place a second layer of sticks crosswise and pour syrup. Repeat a third layer and cover with the rest of syrup. Decorate with tiny candy of different colors.