This recipe is from my German grandmother, and Christmas would not be the same without them. I do find this recipe to be a bit of a challenge. It is a very stiff dough, which I rely on my Kitchenaide to mix for me. My diminutive Grandmother mixed a batch 4 times this size with a wooden spoon. It can also be a bit dry. I add just enough water to get them to roll into balls. These are supposed to be rock hard, melt in your mouth kind of thing. Anise oil is available in specialty stores and on-line.