Anise Hard Candy

1 1/2 teaspoons butter, softened (NO SUBSTITUTES)
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon anise extract
Red food coloring
2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan with 1 1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine water, corn syrup and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve any sugar crystals. Uncover; cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees F (hard crack stage).

Remove from heat; stir in anise extract and food coloring (keep face away from mixture as odor is very strong). Pour into prepared pan. Using a sharp knife, score into 3/4-inch squares. Cool.

Separate into squares, using a sharp knife, if necessary. Place confectioners' sugar in a baking pan; add candy and roll until coated. Brush off excess sugar with a pastry brush. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Yields about 8 dozen (1 pound).