- ¼ cup half-and-half
- ⅓ cup butter
- ¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons anise seed
- 3 cups, plus additional for kneading, all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1-2 teaspoons orange zest
- Cooking spray
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- In a medium sized saucepan, over medium heat add the half-and-half and butter. When the butter melts, remove from the heat and add the warm water.
- If you have a mortar and pestle pestle place 1 ½ teaspoons anise seed in the mortar and grind with the pestle. If you don’t then you will be using 2 teaspoons of anise seed.
- In a large bowl combine the anise seed, 1 cup flour, yeast, salt, ¼ cup sugar and mix. Add the warmed half-and-half mixture, eggs, and orange zest. Combine.
- Add additional flour slowly, ½ cup at a time, while mixing until the dough is soft.
- Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. If dough gets sticky, sprinkle with a dusting of flour then continue to knead.
- Spray a medium sized bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and lightly spray the dough with the cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, or a kitchen towel, until the dough doubles in size, about 1-2 hours.. (Note: if the area is cold it will take longer)
- When it has doubled in size punch it down and shape it. (I did the shape as a skull, but there are many different shapes that are used, just do an internet search)
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with the cooking spray and place the shaped dough on the sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, or a kitchen towel. Let it rise for 1-1 ½ hour(s) until it has doubled its shape again.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit then place the baking sheet in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and place on a wire rack, with a baking sheet underneath.
- While the bread is cooling, in a saucepan over high heat add the orange juice and ⅓ cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. Brush the mixture over the bread.
NOTE: I added 1 maraschino cherry, cut in half, and almonds for teeth, to accentuate the skull design, but that is not necessary.