This is her own family recipe that she brought with her from Calabria, Italy and passed on to my grandma who gave it to my mother who bequeathed it to me. Please note that proportions used in my demonstration are 1/4 the size of the original recipe.
1/4 cup of sugar (or 1/2 cup to double)
just under 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (or 3/4 cup)
3 eggs (or 6 eggs)
1/2 tablespoon of anisette flavoring (or 1 T)
1 3/4 cups of sifted white flour (or 3 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons of baking powder (or 6 T) - no, that's not a typo!
half a pinch of salt (or a full pinch to double)
Beat sugar and oil for 2 minutes or so. Incorporate eggs one at a time with a whisk. Be thorough here - you want a light and bubbly yellow mixture when you are done. Add the anisette. Then add salt and dry ingredients mixing lightly. Traditionally you roll little snakes of dough in flour (its a sticky process) and roll the snakes into elaborate knots, but my lovely assistant does not like this process, so balls will do in a pinch for time. Bake on a lined sheet for 5 - 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I make a simple icing of butter, icing sugar, milk, a little bit of red food coloring and heavy on the anisette extract because I can't get enough of the taste.
Some cooks add candied lemon peel to the batter and crushed unsalted pistachios on top after icing. These little gems are meant to be prepared for family celebrations and served with spumoni gelato. Mmm.