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In the middle ages, the Brigidine Nuns of Lamporecchio, who made the communion wafers for the Diocese of Pistoia, would add anise and honey to the batter to make something special for the Carnival season. The wafers were very popular, and are now staple fare at all out-door attractions, where they're made by steam-belching brigidini makers that are fun to watch.

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 heaping tablespoon anise seed
  • A pinch of salt
  • A dash of vanilla extract (optional)
  • A brigidino press or a waffle iron with flat plates

Beat the eggs until frothy, then beat in the sugar and the anise seed, and work in the flour, salt, and vanilla. The dough should be fairly firm.

Heat the press until the plates are hot but not scorching (a drop of water should dance about on one), put a teaspoon of dough on one of the plates, and press the plates together until the brigidino is done, at which point it should be quite crunchy. Yield: about 30 brigidini.

Incidentally, it seems that in times past the Brigidine nuns were a fun loving lot. When the ruins of their convent outside Florence were excavated, a secret passage was found leading from the ovens to the cellars of a brother monastery.