Sift flour, 1 cup sugar adn salt together. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If using oil, stir oil into liquid ingredients after adding the egg.
Dissolve yeast in warm water, stir vigorously, and allow to ferment for 5 to 10 minutes. Then add the egg and anise extract or aniseeds.
Add a small quantity of the flour mixture to the yeast and beat until thoroughly blended. Let stand for a few minutes, or until dough becomes light and airy.
Add the rest of the flour mixture, adding more flour if necessary to make a stiff dough. Knead on a lightly floured board until satiny.
Butter the top of the dough, cover with wax paper and let rise until doubled.
When the bread has risen, punch it down, and let it rise until doubled again.
Knead the dough slightly, then form into balls the size of an orange. With a rolling pin, flatten to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
Prepare a topping by mixing together the melted butter, remaining 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Spread topping on all sides of the rolls.
Let rolls rise until light and about doubled in size. When nearly doubled, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Slice thinly and butter generously with soft butter. Arrange slices on a platter as desired. They will keep for 2 to 3 days at room temperature when well wrapped.
Maximum recommended freezer storage: 3 months
Makes 8 to 10 small loaves.