1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups Italian 00 flour* or cake flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons anise seeds
Scant 1/2 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking sheets
2/3 cup warm water
3 tablespoons raw sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
All-purpose flour, for the work surface
1 large egg white, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 420°F (215°C).
2. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and anise seeds in a bowl. Set aside. Pour the olive oil into a measuring cup or another bowl with the water, then add the sugar and yeast and mix well. Set aside for a few minutes for the yeast to become frothy.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and slowly pour in the yeast mixture, using a fork to gradually mix in the flour. When everything starts to come together, use your hands to mix it into a lovely, smooth dough. If the dough is sticky as heck, add some or all of the remaining flour, a little at a time, until a smooth dough forms.
4. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets, then dust them with confectioners’ sugar. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin with all-purpose flour. Divide your dough into 12 equal-size pieces and shape each one into a ball, then roll out each ball until it’s almost translucent and about 5 inches in diameter. Place each torta on a baking sheet and lightly brush with some beaten egg white. Dust the biscuits lightly with confectioners’ sugar and then scatter a little raw sugar.
5. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Watch the tortas closely as they can burn in seconds. Immediately transfer the tortas to wire racks to cool for as long as you can resist tucking in. The tortas sorta flake and crumble as you take a bite, and will then quickly dissolve into sweet nothingness within a matter of seconds. So lovely.
*00 FLOUR NOTE
Look for 00 flour at Italian delis and markets, specialty stores, and some grocery stores.