I also didn't dip the rolls into boiling water and I made them simple round rolls. Turned out great!
Four stars only because i was afraid to do the dipping in the hot water. They are so tender when they have risen and i was afraid i would deflate them. I baked them anyway and they were wonder...
I used all whole wheat flour, changed the sugar to 2/3 cup of honey, changed the shortening to oil, and upped the anise seeds to 4 tsp. All of this is due to family preference. What a delightf...
I skipped the boiled water dipping and brushed with a yolk wash then pushed brown sugar ontop and the result was amazing. They all disappeared immeadiately and everyone came back for seconds!