"My great-great-aunt Josie created this recipe and handed it down through the family. The anise seed and anisette give it an authentic Italian flavor. A bit labor intensive, but they are so worth it! Great for dunking in tea or coffee, or just munching on. I double the recipe and give them out for Christmas every year."
Beat sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in walnuts, oil, anisette liqueur, brandy, and anise seeds. Fold in flour and baking powder until dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and chill, about 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Use greased hands to shape half the dough into a 1 1/2-inch-wide log on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough on second baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven, switching baking sheets halfway through, until dough is pale golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool until easily handled, about 5 minutes.
Transfer logs to a cutting board and slice into 1-inch pieces at a 45-degree angle using a sharp or serrated knife. Arrange slices on their sides on the baking sheets.
Bake again in the preheated oven, flipping slices over halfway through, until lightly browned, about 14 minutes.