The recipe for these divide black caramels came from Aunt Leila Ruth, my grandfather's little sister. Mom has made these for as long as I can remember. I grew up stirring the caramel and wrapping them. Convince everyone to try these! Even if they don't love black licorice, they will fall for these little candies.
Line a 9-by-13 inch pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray.
Using some butter, coat the inside of a 4 qt heavy saucepan. Add the sticks of butter, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium-high heat until butter is melted, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium.
Insert a candy thermometer into the pan and continue stirring constantly until the temperature is 244ºF (for sea level. check local temperature adjustments according to your elevation), or medium firm-ball stage. Remove from heat.
Stir in anise oil and black food coloring and pour into prepared pan. Pan will be hot. Transfer to a flat surface and let cool overnight. When caramel sets after a few hours you can wrap the pan in plastic wrap to rest overnight.
Transfer caramel to a clean cutting board and remove any parchment. Cut with a sharp knife into desired sizes. I cut mine about 1/2 inch deep and 1 1/4 inches long. You will get over 100 pieces.
Wrap well in cellophane or waxed paper. Will keep for up to 2 weeks.
These new-fangled silicone spatulas are just the ticket for stirring candy!