In a heavy 3 quart saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and salt; mix well. Line a 9 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over he edges of the pan. Butter the foil; Carefully clip a candy thermometer to side of the pan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently; till candy thermometer registers 244; firm-ball stage.
The mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate overentire surface. Reaching firm-ball stage should take 15 to 20 minutes. (Mixture scorches easily.) Remove from heat; remove candy thermometer from saucepan. Add anise extract and coloring, stir to mix.
Quickly pour candy, without scraping into the buttered-foil-lined pan. Cool for several hours or till firm. Use foil to lift candy out of pan onto cutting board. Peel foil away; discard. With a buttered sharp knife, cut immediately
into 1-inch squares; wrap individually in waxed paper., Makes 81 pieces (about 2-3/4 pounds)
To wrap caramels: Tear off 6-inch strips of waxedpaper; cut each strip into 4 inch widths, making pieces 6 x 4 inches. Roll caramel in length of paper; fold flaps under. Set caramels into gift boxes with flaps underneath. The caramels will pack neatly and stay tightly wrapped.