Line a 9 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil; set aside.
In a heavy 3 quart saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and salt; mix well. Carefully clip a candy thermometer to side of the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the candy thermometer registers 244° at the firm-ball stage.
The mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Reaching firm-ball stage should take 15 to 20 minutes. Stay with this with your eye on the temperature, this 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 about 81 pieces.
To wrap these caramels:
Tear off 6-inch strips of waxed paper; cut each strip into 4 inch widths, making pieces 6 x 4 inches. Roll caramel in length of paper; fold flaps under.
You'll find black and red paste for coloring these candies in specialty and cake-decorating stores.