Today's spice is: fennel seeds!
I wanted a recipe that would really let the flavor of the fennel shine through, and I instantly thought of these excellent treats we had in Southern Italy this summer - called Taralli. I thought of them as some sort of cracker, but when I started looking for recipes online, everyone was calling them "Italian Pretzels." That's because you boil them first, then bake them... just like pretzels. You can call them whatever you want, I'll just keep calling them into my belly.
Taralli come in sweet varieties and savory varieties, but evidently this fennel flavor is a true classic. These crispy little monsters are lightly yeasted and have a little black pepper and a lot of fennel in them. Here is the recipe I used, from the Wild Yeast blog. I love the fennel hit you get with each bite... it's really a clear flavor in these crunchy snacks. Also, taralli are good because they last quite a while after you make them. So, as long as you can prevent yourself from eating the whole bag in one sitting, you'll have snacks on hand for a few weeks!
(baker's tip: hide the taralli from your boyfriend!)