In a medium saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and anise seeds. Over medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Regulate the heat so that the mixture is simmering, then cook for about 20 minutes, until it has reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. Set the syrup aside to cool.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, salt, anise seeds, and lard and bring to a boil. When the lard has melted and the liquid is boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the flour all at once. Return to the heat and continue stirring for a minute or 2 until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Again remove from the heat and add the eggs, beating well after each addition. The dough should be very soft and only just hold its shape. Lastly, mix the baking powder into the dough. In a large heavy skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of oil until it is smoking. Flour your hands well and break off a piece of dough. Roll it into a ball about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Place the ball on your fingers and flatten to a cake about 3/4-inch thick. With your finger, push a large hole into the center of the dough. Make 3 more bunuelos and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes, turning over when one side is golden. While the first batch of bunuelos is frying, make 4 more and repeat until they are all cooked. You should have about 12 small bunuelos. Drain on paper towels until you have finished cooking them, then place 2 bunuelos in each of 6 warm bowls and drizzle the syrup over them.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved