These hard Italian biscuits are baked twice, hence their name: bis-cotti. Traditionally they are dipped into a glass of Vin Santo, a Tuscan fortified wine, but they are just as good with a cappuccino or hot chocolate.

Makes about 60, Prep: 10 minutes, Cook: 45 minutes

300g flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
150g sugar
1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper
3 eggs
75g dried cherries
75g shelled pistachio nuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and Szechuan pepper in the mixer bowl with the flat beater on speed 2 for 15 seconds.
  2. Change to the dough hook and knead in the eggs on speed 4 until the dough comes together. Add the cherries and pistachio nuts and continue to knead on speed 2 until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Divide the dough into two portions.
  3. Shape each portion on a lightly floured surface into a 4 to 5 cm wide roll. Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes to firm up, then cut the rolls into 1 cm slices and return these to the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack.