Cheddar and Black Pepper Scones

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Cheddar and Black Pepper Scones

star rating (8) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Scones, formerly known mainly to fanciers of British food, have become very familiar to most of us on this side of the ocean, due to their bakery and coffee-shop popularity over the past 5 years or so. Wedges, squares or circles of a buttery biscuit-type dough, baked quickly at high heat till golden brown, scones usually come plain or dotted with fruit or nuts. Spread with butter and jam or preserves, they've become a staple at breakfast and tea time.

But scones needn't be thought of as simply a sweet treat. Offer a savory version in the bread basket at your main meal. They're very similar to baking powder biscuits, and are easily seasoned to go with whatever you're serving.

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper*
3/4 cup (6 ounces) buttermilk or plain yogurt
milk (for glaze)

*This amount of black pepper will make very spicy scones. For less heat, decrease the amount of pepper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter and cheese. Stir in the black pepper. Refrigerate the dough for half an hour. Gently stir in the buttermilk or yogurt. Gather the mixture into a ball with your hands, and on a well-floured surface roll or pat the dough into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle approximately 3/4-inch thick.

Grease a baking sheet. Using a large spatula, or a couple of spatulas, transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Use a dough scraper, baker's bench knife or a knife to cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Separate the squares slightly on the baking sheet. Brush each square with a little milk.

Bake the scones in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they're very lightly browned. Yield: about 40 small scones.

Nutrition information per serving (2 scones, 42g): 132 cal, 6.4g fat, 4g protein, 14g complex carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 19mg cholesterol, 302mg sodium, 48mg potassium, 62RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 159mg calcium, 81mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 3, January-February 1992 issue.


  • star rating 10/07/2013
  • Katie-Gray from Seattle
  • Fabulous. i used King Arthur's gluten-free flour (my personal favorite gf combination) and it worked quite well. Instead of buttermilk i used full fat kefir. They were incredibly satisfying on a chilly Seattle morning. Tonight i will serve them with butternut squash soup.
  • star rating 10/04/2013
  • Alissa from Canada
  • I made these with my tornado-child whirling around and halved the recipe but added the original amount of baking soda and salt by accident. I also needed much more liquid to make the dough stick together. I used maybe half the amount of pepper? I used fresh ground so not quite sure how much I added. And i used coarse grated parmesan instead of cheddar.. they were outstanding. Also I didn't bother chilling my dough and they came out fabulous. You do need a sharp cheese to stand up to the pepper :)
  • star rating 10/26/2011
  • martykuki from KAF Community
  • A wonderful scone--I've made these twice just in the last week, because we don't want to get caught without some for tea. The combination of lots of black pepper and cheese results in a flavor which is a lovely synthesis of both, and a bit more than either alone (I do have to admit to being a lover of black pepper). I have been substituting buttermilk for the liquid, and consistently must add more than the 3/4 cup of liquid called for in the recipe--but it still comes out great!
  • star rating 03/11/2011
  • Chris from Maryland
  • I used sharp aged cheddar and a couple teaspoons of pepper, and cut the butter into the flour by throwing them into a food processor. These were very good but I did have to add in a little extra buttermilk to get the dough to stick together. I will definitely make again.
  • star rating 12/04/2010
  • A cook from Brooklyn, NY
  • I make this with parmesan cheese. Wonderful!
  • star rating 12/31/2009
  • Roberta from Indiana
  • Delicious. I used a strong aged cheddar and these were outstanding.
  • star rating 05/27/2009
  • Beth from VA
  • I suppose if you love black pepper, you would like this, but the pepper was so strong that it overwhelmed any taste of the cheese. My husband had no idea these contained cheese until I told him. These scones might be okay on a cold rainy day to accompany soup, but King Arthur Flour certainly has better recipes out there. I doubt if I will be making these again.
  • star rating 03/24/2009
  • Kristina from Australia
  • This is one tasty scone. i served it alongside roast chicken and it was amazing,