Cheesy Apple-Pepper Scones


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 medium McIntosh apple, peeled, cored, cut into ½” pieces

  • 1 cup cake flour

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ tsp. baking soda

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 4 oz. finely grated sharp VT cheddar

  • 1¼ cups cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing


  1. Chill butter in freezer until very cold and hard, 15–20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, spread sugar in a medium skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally from the outside edge toward the center, until sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup turns deep amber in color, about 3 minutes more. Carefully add apples to pan and spread in a single layer. Remove pan from heat and let sit until apples release some juices, absorb the caramel, and cool, about 30 minutes. Some sugar will crystallize, don’t worry, it’s supposed to.

  3. Preheat oven to 400˚. Scrape apples into a fine-mesh sieve to drain excess caramel.

  4. Pulse cake flour, salt, baking powder, pepper, baking soda, and 2¼ cups all-purpose flour in a food processor to combine. Add frozen butter and pulse until butter is in large pea-size pieces. Do not over-process—visible pieces of butter will result in light, flaky layers.

  5. Transfer dough to a large bowl. Add drained apples and cheese. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine. Form a well in the center and pour in 1¼ cups cream. Mix with spatula until cream is incorporated and flour is hydrated but dough is still shaggy.

  6. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and press together with your hands just until it forms one rough piece. Do not knead. Lightly dust work surface and dough with flour. Roll dough to an 8×8″ square. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into quarters (four 4×4″ squares), then cut each quarter into four 2×2″ squares. You should have 16 squares. Cut each square in half on a diagonal to make 32 triangles. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, spacing 1″ apart. Brush tops with cream.

  7. Bake scones, rotating pan halfway through, until tops are light golden brown, 18–20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Do Ahead: Unbaked scones can be formed 1 week ahead. Tightly wrap with plastic and freeze. To reheat, brush with cream as instructed and increase bake time to 20–25 minutes.

| Adapted from Bon Appetit / Yewande Komolafe