gruyere and black pepper scones


For pretty much all of high school and most of college, my go-to pastry order from Starbucks was the maple oat nut scone. It was incredible – nutty, crumbly and iced with a delicious maple glaze – the perfect amount of sweetness for an otherwise not overly sweet pastry. When I studied abroad in Italy, my friends Alisa and Brenda and I would reminisce on the many “American” dishes we craved that were virtually unavailable in Italy at the time – good Mexican food, New York style bagels…Strangely enough, one of the things I missed the most about the U.S. was this silly scone from Starbucks {I realize how ridiculous this sounds when we had incredible Italian food at our fingertips, but it’s strange what you miss when you are away from home}. When Brenda’s then boyfriend {now husband} came to visit her, he greeted us bearing gifts – a maple oat nut scone for me, and a lemon poppyseed scone for Alisa.  It was one of the most amazing food moments I have ever experienced – I was so touched by the thoughtfulness and somehow eating the scone out of the brown paper wrapper was the most perfect cure for homesickness…

Although I don’t consume scones as much as I used to, I am still a sucker for them, when done well. And being a salt fiend, when my sister mentioned cheddar and black pepper scones that she picked up from her neighborhood baker, Baker and Banker, I was inspired to create my own savory scones, substituting Gruyere for the cheddar cheese. The kick of the freshly ground black pepper is lovely and somewhat unexpected. Sprinkled with flaky Maldon sea salt, these are the perfect morning pastry for the salt {and pepper} lovers in your life.




  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ c (1 ½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 c. grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ c. plus 1 tbsp. chilled half and half
  • Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt, if desired

Preheat oven to 400º.   Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lightly beat egg and add 1/2 teaspoon water.  Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in large bowl.  Add chilled butter; using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms.  Mix in cheese and black pepper.  Add the half and half.  Toss with fork until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more half and half if dough is dry.  Gather dough into ball; divide in half.  Press out each half on floured surface to a 6″ diameter (1″ high) round.  Cut each round into 6 wedges or with a 2″ round cutter.  Transfer to plate or rack; brush with beaten egg wash.  Sprinkle each scone with sea salt, if desired. Place on baking sheet and bake until golden, about 18 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 12.






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20 Responses to gruyere and black pepper scones

  1. chef mimi says:

    I don’t love scones or shortbread because of the dryness, but yours look divine. And you can’t beat gruyere for flavor!

  2. These are wonderful. I really like the shape and size. I love scones but they always seem to be so large and I can never a whole one. Yours turned out perfect and I love the peonies!

  3. These sound heavenly!

  4. Chelsea says:

    ooooh yum! I’m imagining these halved, with a slice of prosciutto, a dollop of fig compote, and maybe a few leaves of arugula folded into the middle.

  5. Vanessa says:

    These sound AMAZING. Now I just want to make a rich, indulgent soup to pair them with!

  6. laurasmess says:

    Beautiful. I hardly ever bake scones (actually, it’s almost a ‘never’! I need to correct that!) but this gorgeous recipe is definitely reason enough to get baking! I’ve never tried a Starbuck’s scone, but the maple oat nut scone sounds delicious. It’s funny how some ‘normal’ or average foods get stuck in our psyche as symbols of ‘home’. For me, it’s these vegemite and cheese ‘scrolls’ that our bakeries sell in Australia. It’s the most average of Australian combinations but it speaks of comfort and home to me. Lovely photos as always! xoxo

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Oooh – the scrolls sound amazing! My fiance is obsessed with Marmite, so I can understand the nostalgia of vegemite, but unfortunately just can’t get behind it! Which is bizarre because I love salty things…Maybe I just have to work up to it! xoxo

  7. Brittany says:

    These look amazing – can’t wait to try them!

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  9. Lori Overson says:

    Lori says: These look great! I’ve been trying to recreate an incredible scone that I would treat myself to on Fridays from Alon’s Bakery in Atlanta, Georgia. The scones were cut into very generous triangles and topped with poppy seeds. My best guess has been that there was pepper as well as the gruyere cheese in the scones. The salt on top sounds good too!

  10. Ashley says:

    these are the BEST! I’ve made them multiple times and they always turn out great! We do always need quite a bit more half and half than the recipe calls for but they always turn out perfect. Thanks for sharing!!

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