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Cheese and Cracked Pepper Scones

Savory cheddar, parmesan, and pepper scones.

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I’m not much of a baker, but occasionally I come across a recipe that inspires me to fire up my oven and break out the flour canister. Why, then, must my oven be broken when I stumble upon these Cheddar, Parmesan, and Cracked Pepper Scones from Pinch My Salt? As soon as the appliance repair guys pull out of my driveway, I’m making these. The thing that’s got me yearning for them is not the two kinds of cheese, or the spicy hit of hot sauce and black pepper, or the tang of buttermilk. It’s the smoked paprika butter that gets brushed on top. This brilliant crowning touch gives the scones a gorgeous red-orange hue, and I can just imagine how well the slightly sweet, smoky flavor must complement the cheese.

Funny thing about smoked paprika: Just a few years ago, hardly anyone in the U.S. had heard of it and it was nearly impossible to find in stores here. If there wasn’t a gourmet shop in your town, you had to order it from a Spanish food importer, calling it by its Spanish name, pimentón. Then McCormick added it to its line of spices, and began promoting it. These days, it’s pretty easy to find, and more and more recipes are calling for it without even needing to explain what it is anymore. That’s what I call progress.

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