Parmesan Scones

16 scones

2 ¾ cups (12 ½ ounces) unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 ½ ounces) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into ½” bits
½ cup (about 1 ounce) minced chives
1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream

For the topping:

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Cayenne pepper (for color, optional) 

Adjust oven rack to the upper position and preheat the oven to 400 F.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cheese and process or mix on low to incoorate. Add the butter and pulse on and off f few times, or mix on low, until it’s the consistency of a fine meal.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, toss in the chives, and make a well in the center. Add the crème fraiche and, using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. The mixture will be a bit dry and crumbly.

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather it into a ball. Roll or pat the dough into a circle slightly thicker than ½ inch. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles, cutting as closely together as possible and keeping the trimming intact.

Gather scraps, pat and press the pieces back together and cut out the remaining dough. Place one inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Brush the tops with the melted butter. Sprinkle with a pinch of the Parmesan and a few grinds of the fresh black pepper, or the cayenne pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes, until firm to the touch and lightly browned.