Adapted from Gourmet magazine, June 1993
2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk
Milk for brushing the biscuits
1. Heat the oven
to 425 degrees. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and blend in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles meal. Add the buttermilk, stir the mixture until it just forms a dough. Flour your hands and gather it into a ball.
2. On a lightly floured surface
knead the dough gently 6 times and pat it out one-half inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a 3-inch round cutter dipped in flour and invert the rounds onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Gather the scraps, pat out the dough, and cut out more rounds in the same manner until there are 8 rounds in all.
3. Brush the tops
of the rounds with the milk, bake the biscuits in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are pale golden, and transfer them to a rack. Serve at room temperature.
Each of 8 biscuits: