Being a proud Southerner, the two hardest things for me about living in DC are finding good sweet tea and good barbecue. I don't really make my own sweet tea, but sometimes I crave it, and I still can't find proper barbecue here. I've learned to live without those on a regular basis. One thing, though, I wasn't willing to live without was a proper biscuit.
My mom and grandma both made amazing biscuits, but their recipes were basically, "throw a little of this with a little of that, make sure the moisture is right" and then you had biscuits. I never quite mastered that. However, I did love to eat biscuit dough, so I knew what a proper biscuit should taste like before it went in the oven. After years of tweaking, I finally got it right!
4 cups all purpose flour (plus extra to dust the counters)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
1/2 cup shortening (chilled)
1 1/2 - 2 cups buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk (or use your pastry blender because you're about to break that out anyway). Sprinkle the butter and shortening over the flour mixture and cut them in with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is like coarse crumbs/peas/whatever visual you use to determine your butter has been properly cut into your flour. (This is why I don't often write recipes; it's all about feel to me.) Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in approximately a cup of the buttermilk. Mix with a rubber spatula until it comes together in a slightly damp ball. Add buttermilk as needed to get it to come together in a ball if it seems dry.
Flour your board/counter and dump the dough out. Knead it together a few times until it comes together in a smooth ball, but isn't overly sticky or tough. Pat it out with your hands (or roll with a rolling pin) until it is about 1 inch thick. (If you want thicker or thinner biscuits, make your dough fit your desires.) Use a 2 inch round cutter to cut your biscuits. Place about a half inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with buttermilk or melted butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and the baking sheet as soon as they are done to keep from burning the bottoms. Makes approximately a dozen.
Serve with butter, honey, or just eat warm from the oven with nothing else. These are fluffy, the perfect amount of butter, and are good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking.
And yes, the dough for these tastes just right. Enjoy!