Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450.
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter - cold
2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening - cold
3 cups unbleached self-rising flour
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk - cold
extra slivers of butter or cream for moistening and brushing
Cut shortening and butter into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, or two forks, until it looks like coarse meal. Return bowl to the freezer or refrigerator if butter becomes warm.
Stir in milk with a large fork or rubber spatula. Once dough starts to clump, bring it into a ball with your hands, pressing it into bottom of bowl to pick up scraps. If dough doesn't come together, sprinkle in a little more milk, and continue pressing on scraps until they incorporate.
On a lightly floured surface, press dough into a rough square, then roll out into a about 3/4 in thick. Try to handle as little as possible and mix just enough to bring the dough together.
Roll dough out.
Use a 2" biscuit cutter to cut dough into rounds and place about a 1/2" together in a cake pan or 1" apart on baking sheet. How far apart you bake them gives you a different kind of edge, so experiment. I like my edges soft so I put them pretty close together and they end up touching each other when finished baking.
Place a small sliver of butter on the top of each biscuit or brush the tops with melted butter or cream.
Bake until golden brown 12-15 minutes.
If you can't get self-rising flour, use 4 teaspoons baking powder and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt. You can also use regular milk, if necessary, but add it slowly because the amount may be less. These go really well with sausage or tomato gravy.
Mr Breakfast would like to thank persephone for this recipe.
Recipe number 1541. Submitted 9/16/2005.