Baking Powder Biscuits

Heat oven to 450 F. Cut shortening into flour, baking powder and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in just enough milk so dough leaves sides of bowl and rounds up into a ball. (Too much milk makes dough sticky, not enough makes biscuits dry.) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Makes 2 dozen biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits: Decrease baking powder to 2 teaspoons and add teaspoon baking soda to the flour mixture. Substitute buttermilk for the milk. (If buttermilk is thick, it may be necessary to add slightly more than 3/4 cup.)

Cheese Biscuits: Stir in 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese.

Cornmeal Biscuits: Substitute 1/2 cup cornmeal for 1/2 cup of the flour. Sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal; place biscuits on cookie sheet and sprinkle with additional cornmeal.

Drop Biscuits: Increase milk to 1 cup. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. (If desired, first drop dough into sesame seed; coat all sides.)