For soft and fluffy biscuits, blend the liquid and dry ingredients just until the dough resembles cottage cheese. Gently shape biscuits with an ice cream scoop instead of a biscuit cutter.Use real buttermilk if you can get it. Look for local farms in your area to get the good stuff, not the watery low-fat substitutions found at the supermarket.
Preheat the oven to 425°F and position the oven rack slightly below the center of the oven. Lightly butter a round cake pan or cast-iron skillet.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt. Snap the pieces of shortening with your fingers until the shortening pieces are no larger than peas. Make a well in the mixture and pour in the cream and ⅔ cup of the buttermilk. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, sweep in the flour and turn the dough until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough resembles cottage cheese, adding enough of the remaining ⅓ cup buttermilk to reach this consistency.
Sprinkle the rolling surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and sprinkle the top with flour. With floured hands, fold the dough in half and pat the dough into a ⅓- to ½-inch-thick round, using additional flour as needed. Flour again if necessary and fold the dough in half a second time. If the dough is still clumpy, repeat the folding process for a third time. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round. Dip a 2-inch biscuit cutter into the flour and cut out biscuits, ensuring you do not twist the cutter.
Place the biscuits in the pan, sides slightly touching. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown, rotating the pan 180°F after 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the biscuits again with melted butter.
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