Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter or two forks until most of the mixture has formed pea-size chunks. Stir in milk with a rubber spatula until just combined. The dough will be a little wet and sticky. Be careful not overmix, as the biscuits will not turn out flaky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead quickly by folding the dough in half and using the heel of your hand to stretch it. Repeat 4 more times.
Re-flour work surface and roll the dough out into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Punch out biscuits with a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut so the dough doesn't stick. Do not twist the cutter, as that will seal the sides of the biscuits and prevent them from rising. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared cookie sheet leaving space between them to rise. Once no more biscuits can be cut, re-roll the dough and cut out additional biscuits if desired.
Bake until the biscuits have light, golden brown tops, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet to let the bottoms crisp up. Serve warm with your favorite jelly, homemade preserves and/or salted butter.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.