Preheat oven to 425° F.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Make a well and add milk all at once. Stir quickly with a fork just until dough leaves side of bowl and rounds up into a ball.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 to 12 times. Roll or pat dough 1/2-inch thick. Cut with a floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter; cut dough straight down without twisting. (Uneven pressure will cause biscuits to be asymmetrical.) Place on ungreased baking sheet about 1-inch apart for crusty sides, or touching if your prefer soft sides. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet immediately and serve hot.
Buttermilk Biscuits: Decrease baking powder to 2 tsp and add 1/4 tsp baking soda with the salt. Substitute buttermilk for the milk, using slightly more than 3/4 cup if buttermilk is thick.
Cheese Biscuits: Stir 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese into flour mixture just before adding milk.
Cornmeal Biscuits: Substitute 1/2 cup cornmeal for 1/2 cup of the flour. Sprinkle cornmeal over biscuits just before baking, if desired.
Drop Biscuits: Increase milk to 1 cup. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.Servings: 10 biscuits