3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon aluminum-free* baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (8 tablespoons) chilled, unsalted butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1.5 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the over to 400 °F and prepare a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchement paper.
Sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda) together in a large, wide bowl.
Cut the butter and shortening into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to the dry ingredients. Combine them with your fingertips or a pastry blender (I use my fingers) until the texture resembles coarse meal. It's okay if you have some slightly larger chunks of butter, it will melt and make little pockets of buttery flavor.
Add the 1.5 cups of cheese, the rosemary, and about 10 grinds of black pepper and stir to combine.
Add the buttermilk and stir with a spoon until it just comes together. Flour your hands lightly and knead just enough to make a single ball.
Turn the ball of dough out onto a floured surface and roll with a rolling pin (a wine bottle with straigh sides works in a pince) to about 3/4" thick. Use a biscuit cutter or a glass to cut rounds. Transfer to a baking sheet so that they are nearly touching. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops of the biscuits.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown on top.