There's nothing like biscuits right out of the oven, but producing them can be a trick when you're in the last-minute throes of meal preparation. To make it easier, prepare the flour-butter mixture and measure out the buttermilk ahead of time, and then keep them both refrigerated. Reserve a corner of your counter for biscuit assembly: flour the work surface and arrange near it a rolling pin, a baking pan, and a cloth-lined basket for serving the biscuits. Then, about 15 minutes before serving time, add the buttermilk to the biscuit dough, cut out the biscuits, and bake them.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place flours, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; whisk to mix them together thoroughly. Using the large holes of a hand-held grater, grate the frozen butter directly into the flour mixture. Stir lightly and briefly to combine. (Alternatively, you can mix the dry ingredients in a food processor and use a large-holed grating disk to grate in the butter. Then transfer the flour-butter mixture to a bowl.)
Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, pour in the buttermilk, and use a meat fork to stir until mixture just barely comes together as a dough. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and gently but briefly knead it 4-5 turns. Use a floured rolling pin or your fingers to roll or lightly press the dough out to a thickness of 3/4-inch. Use a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds, taking care to slice straight down into the dough without twisting the cutter. (This will help the biscuits rise better.) Gather any dough scraps, press them together, and cut additional biscuits.
Transfer biscuits to an ungreased baking pan (an inch or two apart for crusty exteriors or close together for soft-sided biscuits). Bake until high and golden brown, 10-13 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Makes 12-14 three-inch biscuits.
Copyright by Terese Allen