Butter, softened or melted, for brushing pan and finishing biscuits (optional)
Choose your pan wisely: The shape and size will determine how tender your biscuits are. For the softest exterior, opt for a cake pan or small baking sheet and pack biscuits side by side.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush baking pan with butter.
Whisk 2 cups flour in a large bowl (preferably one that’s wider than it is deep). Make a deep hollow in center of flour by pressing with the back of your hand. Slowly but steadily stir 1 cup cream into hollow with a bench scraper or rubber spatula, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the cream. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If there is some flour remaining on the bottom and sides of the bowl, stir in just enough reserved cream to incorporate remaining flour into dough. (If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping.)
Lightly sprinkle a flexible plastic cutting board or other clean surface with some of the reserved flour. Turn dough out onto board. If dough is sticky, sprinkle it lightly with flour. Use plastic cutting board (or floured hands) to fold the dough in half and pat it into a ⅓- to ½-inch-thick round. Flour dough again only if sticky and fold in half a second time. If dough is still clumpy, pat and fold a third time. Pat dough into a ½-inch-thick round for normal biscuits, a ¾-inch-thick round for tall biscuits, or a 1-inch-thick round for giant biscuits. Brush any visible flour from the top.
Dip a 2-inch biscuit cutter into reserved flour and cut out biscuits, starting at outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, although they will be tougher.
Move biscuits to prepared pan. Bake on top rack of oven until light golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. After 6 minutes, rotate pan so the front is turned to the back, and check to see if the bottoms are browning too quickly. If so, slide another baking pan underneath to add insulation and slow browning. After pulling biscuits from oven, lightly brush tops with softened or melted butter. Turn biscuits out upside down onto a plate and cool slightly before serving.