1) Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (for easy cleanup); if you don't use parchment, there's no need to grease the pan.
2) Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
3) Work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly; some larger, pea-sized pieces of butter may remain intact.
4) Add the ham and cheese, stirring until well distributed.
5) Add the milk, mixing until everything is moistened.
6) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (a silicone mat works well), and fold it over once or twice. Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a ¾"-thick circle, about 6" across.
7) Cut the biscuits with a 2" round cutter, or the cutter of your choice. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
8) Brush the biscuit tops with milk or melted butter. Sprinkle with grated or shredded cheese, if desired.
9) Bake the biscuits for 6 minutes, then turn off the oven. Leave in the oven for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, until they're golden brown.
10) Remove from the oven, and serve warm; as is, or with butter.
Yield: about 2 dozen big 2" biscuits.