Butter tip: Soften butter at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Test the softness of butter by gently pressing the top of the stick with your index finger. If an indentation remains but the stick of butter still holds its shape, it's perfectly softened. Butter that's too cold overworks the dough when cut in and yields a tough biscuit. Likewise, butter that's too soft coats the flour and prevents the pea-size pellets from forming, thus yielding a flat biscuit. Another biscuit trick...when cutting out biscuits, don't twist the cutters. Simply press down and pull straight up. Twisting compresses and seals the edges and prevents biscuits from rising.