This weekend, we were halfway through assembling ingredients for a yellow cake when we realized that we'd forgotten to set out butter to soften. Again.
We keep sticks of butter in the freezer, so setting them out to soften them ahead of time takes a little more foresight than we usually seem to have.
Never mind! We've picked up a few tricks to quickly soften butter when we forget to plan ahead...
We used to thaw butter in the microwave, but that often leaves butter cool on the outside and molten in the middle. Melted butter (as opposed to just softened butter) can also give cakes and cookies a different texture than we might want.
Here are a few alternatives we use:
- Cut the butter into small chunks. Spread out on a plate, these small chunks will thaw much more quickly than a whole stick.
- Pound the butter. This is a fun way to take out your frustrations! Put the butter in a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin or meat pounder to flatten the butter. This softens the butter while still keeping it cool. A few minutes on the counter and the butter will be up to room temperature.
- Set the butter over a warm water bath if you're in a real hurry. Pour a few cups of very hot (just below boiling) water into a double boiler or a sauce pan with a metal bowl nested inside. Put the butter over the water bath and allow to soften. Keep an eye on it so the butter doesn't melt.
Butter is officially softened and ready to use when it can be easily squished between your thumb and forefinger.
Anyone else have a good trick for quickly softening butter?
Republished post originally posted on June 30, 2008.
(Image Credit: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)