See that butter? It’s soft. It’s creamy. It’s ready to be whipped up into cookie batter, frosting, etc.
If you’re like me you don’t flip to a recipe, see that it calls for softened butter, and say, “Got it!”. While I am a big fan of setting out butter in a dish in order to have SOME softened butter on hand, I don’t usually have sticks upon sticks just ready to be used. So I’m going to show you how to soften butter my way.
Depending on the climate, 1 stick of refrigerated butter can take 60 minutes to come to room temperature. If it’s winter and you keep your heat low you can expect to never have truly softened butter. So, what do you do? Nuke it? In my experience it’s extremely hard to microwave butter and get that perfect “room temperature” consistency. You usually end up with the outside soft while the inside is completely melted. For baking you do NOT want to substitute melted butter for softened. Ditch the microwave and the hour-long wait for this seriously simple tip.
Fill a bowl with warm water. Not hot. But a warm thats on the warmer side. Take a stick (or two, or whatever shape your butter comes in) and place inside a plastic zipper bag leaving the wrapper on the butter.
Dunk the bag of butter into the bowl of warm water and let it sit. The warm water is going to gently soften the butter. If you use water that is too hot you run the risk of melting the outside before the inside can get soft. If you have the water too cold it will take forever to soften or never soften at all.
Let it sit for 10 minutes. It’s a perfect amount of time to prep whatever recipe you are planning on making. Clear your space, measure out the other ingredients, demand your kids get along or else! You know. The usual stuff you do before baking. By the time you’re done give the butter a check. Does it feel pliable? If not, give it a few more minutes. I find that for this block of President butter it takes a little longer because it’s larger than the usual 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter. Timing may also vary depending on how warm your water is. And since I’m not being a freak by measuring the exact temperature (nothing against kitchen freaks), you’ll just have to use 10 minutes as an estimated base time.
Take the butter out of the plastic zipper bag and slowly peel back the wrapper like you’re Charlie anticipating the golden ticket. Ah… there it is.
For a great recipe that uses softened butter in baking check out my Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches. Until then… enjoy some buttered toast. A kiddy fave 🙂