We’ve all been there. You plan to make your famous banana bread and you’re faced with rock-hard butter. The best way to soften butter is to set it out on the counter an hour before baking, allowing it to come to room temperature. But if you’re aching to get baking, you likely don’t have an hour to spare.
Many of our favourite baked goods start with warm, soft butter. It’s the key to perfectly moist cookies and cakes, making them light and fluffy. Starting with soft butter makes it easier to cream, which beats air into it thus giving it structure. Creaming it with sugar helps to hold air into the mixture, meaning maximum fluffiness for your cakes and cookies.
If you’re faced with the dreaded cold butter and are in a rush to begin baking, here are some easy ways to soften it while avoiding a melty mess.
Run a knife under hot water for a few minutes and slice up your butter for faster warming time. The smaller pieces will warm faster than one big block. Arrange on a warm plate to speed up the process even more.
Just Beat It
Place your block-o-butter between two pieces of parchment paper or inside a freezer bag, and beat it with a rolling pin. This technique takes some muscle, but it will soften much faster flat, rather than as a solid stick.
Got You Covered
Warm up a bowl or cup and place it over top of your butter block. The gentle heat will speed-up warming time, without melting your block into a puddle.
Another way to get your butter to room temperature fast is to pop it in the freezer for a few minutes — bear with us — then use your trusty box grater to turn it into fine pieces, allowing them to warm up even faster.
Not sure what to bake? Anna Olson’s 50 Best Cookie Recipes is a delicious place to start.