Monday, May 10, 2010

Tired of Waiting on that Cold Stick of Butter?

I once read a tips and tricks section in Cooks Illustrated magazine that gave advice on how to deal with butter straight out of the fridge that is too cold and hard for creaming. One of the tips was to whack the stick of butter (put in a plastic bag for less mess) until it begins to bend a bit. In light of that advisement, I recently found myself amidst an urgent cookie making episode, so I thought I'd test something out.

What happens if I just add the stick of butter and let the paddle in the stand mixer beat the stick of butter? Voila! (Covers hand over mouth in shock at how quickly this worked) This was almost too easy to believe. Why hasn't anyone mentioned this find to me before? I am certain I'm not the first to use this method, but I thought I'd share it here at any rate. Maybe I'm even some idiot home bakestress who thinks this is a pretty cool discovery but all other bakemasters know about this already. Nevermind that, this discovery hit me as so revolutionary, I risk looking dumb for the sake of passing it along to perhaps one other forlorn baker waiting needlessly for that darn stick of butter to soften.

  1. Do not add sugar until the butter is softened for a few minutes. ( Learned this one the hard way, let's just say there was sugar spewing out of the mixer into my face, onto the counter... forget about your careful measuring)
  2. Run on a slow speed until the butter gets mixed into a few pieces. (large flying chunks of butter may just pop out of your mixer bowl! Refer to the above re: flying sugar)
  3. Beware cookie making now takes even less forethought, so you may wind up making them more. No more waiting for that stick of butter to soften up could lead to more hasty cookie baking decisions.
Other uses for this method include making butter spreadable for all sorts of yummy applications!

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