Sunday, 23 January 2011

"Soften Butter"

You have seen "soften" butter in your cookie recipes. "Cream together soften butter and sugar together." What is exactly soften butter and why do we have to soften it? What happens if it is too soft, or too cold butter? Softening butter is easy and should be done when creaming it with sugar. Read more to find out why!

When you are using the creaming method ("Creaming method" is a future blog post! Stay tuned!), you need to incorporating air with the butter and sugar. The butter-sugar mixture need to be a room temp so enough air is "creamed in" to produce a light and fluffy cookie.


-Dice the butter in 1-inch cube and place on microwave safe plate.
-Microwave for 10 seconds at a time.
-Touch the butter, does it leave a finger print in it easily? If so, the butter is soft!
-Why a microwave: because it is fast and reliable and you probably have one in your kitchen!
-Why 1-inch cube: food that is uniform shape cooks more uniform. If you stuck the entire stick of butter in the microwave, the center will become way to soft and the outside will still be chill.

What happens if my butter is too soft?
When you use melted butter or too soft butter, it is not "solid" enough to be properly creamed with the sugar to get "air" in the batter. Your cookies with "spread" when baking.

What happens if my butter is too cold?

Too cold butter will, like too soft butter, not incorporate enough air in sugar-butter mixture, thus creating a more dense and less appealing cookie.

So if my butter needs to be room temp, what about my eggs?
YES! I will do another blog post about the "Creaming Method." To create a uniform mixture, ALL ingredients should be a room temp. How do you get room temp eggs? Crack your eggs into a microwave safe dish and whisk with a fork. Heat in a microwave for about 10 seconds and whisk again. Touch the eggs, are they room temp? If not, heat again. Be careful not to "cook" the eggs in the microwave! With the eggs, you just want to take the chill off.

Soften butter is easy to do and necessary when baking cookies. You will see a lighter, fluffier and better cookie with soften butter. Happy Baking!

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