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Friday, December 19, 2008

Kitchen Tip: Softening Butter for Cookies

Don’t you hate it when you want to make cookies RIGHT NOW, but your butter is too cold and you have to let it sit at room temperature until it’s JUST RIGHT, at which point you don’t want cookies anymore?

Lucky for you, you read my blog.  I have perfected the art of softening butter.  Keep in mind, this is an ART, not a science.  You will have to tweak the time based on your own microwave, but the following should be a good guide.

For two sticks of butter in my 1100-watt microwave: 9 seconds at Power Level 2.  Flip butter over 180 degrees.  8 seconds at Power Level 2.

After I followed that little “recipe” tonight, my butter was the PERFECT consistency for making cookies.  Awesome.

PS: You can do this with frozen butter, too.  Just heat it longer, but it should still be at Power Level 2.

PS #2: Power Level 2 should be consistent for everyone, no matter what microwave you have.


  1. 1

    That’s a pretty involved process you’ve discovered. I just put mine in the microwave, press the “soften butter” button and select the number of sticks. Works like a charm 😉

  2. 2

    From The New York Times:

    “The best way to get frozen or refrigerated butter ready for creaming is to cut it into chunks. (Never use a microwave: it will melt it, even though it will look solid.)”

  3. 3

    erin – that’s funny. 🙂 my microwave doesn’t have such a cool button, so gotta stick with the process! 🙂

    J – I will definitely check that article out. but I must say…I got the original tip for softening frozen butter from one of my old-standby cookbooks (maybe better homes & gardens) and I can honestly tell you that there are no melted soft parts in the butter when I do it this way. In fact, when I originally read the tip, I was skeptical and thought the same thing this article said…but I tried it and it was amazing. the KEY is doing it at low low low power (like level 2) and doing it in short spurts, then you avoid the problem of those meddlesome melted spots you can’t see.

    thanks for your comments, everyone! 🙂

  4. Funny there’s a button for defrosting butter. Genius!

    I always put my butter in the microwave on the defrost setting for about 8 seconds, but sometimes it comes out melted. Thanks for the tip, Jane!

  5. Is power level 2 equal to 20%?

  6. 6

    Thanks Jane! I always have butter clumps (too cold) or runny dough (melting in the microwave). I think I’ll have to put a sticky note on my microwave with this tip so I don’t forget.

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