The Ice Cube Tip For Rescuing Over-Softened Butter

The key to fluffy cookies and baked goods is using softened butter so that it mixes well with the sugar to form a lump-free creamy mix. If the butter is left chilled when it's blended with the sugar, the butter shards may result in dense and less-than-appealing treats. But as we all know, it can be hard sometimes to remember to soften the butter by taking it out of the fridge before you get to making the cookie dough or cake batter. 

Considering it takes about 45 minutes for a stick of butter to soften when left out on the counter, it can be tempting to just place the butter in the microwave to soften it quickly. However, then you may be left with an entirely different problem to solve: overly softened butter that more closely resembles a puddle than a solid mass. Don't worry. This doesn't mean you've wasted a stick of butter and need to grab another from the fridge. Instead, reach for the ice cube tray.

Cool the butter quickly to harden

To resuscitate that overly softened stick of butter, simply place it in a bowl with a few ice cubes. Next, just stir, and in about a minute, the butter will regain its shape but remain perfectly soft for your recipe. The reason this technique works versus putting the melted butter back into the refrigerator is that the overly softened butter needs to be chilled rapidly for to reestablish the sugar crystals that were destroyed when the butter was melted. The ice cubes cool the butter quickly to about 65 or 70 degrees, which is considered the ideal temperature for softened butter. 

At this point, some of the ice cubes may have melted a bit, and that's OK. Any small amount of water that has been absorbed by the butter won't affect your recipe. Go ahead and remove the ice cubes and finish making the dough or batter. However, note that should the butter have melted completely in the microwave, the ice cube trick won't work.