Forgot to stick your butter on the counter to soften? Perhaps you just don’t feel like waiting before you start your cookies – I mean, it is that time after all, I need my warm, gooey triple chocolate cookies. When running short on time (or patience) don’t be tempted to throw your butter in the microwave to get a quick 30-second softening session. The heat from the microwave will cause the butter to heat unevenly and can tend to over-soften or even melt the butter in places. Instead, throw your butter into a ziplock bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold tap water. (Not ice water, which will prevent softening, yet not lukewarm or hot water which will have the same effect as the microwave.) It will take about 5 – 10 minutes for your butter to become soft and pliable and ready for use.
You can also use this technique on other cold ingredients that need to be brought to room temperature such as cream cheese.