Let’s talk about butter

February 13, 2011 at 9:27 am Leave a comment

I am a fan of butter for all cookie baking. But butter is not heart healthy and it contains two cholesterol-raising ingredients–dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. More from the Cleveland Clinic on the butter vs. margarine debate for your health.  Despite my passion for cookies, they are not (and should not) be a staple in our diet. Cookies are a treat for special occasions. My feeling is that once in a while, it’s okay to splurge on a cookie or two. If you have health problems that require a restrictive diet, you should probably stay away from cookies.

Back to butter. Unless the recipe calls for it, DO NOT let butter melt when softening for cookie baking. Many cooks have the urge to put frozen or cold butter in the microwave. Even with a careful eye, that can transform fresh, creamy butter into a disastrous, melted mess which is not suitable for cookies. I don’t own a microwave so I plan ahead by leaving butter out. In the colder months, I sometimes put it in a bowl for a bit on one of the old cast iron radiators that heat my home. Resist using any melted butter if you’ve taken it too far. Cookies made from melted butter may turn out to have a poor texture and be flat and runny. I’m not a chemist, but I assume hot, melted butter starts prematurely cooking any egg in the batter. More from Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen on butter use.

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