Butter: A Love/Hate Relationship

Today was almost a full day in the kitchen. I started my gifting baking today, well actually last night, with more to come tomorrow.

Last night I tried, for the first time, Papa Joe’s family Pinwheel cookie recipe. I’ve watched him make them several times, even helped a couple of times, but going independent…well…it wasn’t quite the same. The butter gave me some issue.

For some reason, I kept thinking the butter needed to be melted, then added to the dry ingredients. When I did that, the dough was so very soft. It literally was falling apart. I put it all back in the mixer and added some more flour. The extra flour helped, but it still wasn’t very easy to roll, and broke in a few places. I also thought maybe I was adding too much butter as I knew some needed to be applied to the dough after it was rolled out. When it came out of the oven, the taste was there, but it definitely wasn’t very solid, breaking apart fairly easily.

This morning when I got up I was determined to try again. I melted the butter again, but used less since I thought maybe the butter was supposed to be divided, with the rest being used to apply to the dough after. The dough was still very soft, but rolled a little better than last night. Since the dough is divided, I threw the other half back in the mixer and added some more flour. That didn’t really help too much, so I thought maybe I was supposed to chill the dough before rolling it out.

While I waited for the dough to cool, I started getting everything ready for the brownies, three kinds—chocolate chip, plain, and walnut. About 15-minutes later I took the chilled dough out. It did roll out easier and, after adding the filling, rolled back up all in tact. After comparing notes with Papa Joe, he said the butter needed to be soft, not melted. I’ll need to make more in a few days. This time I’ll use the required softened butter.

The other two things in the bag is “fudge” and no-bakes. In reading one of my baking magazines, I found a Betty Crocker hack for the “fudge,” which isn’t traditional by any means, but it tastes really good. I did use my tried and true recipe for the no-bakes. This is a bowl I like licking when I finish because usually, it is my husband who licks the bowl as the “official” taste tester. His words, not mine.

What’s left for the day are the sugar cookies. I’m using snowman, ornament, and star cookie cutters. I’ve learned when doing anything flow icing related, which I’ll finish tomorrow morning, is better in moderation. In the past, my ideas were grand, but extremely time consuming. This time I’m downsizing in the interest of time.

Which brings me to back to the love/hate relationship with butter. As we all know, butter makes any recipe taste better. But, as you read above, if not used correctly, butter can also be finicky. The hardest part, because I do not like waiting for anything. Which, as odd as it may sound, I was very patient in the classroom, just less so in the kitchen. Waiting for butter to soften drives me to distraction. That may have been why I melted the butter for the Pinwheels, I remembered the butter for them as melted so I wouldn’t have to wait.

Guess what I’m waiting for right now. Yep, butter to melt because the sugar cookies, of course, needs softened (not melted) butter. It takes about two hours for butter to soften the way I want. Even when I plan ahead, waiting for the butter is just, well, excruciating.

Now, I’m off to check the butter. Please let it be ready to use!

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