In this instructable I'll show you two tricks to get your butter up to room temperature FAST. I am really terrible at remembering to set my butter out ahead of time when baking to get to room temperature. Or I decide I really want cookies at 11 PM and then have no time to let the butter soften on its own or I'll be up all night making cookies.
After many many many failed bakes where I accidentally melted the butter when trying to soften it in the microwave, I now stick to these methods for softening butter super quick!
Step 1: Method One: Chop It Up
This method is a little more fiddly than the second method, and takes a little longer, but this is the way I did it for years!
Take the butter out of the fridge and dice it fairly finely. I use the butter wrapping as a cutting surface. Cut it into tablespoons and then cut each of those into nine pieces, or go even smaller if you'd like.
Then spread it out on a plate or piece of parchment. Let sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature and it will be soft enough to use. I normally do this part first and then measure out the rest of the ingredients. By the time I get back to the butter it's perfect! :)
Step 2: Method Two: Grate It
This is probably what I use my grater for the most. If you've got one of those big box graters hanging out around your kitchen, you're about to become BFFs.
I found this trick a few years ago and it really changed my baking for the better since I lack any sort of patience. :D
Keep the butter in the fridge right up until you want to use it, and then peel away the wrapper from half of it. Use the wrapped part of the butter as a handle and grate it on the largest holes your grater has. Keep unwrapping and grating, it should take no time at all.
You can just set the grater down in the bowl you'll be working in - you'll get lovely butter ribbons that soften in no time!
You really only need a couple minutes of softening time this way since the ribbons are so thin! I almost always do this method so I can get to creaming the butter with sugar almost immediately. :)