It's no secret that I love to bake. And baking is a science. You have to have exact measurements and temperatures to achieve the results you are looking for.
I was never great at science. I got by, but I wouldn't say that I ever excelled at it, especially at chemistry. I was terrible at chemistry no matter how much I studied. But, for some reason I'm pretty good at baking. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I get to devour a yummy treat when I'm done baking, if I do it right. I never got to do that in chemistry.
Anyhow, one of the most important steps for baking cookies, cakes and other treats is to start with room temperature eggs and butter, when it is called for. Room temperature means somewhere around 70 degrees F (68-74* F is acceptable). Most refrigerators are set to 40 degrees or below F, so using eggs or butter straight out of the refrigerator can really alter the end result of what you are making.
But, if you are like me, you rarely have the foresight to pull out the eggs or butter when you want to bake. I shared my method for bringing eggs to room temperature quickly here. But, how do you get butter to room temperature quickly?
Well, I simply cut the butter into small pieces and let them sit while I gather my other ingredients. Usually by the time I have everything I need (about 5 minutes, depending on how warm the kitchen is), the butter is softened. I typically cut my butter into about tablespoon sized pieces, but will cut it smaller if I am in a real hurry.
And that's it! Smaller pieces have big surface area compared to their size so they will react to temperature faster than larger pieces that have less surface area compared to their size. So, the smaller you cut the butter, the quicker it will come to room temperature.
Check me out!! I guess I picked up more in chemistry than I thought. Ha!