4 Ways to Soften Butter – Fast!

4 Ways to Soften Butter – Fast!

It happens to all of us. You want to bake, but the butter or margarine has been in the fridge and now it’s so hard you can use it as a weapon.

butter

When trying to soften butter, usually, one of two things happen; you leave it on the counter and watch it soften for what feels like a million years, or risk it all and stick it in the microwave but end up with a melted puddle.

After many years of baking (and watching butter soften), I’ve got a few tricks that REALLY work: 

Grate it

Get out that cheese grater and grate the butter onto a plate. The smaller pieces will soften quicker. Then simply whack the grated butter into your electric mixer and give it a good beating until it’s soft.   

Microwave the sugar 

This is an ingenious method that works every time – as long as you’re using the creaming method. Weigh out the sugar you’re going to use then zap it in the microwave on high for 20-30 seconds until it’s warm to the touch (not hot). Then add it to your cold butter in the electric mixer and cream as usual. 

Use your microwave’s defrost setting

Set the microwave on defrost and select the weight of your butter (eg. 100g) then nuke it for 5 seconds at a time, flipping the butter over as you go until it’s soft. Works like a charm! 

Beat it

If you’re looking to release a little tension, this is the perfect stress release. Place the unwrapped butter on a clean work surface and whack it with a rolling pin to break up the pieces. Fold the butter over and continue to whack. Repeat this until it’s pliable then flatten it out and leave it for 5 minutes to come to room temperature. 

Raspberry and White Chocolate Coconut Ice

Raspberry and White Chocolate Coconut Ice

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This childhood favourite is all grown up, bursting with layers of fresh raspberries and melted white chocolate.

Coconut ice was one of my favourite things to make as a kid. For ages I used the recipe on the side of the sugar packet that involved boiling sugar syrup but until I discovered a no-cook version that’s quicker, smoother and doesn’t involve molten sugar. 

I didn’t realize how sugary sweet the boiled coconut ice really is. The white chocolate adds flavour (not just sweetness) to the white layer, while the fresh raspberries add much-needed tartness to balance it all out. It’s a winner of a recipe that’s super easy to make with kids! 

Coconut Ice

 

Raspberry and White Chocolate Coconut Ice
Yields 24
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
25 min
Total Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 260g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted
  2. 280g (3 1/2 cups) desiccated coconut
  3. 1 can (397g) condensed milk
  4. 2.5ml (½ tsp) vanilla extract
  5. 100g The Kate Tin White Baking Chocolate, melted
  6. 60g fresh raspberries, blended
  7. deep pink food colouring
Instructions
  1. 1. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
  2. 2. To make the coconut ice, place the icing sugar and coconut into a large mixing bowl.
  3. 3. Add the condensed milk and vanilla and mix well.
  4. 4. Divide the mixture between two bowls and mix the white chocolate into one bowl.
  5. 5. Press the white chocolate mix into the lined baking tin to form a smooth layer.
  6. 6. To the remaining coconut ice, add the raspberries and food colouring.
  7. 7. If the mixture is still sticky, add a little coconut until it’s the same consistency as the white layer. 8. Press the pink layer on top of the white layer and allow to firm up for 1 hour.
  8. Once slightly firm, unmould the coconut ice then slice into squares.
  9. 9. Place on a lined baking sheet, uncovered, for 1-2 hours until firm.
  10. 1. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
The Kate Tin https://thekatetin.com/
Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt Mille-Feuille

Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt Mille-Feuille

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This burnt vanilla mille-feuille is my lightened up version of the French classic! 

Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt Mille Feuille

There are three main components to this delicate little dessert; The pastry layers, burnt vanilla and the super creamy and thick new Nutriday double cream yoghurt. The yoghurt is super special and is a real treat for breakfast as it tastes like pudding! It’s also one of my favourite things to add to desserts. In order to turn it into a quick and easy filling, I made what is traditionally called ‘Labneh’. It’s a process of straining the yoghurt through muslin cloth to remove most of the whey, which results in a thicker, pipeable consistency. Not only is it seriously easy to make, but it is also a far lighter replacement for the traditional mille-feuille (pronounced meel-foy) filling of custard. 

Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt Mille Feuille

Burnt vanilla powder is my secret way of making sure that every part of the (very expensive) vanilla bean is used – I first scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and use these in panna cotta, ice cream etc, then I steep the vanilla bean in vodka for a few weeks to make my own extract. After that I place the vanilla bean in a jar of sugar, and finally, I toast it and grind it to make burnt vanilla powder. FOUR uses from one vanilla bean. If you don’t have vanilla beans, then you can use the new Nutriday vanilla flavoured yoghurt which has tiny little black specks of vanilla seeds in it which I just adore. I totally would’ve used that if it had launched before I shot this post! 

Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt Mille Feuille

Lastly, we get to the pastry. Traditionally, mille-feuille is made from puff pastry and as delicious as puff pastry is, I secretly really don’t like it in mille-feuille. I like my desserts to crumble into submission when I put my fork through them and puff pastry just doesn’t do that for me (although I have a mille-feuille in my cookbook with a clever puff pastry trick that DOES!) So, in order to make this mille-feuille absolutely melt in the mouth, I’ve used phyllo pastry which has been brushed with melted butter and icing sugar. This is a great make-ahead dessert (all the elements can be made ahead of time and then just assembled on the day) and just perfect for the warmer weather. In fact, it would probably make a perfectly acceptable breakfast, too! Happy baking! 

Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt Mille Feuille
Serves 4
Print
Ingredients
  1. 500ml NutriDay Double Cream Yoghurt
  2. 1 x 125g phyllo pastry (3 phyllo sheets)
  3. 50g salted butter, melted, for brushing
  4. Icing sugar, for dusting
Burnt Vanilla Yoghurt
  1. 30g Demerara icing sugar, plus extra to dust
  2. 1 tbsp burnt vanilla powder (see TIP) or vanilla extract
  3. Fresh raspberries, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Place the yoghurt in a muslin cloth and allow it to drain for 2 hours or until thick.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan-forced) and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  4. Cut the phyllo sheets in half and, working with one half at a time, evenly brush the melted butter over the phyllo sheet and dust liberally with icing sugar. Place another sheet of phyllo over the top and repeat this process until you have three layers. Finish the top layer with another layer of melted butter and icing sugar.
  5. Repeat this process until all the pastry has been used up.
  6. Trim the rough edges of the pastry layers and cut out 10cm by 5cm rectangles.
  7. Place on the lined baking trays and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  8. When ready to serve, whisk the icing sugar and burnt vanilla into the yoghurt.
  9. Place into a disposable piping bag and cut the tip of the piping bag at an angle. (You can use a piping tip of your choice if you’d prefer)
  10. Assemble the mille-feuille by piping a layer of yoghurt and topping it with another layer of phyllo. Repeat this until you have 3 layers. Finish with a layer of yoghurt and raspberries.
  11. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. TIP: To make the burnt vanilla, preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan-forced).
  2. Place the vanilla pod in the oven for 5 minutes or until it puffs up.
  3. Leave to cool before blending to a fine powder in a blender or food processor. This method is perfect for using up vanilla beans which have already been used to infuse sugar or your own vanilla extract.
The Kate Tin https://thekatetin.com/
Glazed Yoghurt Ring Doughnuts

Glazed Yoghurt Ring Doughnuts

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These yoghurt ring doughnuts are so incredibly light and crispy that no store-bought version could ever match-up!

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Super-Soft and Crispy Yoghurt Ring Doughnuts

I’ve been searching for the longest time for a doughnut recipe that is crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside. And you know what the secret ingredient was all along? NEW Nutriday Double Cream yoghurt! The extra creaminess and fat in the yoghurt give these doughnuts a soft almost brioche-like texture, paired with the addition of milk powder, which makes the outside ridiculously crunchy – I dare you to find a better doughnut! 

Super-Soft and Crispy Yoghurt Ring Doughnuts

You need to take your time proving these correctly or else the doughnuts will come out tough after frying. The easiest way to see if the dough has proved correctly is by giving the dough a gentle poke. If the dough springs back immediately it needs to proof for longer but, if the dough springs back slowly and the spot you poked leaves a small indentation, you know it’s ready! 

If you want to see a step-by-step of how I made these, head over to my Instagram for more tips and tricks!

Super-Soft and Crispy Yoghurt Ring Doughnuts
Yields 15
Print
Ingredients
  1. 340g cake flour
  2. 170g milk powder
  3. 10g instant yeast
  4. 1 tsp cornstarch
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 50g white sugar
  7. 2 tbsp honey
  8. 250ml NutriDay Double Cream Yoghurt
  9. 100ml water
  10. Sunflower or vegetable Oil, for frying
Yoghurt glaze
  1. 80ml NutriDay Double Cream Strawberry Yoghurt
  2. 130g (250ml) icing sugar, sifted
  3. Pink food colouring
  4. Lemon juice, to taste
  5. Sprinkles, to decorate
Instructions
  1. Mix the flour, milk powder, instant yeast, cornstarch, salt and sugar together.
  2. Add the honey and yoghurt and gradually add enough water to form a soft dough.
  3. It should be soft and slightly sticky.
  4. Place in a clean bowl inside a large plastic bag. Tie the bag closed and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  5. TIP: In winter I like to proof my yeast dough in my car parked in the sun - it is the perfect temperature!
  6. Knock the dough down and roll it out into a large rectangle about 1cm thick.
  7. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 8cm circles and a smaller cutter or the back of a piping nozzle to create a hole in the centre of each. Cut out 10cm square pieces of baking paper and place a doughnut on each square. This will make them easy to pick up later for frying, without deflating them. Arrange the doughnuts on a baking tray, cover with a large plastic bag and allow to rise again until doubled in size. The doughnuts should feel puffy when you touch them lightly.
  8. Preheat the oil to 180°C and carefully add a few doughnuts into the oil - fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel and leave to cool slightly.
  9. Mix the ingredients for the yoghurt glaze together then dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze and allow to set on a wire rack.
  10. These doughnuts are best eaten straight away while the outside is still crispy and the inside is super-soft!
The Kate Tin https://thekatetin.com/
Chocolate Honey and Quinoa Crisps

Chocolate Honey and Quinoa Crisps

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These crispy little numbers are quick to throw together, seriously moreish and have just enough quinoa in them to make them convincing as a ‘healthy’ snack!

Honey Quinoa Crisps

Honey and Quinoa Crisps

Honey and Quinoa Crisps
Yields 8
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 45g (80ml) icing sugar, sifted
  2. 15g (15ml) butter
  3. 1 tbsp (15ml) honey
  4. 2 tsp (10ml) water
  5. 65g (80ml) quinoa
  6. 15g (25ml) cake flour, sifted
  7. 50g The Kate Tin Dark Baking Chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 degrees fan-forced).
  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Place the icing sugar, butter, honey and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil then cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa and flour. Allow to cool slightly.
  5. Roll 1/2 tablespoonfuls into balls and place on a lined baking sheet, leaving enough space for spreading.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until flat and golden brown. Allow to cool
  7. before removing from the baking sheet.
  8. Spread melted chocolate on the back of each biscuit then make waves using a fork.
  9. Allow to set completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. TIP: The quinoa can be swopped out for sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or finely
  2. chopped almonds.
The Kate Tin https://thekatetin.com/
Sticky Date Macarons

Sticky Date Macarons

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These delicate French treats get a Middle East twist with sticky date macarons are filled with date caramel and whipped white chocolate ganache!

Sticky Date Macarons

Sticky Date Macarons
Yields 24
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. Macaron
  2. 150g ground almonds
  3. 150g icing sugar
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 110g egg whites (divided in half), at room temperature
  6. Brown food colouring
  7. 150g brown sugar
  8. 40ml water
  9. Filling
  10. 85g pitted fresh dates
  11. 40g muscovado sugar
  12. 60ml (1/4 cup) milk
  13. 100g good-quality white chocolate, chopped
  14. 100g cream
Instructions
  1. Line 2 x baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the ground almonds, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until fine. Sift the mixture twice and pulse any remaining lumps until they pass through the sieve.
  3. Add 55g egg whites to the ground almond-icing sugar mixture along with the food colouring. Do not stir. Set aside.
  4. Place the remaining 55g egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer until the syrup reaches 115 degrees Celsius on a sugar thermometer. Start whisking the egg whites until they reach soft peak stage. When the syrup reaches 118 degrees, pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites in a steady stream. Continue whisking until the meringue is thick, glossy and still warm to the touch.
  5. Fold the almond icing sugar mix into the meringue in two parts, using a metal spoon, taking care not to knock the air out.
  6. Keep folding until the batter is glossy and forms a thick glossy ribbon when dropped off the spoon (to test, drop a blob on the baking tray and tap 3 times – it should spread nicely).
  7. Place in a piping bag and pipe 5 cm rounds, leaving enough room for spreading.
  8. Tap the baking tray firmly on the work surface 3 times to remove the bubbles and for the macarons to spread slightly. Allow to stand at room temperature for 45-55 minutes or until the surface of the macaron no longer feels tacky to the touch (it shouldn’t stick to your finger).
  9. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and move your oven rack to just below the middle rack.
  10. When the oven is ready, place one tray of macarons in the middle of the oven and bake for 12-13 minutes. They are ready when the feet feel firm. Allow them to cool on the baking tray before removing them.
  11. To make the date caramel, place the dates, muscovado and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.
  12. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream to just below boiling point and pour over the chopped chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes then stir until smooth. Cover with cling wrap and allow to set at room temperature.
  13. Depending on how hot it is, this may take a few hours. You can speed up the process by refrigerating it for 30 minutes and checking the consistency every now and then. It should be spreadable.
  14. Place the ganache in a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle and pipe a ring of buttercream on half of the macarons. Spoon the date caramel in the middle and sandwich together.
The Kate Tin https://thekatetin.com/