Should You Melt Butter For Chocolate Chip Cookies?

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Do you enjoy baking your own homemade chocolate chip cookies? If so, you probably have wondered if you should melt the butter instead of allowing the butter to soften. Will the cookies bake differently? Is there an exact temperature the butter should ideally be for the best possible chocolate chip cookies? We’ve looked into these baking questions and have informative answers to share with you!

Baking with melted butter will yield crisper and thinner cookies. Generally, these cookies are a bit more challenging to remove from the baking sheet. And the appearance of the cookie will display more air holes, and the buttery flavor is more prominent. Softened butter, a.k.a beating room temperature, will create chewy, soft,  evenly formed cookies with fewer air holes.

Are you interested in learning about the differences between melted butter versus softened butter? What temperature is considered beating room temperature? Why does the temperature of the butter make a difference? We have fascinating answers to these questions. Please continue reading to learn more about chocolate chip cookies!

Top view of a wooden plate filled with chocolate chips cookies placed at the center of the frame, Should You Melt Butter For Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Does Melting The Butter Make Chocolate Chip Cookies Crispier?

Using melted butter for your cookies is the best method for creating the crispiest chocolate chip cookie possible. The melted butter in the cookie dough starts to spread in the oven before the cookie structure has been set.

Hence, the crispy, thin cookies with a buttery flavor are harder to remove from the baking sheet and need five-ten minutes to “breathe” before transferring them from the baking sheet to the metal cookie rack.

Click here to view a metal cooling rack at Amazon.

If you are curious to test the difference between cookies baked with melted butter versus softened, try these popular recipes to conduct your own test kitchen experiment.

To test a melted butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, Mashed has an easy-to-follow recipe that yields about 20 delicious cookies.  Well-respected Taste of Home has a popular softened butter chocolate chip cookie recipe that makes two dozen cookies.

What Type Of Butter Is Best For Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Unsalted butter is the best option for baking cookies because unsalted butter is usually fresher and contains less water than salted butter. Salt is added to butter to increase the shelf life and mask the flavors of rancidity. Generally, salted butter contains 10-18% more water than unsalted. The presence of water in the salted butter interferes with the flour and the development of gluten and will change the total measurement of salt in the recipe.

Methods for preparing butter for baking

How to soften butter quickly

Suppose you are in a hurry to bake those mouth-watering cookies for your PTA meeting or a cozy night at home with the family.

Consider using one of these methods to get your butter ready for the mixer. Cut the butter into smaller cubes with a knife, set those flat on a plate to warm to room temperature, or set the stick of unwrapped butter between two sheets of parchment paper and flatten it with a rolling pin. After a few rolls of the pin, your butter should be softer and warming up quickly!

Another great method is to cube the butter, place it in the mixing bowl, and start beating it at low-medium speed until the butter is warmed.

Last, but not least, you could always place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 percent power for 15 seconds or less—word of caution. Do not use full power; it will start to cook the butter, and that will change the flavor of the cookie dough.

butter quarters stacked on top of each other

Suggestions for melting butter

The melting point of butter is between the ranges of 82°F and 97°F, which depending on the climate or season, one could set the butter in a mixing bowl on the counter to melt.

Or place the unwrapped butter in a saucepan on low and stir every few minutes until melted. If you want to brown the butter to add a nutty flavor to your cookies. Turn the heat up to medium for two-three minutes until the butter is lightly browned. If the butter cooks longer than a few minutes, it won’t produce a nutty flavor but rather a burned popcorn flavor.

Melting butter at medium or high heat will cause evaporation that will change the ratio of fat to flour in the dough. To prevent this from occurring, melt the butter in a double-boiler over the lowest heat setting on the stove. Stir it frequently, and once completely melted, remove it from the burner.

What Ingredients Keep Chocolate Chip Cookies Softer?

Several ingredients and ratios contribute to the softness of the cookies.  The ingredients and how those are mixed are what make a cookie crispy or soft. The oven temperature does affect the final consistency and flavor as well. Baking at 350 is suggested for soft and moist chocolate chip cookies.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar makes the cookies softer than white sugar because brown sugar has molasses, and white sugar does not. Dark brown sugar contains 20% molasses, and light brown sugar contains 10%. Both types will assist in keeping the cookies much softer. One could implement 50% brown sugar and 50% white sugar to increase softness.

Fats

Butter and vegetable shortening are the main ingredients ensuring the dough will be soft and inviting. Because when the fats are mixed with flour, it coats it and protects the gluten from developing and spreading.

Eggs

Eggs are the primary source of liquid and proteins in cookie doughs. The egg gives the cookies an internal structure via bonding with the starch and proteins in the flour. Also, the protein content makes the cookies chewy.

Salt

Salt is a flavor enhancer that accentuates the other ingredients’ flavors. Without salt, the recipe wouldn’t have much flavor, and the sweetness of the sugars would be overpowering. The salt also helps strengthen the proteins in the flours and eggs, making the cookies chewy and soft.

What Happens If You Use Cold Butter In Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Using cold butter straight from the refrigerator is often used for recipes like croissants or pie crusts to help develop flakiness in the dough. The cold butter creates small layers in the dough and prevents gluten development. The dough’s texture will be dramatically different from the presence of cold butter from mixing the dough to the final product.

Suppose cold butter for chocolate chip cookies, the dough will be harder to mix, and the flours and sugars may take a minute or two extra to meld with the other ingredients. However, the cookies will be thicker and have little spreading on the baking sheet from the well-textured cold dough. For added cookie thickness, consider chilling the cookie dough covered for about an hour before baking.

Click here to read our article about how to bake cookies without butter. 

Storage considerations for cookies

After removing the cookies from the baking sheet, set them on a metal baking rack until completely cooled. Next, place the cookies into an airtight container. Airtight containers are a must for cookies to ensure they retain a quality consistency. If the cookies are not in an airtight container, they will be subjected to the dryness and humidity that will cause the cookies to get soggy or dry out.

For tips on how to make a cookie jar airtight, read this article: How To Make A Cookie Jar Airtight [The Key To Keeping Cookies Fresh!]

Click here to view a quality airtight cookie jar at Amazon.

Helpful butter measurements

Generally, most brands of butter are packaged in wrappers with measurements. However, there are artisan and European brands that may not display any measurement on the wrapping. In those situations, the following information will ensure that you measure the correct amount of butter every time.

  • 4 sticks butter = 1 pound = 2 cups (32 Tbsp.)
  • 2 sticks butter = 1 cup (16 Tbsp.)
  • 1 stick butter = ½ cup (8 Tbsp.)
  • ½ stick butter = ¼ cup (4 Tbsp.)

Click here to view a baking measurement set at Amazon. 

In closing

Top view of a wooden plate filled with chocolate chips cookies placed at the center of the frame, Should You Melt Butter For Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Striving to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie is a quest that many bakers embark upon with their favorite recipe in hand and a few techniques to alter the recipe to make their best cookie yet! We hope this article has helped you find more ways to create the ultimate chocolate chip cookie! Please visit Kitchenseer.com soon for more exciting and useful culinary content!

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