“I need a few new shortcuts in the kitchen,” I told my mum-in-law recently. “I’m tight on time these days and I gotta pick up the pace.”
“Grate your butter,” she said.
I’m sorry what?
“When you need softened butter,” she explained, “but you don’t have time to wait, grate it and it softens right up.”
Grated butter is particularly delightful when you get halfway through mixing up the ingredients for a cookie recipe before realising the next step is to incorporate some softened butter. And all you have is the cold, hard variety.
For a large quantity of butter (which I loosely define as more than 50g), a standard box grater is your best bet. I peel the wrapper back as I work to keep my hands clean. It takes less than 30 seconds to grate around 100g. When you’re done, toss the newly soft, fluffy butter into the bowl and mix.
Grating also works well in recipes that call for you to “cut in” pieces of cold butter into dry ingredients. Grate, drop and mix with a fork.
My favourite daily use of grated butter, though, is sprinkled across my breakfast toast. When I want to butter up bread or muffins evenly without tearing them up, I grate a little butter over top. For these quick-hit grates, a handheld cheese grater works well.
You can grate directly onto your bread or grate ahead of time and store in the fridge. Grated butter in a bowl is still much easier to scoop and spread than cutting directly from the block.
This article has been updated since its original publication.