I Love Butter - A FULLY ENRICHED LIFE Blog at Allrecipes.com - 272204


Apr. 6, 2012 5:13 pm 
Updated: Apr. 20, 2012 8:14 pm
I love butter!  I love it in any shape or form----baked in cookies or cakes, melted with garlic, slathered on toast (sometimes with cinnamon sugar), mixed with olive oil to lightly stir-fry everything from chicken to snap peas.  I love what it does to food!  I don’t even mind if it dribbles down my chin!
A common question on the Buzz is whether to use salted or unsalted butter—if a recipe calls for unsalted but someone has only salted, what do you do?  Every time that question comes up, there is a mixed answer.  Some swear by salted, some by unsalted.  I myself have used what I happen to have on hand.  I didn’t think I could tell that big of a difference as long as the quality of the butter is a good one.  I decided it was time to do a blind taste test!
To make the cookies as unfettered as I could in regards to ingredients, I chose to use King Arthur Flour’s Holiday Butter Cookies.  One batch was made with unsalted butter, and the other batch salted butter.  These cookies were made under the same conditions using Land O Lakes butter, King Arthur flour, C&H powdered sugar, Morton salt, King Arthur vanilla, and Safeway eggs.   These cookies always turn out perfectly, and the dough is so easy to work with!    Aren’t the cookie cutters cute?  They are from King Arthur Flour!  (Are you seeing a common theme here?)
My daughter is a 2nd grade teacher, and I bring treats for the teachers and staff from time to time.  On this occasion they had to work for their treats!  If they took a cookie from one plate, they had to take one from the second plate so they could compare the taste and then choose A, B, or Undecided.  None of them chose the latter.  The results?
Thirteen of them preferred A, the unsalted, and eleven chose B, the salted.  One said the unsalted ones were sweeter and creamier, another said that the salted was too salty.  One other said he wanted more of either type----with icing (they’ve had Sugar Cookie Icing from allrecipes before)!
One said she was sure that A was the salted because she loves salt.  I have a theory on this.  I think that when salt is added fresh to the mix that it stands out more—that the salt in the salted butter is so mixed in that it’s not as recognizable to the taste buds.  I also read online about taste buds.  I had always learned that the tongue has distinct areas for tasting salt, sour, acid, and sweet.  One new theory is that this isn’t true, that they are spread all over the mouth.  I'm not so sure about this because I think I can taste the salt in the front of my mouth.
My own family was divided.  My husband couldn’t tell the difference--he didn’t like either!  My son couldn’t tell but liked them both.  My daughter, the 9-year-old granddaughter, and daughter-in-law liked B; the 4-year-old granddaughter just wanted more of whatever kind she could get!
So what did I learn from this blind taste test?  I learned that you should make cookies using whatever butter you like most.  Just make cookies using butter!
Apr. 6, 2012 5:33 pm
What a great blog! Yep - the common denominator is BUTTER! I love butter too and if it drips down my chin - all the better! Now for your taste test - my sister would ask Iodized salt or not? LOL - I once made Oatmeal cookies with salted butter and forgot the 1/2 tsp of salt the recipe called for. I thought, "Half a tsp.....what the heck, I used Salted butter." Well - let me tell you - the family noticed and although they couldn't quite put their finger on on missing ingredient - there was SOMETHING missing. One thing that wasn't missing was BUTTER! Thanks for a fun post Marianne. :)
Apr. 6, 2012 5:47 pm
Wonderful blog Marianne and very official-blind taste tests and all LOL! Take care.
Apr. 6, 2012 6:00 pm
Thanks for doing the research on the butter. Your theory on the salt flavor being more prominent when using unsalted butter is interesting. I always use unsalted butter and find I need to decrese the salt in the KAF Holiday Butter Cookie. The butterfly and egg cookies make nice sandwich cookies. Nicely done.
Apr. 6, 2012 6:03 pm
Marianne-I always wondered the same thing, and really couldn't tell the difference in salted and unsalted. Loved your blog. My family doesn't care what kind of butter I use as long as they get to eat the cookies.
Apr. 6, 2012 6:28 pm
Love it! Especially the ending, and that 4 year old is my kind of gal!
Apr. 6, 2012 6:33 pm
Very intereting! I always buy salted butter and have used it in recipes that call for unsalted butter without thinking twice about it. It was fun reading what your experiment yielded.
Apr. 6, 2012 7:08 pm
Thanks Marianne. Like other bakers, I've never had anyone give back a cookie because the butter was the wrong kind. About 25 years ago I used salted butter. For the last 15 I have used unsalted. Salted butter alone, not in baked goods, does not appeal to my tastebuds any longer. So very accustomed to unsalted. BTW, very cute cookie cutters. Hoppy Easter. : )
Apr. 6, 2012 7:09 pm
Very interesting blog. Thanks for writing it. I've wondered the difference about salted vs. unsalted. Now I know...not much difference.
Apr. 6, 2012 7:15 pm
Baking Nana, I DID use iodized salt! Always--unless I use sea salt (is it iodized???). Thank you very much for your help on the blog! I finally got one WITH photos! Hooray! I really do love butter. My MIL as a kid used to hide under her bed and eat a square of butter (that must have been back in the '30's).
Apr. 6, 2012 7:15 pm
Thanks, Ken. I do know you know how to use good ingredients! Just check out fillyour belly.com!
Apr. 6, 2012 7:17 pm
Marie C.! Sandwich cookies? I would never have even thought of it! Of course! I was dying to tell you of my findings, but I had to wait until I could figure out the blog thing.
Apr. 6, 2012 7:18 pm
Lela, isn't that the truth? And sassy, you would just LOVE that little girl! Talk about sassy!!!
Apr. 6, 2012 7:20 pm
Thanks iceemama and AllieGeekPi. It was good to figure out my truth! Whatever it will be!
Apr. 6, 2012 7:21 pm
Paula, you are right! Thanks for checking in!
Apr. 6, 2012 7:46 pm
Wonderful blog Marianne, great research. I almost always use salted butter and leave out the salt. I may have to change my way of thinking. Thanks for the info.
Apr. 6, 2012 7:54 pm
Who knows, pelicangal? If I were you, I'd just do what you already do! You seem to do VERY well!!!!
Apr. 6, 2012 7:58 pm
hmmmmm . . . Were they choosing the one they 'preferred' or choosing which one had the salted butter. This test would need to be replicated several times to have any validity. At a near 50/50 split, a wrong guess could produce the same result based on mathematical probabilities.
Apr. 6, 2012 8:48 pm
Not sure, CJ! They really didn't know which had the salted. You know much more about math than I could ever hope to! And, btw, I won't be replicating this test! :)
Apr. 6, 2012 9:39 pm
I have always used salted. I had heard that unsalted was the way to go and tried it once at Christmas. However, th cookies just missed the salted butter to me. It does seem like it brings out the other flavors. Love the pics. and I got to get me some of those cookie cutters!
Apr. 7, 2012 1:23 am
Like Pelicangal, I always buy salted butter to have available for "whatever" and then use it in my baking. I too then just omitted the salt. My cookies have won ribbons at the county fair and now I am selling them under Ohio's cottage food production operations.
Apr. 7, 2012 5:13 am
Good morning, Marianne. BTW, good info and it forced me to think. Let me illustrate by example. A question comes up over bright red or light blue colors. If the 24 participants in the test were asked which one they preferred, you might get results like 13 preferring red, and 11 preferring blue (i.e., similar to your results). That result is based on subjectivity (i.e., color preference). If however, the question is changed to which one of the cars is bright red, and assuming the participants have good eye sight, one would think all 24 participants would select the red car. This is an objective test. The preference (subjective) test produces a near 50%/50% split. The objective test produces a 100% answer. If you picked 24 new participants and they all loved salt, then the preference test the next time done might produce a very different result such as all 24 picking the butter cookies w/ salt. However, the results of the objective test should not change regardless of what participants are chosen assuming they aren’t color blind/blind. I suspect some people wouldn’t be able to identify which butter has salt if only testing the butter but a good number would. However, as it is combined into recipes with other ingredients, I believe the majority wouldn’t know the difference unless they had knowledge of it occurring w/ subjective bias then entering into the equation. The ratio of butter to all other ingredients is another factor . . . where butter is a small %, other than maybe an extremely tiny minority of tasters, I doubt it can be detected. Marianne, thanks for sharing and have a happy Easter weekend.
Apr. 7, 2012 5:30 am
Thanks, Baker Bee. Look for a time when King Arthur has free shipping! Normal, it sounds like you have a good operation set up there! I just love county fairs! I'd love to taste one of your cookies!
Apr. 7, 2012 5:32 am
Conky, I had to read over your explanation several times, but I think I understand. Interesting! In between I enjoyed looking at the photos you have chosen----especially your dog Pecker!
Apr. 7, 2012 6:08 am
I need to remember the free shipping. I am a sucker for the catalogs they mail and forget all about that. I may have gotten one of those cookie cutters. It was an ornament, but I don't remember it being very big. I thought it was more for decorations. I will have to look at it again. It makes the cookies very pretty.
Apr. 7, 2012 8:34 am
Butter is THE BOMB. Everything better with butter. Or Bacon. Or both. Margarine BAD. Margarine is not even food, technically. I balance out butter consumption with frequent usage of olive oil and cooking spray, but sometimes a thing just has to have BUTTER! I have always purchased unsalted, and when baking I use kosher salt in my doughs. (We've also recently adjusted to less salt in everything, so salted butter is now "too salty"!) BTW, your cookies look melt-in-your-mouth SUPERIOR!
Apr. 7, 2012 8:37 am
msntnkrbll, it's like my daughter says---bread is merely a vessel for the butter! I, too, try to keep a mixture of fats in my diet.
Apr. 7, 2012 10:55 am
I may have to rethink my shopping now Marianne. I buy unsalted stick butter for baking and salted whipped butter for everything else. I love those cookie cutters and will have to check out KA's site. Thanks for doing the investigation...now about the salt - I always cook and bake with kosher salt. I forget to use the fancy sea salt someone bought me, but I do use iodized salt on the table (which I never use LOL)
Apr. 7, 2012 11:07 am
I love kosher salt, BigShotsMom, but I haven't used it in baking. I love all the artisan salts because I feel like I'm more in control of the intake! Thanks for stopping by!
Apr. 7, 2012 3:09 pm
Your cookies look great, Marianne. Seems I have a bit in common with you; I love butter, and I love KAF! : ) I always wait until KAF offers free shipping or a discount, and then I stock up on my ingredients. I used to buy salted butter all the time. Now I prefer unsalted, and I buy an organic, cultured butter from grass-fed cows which is my fave. Even though it costs more, since I use it pretty judiciously now, I stick with what I like best. Nothing beats the flavor butter can add!
Apr. 7, 2012 4:23 pm
Marianne, sorry to post this here but I wanted to tell you the KAF Braided Lemon Bread, made with butter, you recommended is fabulous. I am short on fridge space and needed to cut my loaves to get them in. Naturally, we had to take a taste and another and another. You mentioned your first loaf was a bit dry so I used full fat sour cream instead of the yogurt, was very careful with the flour as well as the bake time. I also doubled the cream cheese filling and used almost all of it. This is going to be a hit at our brunch. Only hitch was I tried a new curd recipe from America's Test Kitchen. It was too eggy tasting so I remade it using a tried and true AR recipe. Thanks for sharing the buttery recipe. Happy Easter!
Apr. 7, 2012 7:11 pm
Nice blog Marianne! Ahem, we would have been happy to taste test your cookies too...
Apr. 7, 2012 7:23 pm
wisweetp, I do think I will use unsalted for baking some things and not others. When it comes to butter as the major ingredient, I'll use unsalted. I, too, love KAF. I use their flour exclusively, but I get it at Target where it is cheaper. I love that it is employee owned and that they are so into their products. Thanks for stopping by.
Apr. 7, 2012 7:26 pm
Marie, which recipe for curd do you prefer? I like the one with the Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling one. I will definitely try that bread again. Did you make two loaves or more? My neighbors really loved it, too. In fact, I have everything to make it tomorrow. May do. Thanks for the post.
Apr. 7, 2012 7:26 pm
Magnolia, you know that I'd make anything for you to taste! :)
Apr. 7, 2012 8:24 pm
I made two loaves but they are so big, next time I will make three. I used this curd recipe and also put lemon zest in the cream cheese. That bread is incredibly tender and moist. With the fillings it is really good. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/lemon-curd/detail.aspx
Apr. 7, 2012 8:50 pm
I was reared by a mom who insisted on using margarine. When I was a newlywed I heard my mother-in-law say, "we can't afford butter!" She looked wealthy to me, and she was a dreadful cook, and since then I have always used butter. For biscuits I mix soft butter with soft vegetable shortening in equal parts, then freeze them until I grate the portion into the dry ingredients for either pie or biscuits. I'd rather use unsalted butter when it's important in a recipe, because I like a certain brand of sea salt which is MUCH yummier than Morton's.
Apr. 8, 2012 6:05 am
Marie, did I tell you that I also layered a little strawberry slices on top of the curd? It made it look really pretty when it poked through the top. Thanks for your ideas!
Apr. 8, 2012 6:07 am
Thanks for the comments, GmaSusan. Your idea for the biscuits sounds very interesting! I would like to know which brand of sea salt you use! :)
Apr. 8, 2012 8:08 am
I am so impressed with your blog Marianne. You actually did a much needed scientific experiment. Like you, I have always used what I have on hand (usually salted). Very interesting to see the divided results. See you soon in Vegas!
Apr. 8, 2012 10:22 am
Thanks, mauigirl! I am so stoked about Vegas! I should say, WE are--since it's a very short time until we get there!
Apr. 8, 2012 12:40 pm
Well done Marianne...and thanks for answering that age-old question! Lucky teachers to benefit from your evaluation!
Apr. 8, 2012 7:18 pm
Thanks, Wyattdogster! I wonder if it changed anyone's mind!!!
Apr. 9, 2012 4:10 pm
Yes, butter is an important ingredient in my cooking. The question of salt verses unsalted has always been a problem. I usually use unsalted for sweet foods & salted for savory foods; when recipes don't specify. I brake that rule for chocolate goodies, as I find salt compliments chocolate. I freeze my extra unsalted butter because I don't go through it as fast as the other. It seems to lose flavor as it ages and this way I always have it on hand. I appreciate your post as well as your investigation.
Apr. 9, 2012 5:16 pm
Thanks for the blog!! Always wondered why they ask for unsalted and then add salt to the recipe. Always go for the salted and shrug my shoulders as the unsalted just sits, and sits, and sits............
Apr. 9, 2012 9:37 pm
Pamela, thanks! I need to freeze my unsalted! Thanks for the advice on when to use them. Phoebe, I know what you mean! Thanks for weighing in!
Apr. 9, 2012 10:39 pm
[Confession time. I tend to open blogs, look through the pics, then go back and read . . . ] When I opened your blog and looked at the pics, I thought you had made little Easter butters (= I was extremely impressed (= The cookies are indeed cute, btw (= I, too, use what I have on hand. But that is normally salted (= If a recipe states "unsalted," then I just leave out the added salt. Btw, my cookie crumbs no longer have added salt as an ingredient. ONE person always complained that they were too salty. [Of course, his hand was always in them anyway.] But I use salted butter and took the salt out of the recipe . . . http://allrecipes.com/personalrecipe/62465535/barbaras-cookie-crumbs/detail.aspx
Apr. 10, 2012 3:29 am
Since 'butter' was the topic at our Easter table this past weekend, I thought I'd drop one more note into the bucket. Unbeknownst to many of my guests, that stick of butter in your butter dish does NOT need to be refrigerated. Room temperature butter is so much better, whether slathering hot biscuits or skimming bread for toasting. My friend's husband is a dairyman and he backs up my claim. Also, since we don't skimp on its usage, I buy in bulk when it's on sale and freeze. It lasts forever and a day ... or until we eat it all up which isn't quite that long!
Apr. 10, 2012 5:41 am
Xray, I guess that's how our recipes just keep evolving, isn't it! I'll have to go back to my recipe and change it! Bwl8585, I agree that room temp butter is tasty. But then I like everything room temp--even my water! Thanks to your friend on validation of leaving it out!
Apr. 10, 2012 7:01 am
Wonderful Blog Marianne! I love that you conducted this experient and I REALLY love those cute cookie cutters. When I started baking, that was one of the first questions I asked everyone. Why some recipes call for unsalted butter and some just say butter. I now use only unsalted butter to bake. Here's my reason.... The UNSALTED butter is ONLY for baking. (Salted butter is for cooking and spreading.) The UNSALTED butter has it's own space in the fridge. That way, I'm relatively sure I'll have some when I bake.
Apr. 10, 2012 9:39 am
I LOVE BUTTER TOO! Butter makes everything better! I prefer Land o Lakes (salted), though I occasionally use unsalted for baking. I am a true butter addict.
Apr. 10, 2012 5:35 pm
What a lovely blog! Loved the cookie cutters and loved your testing to see which was the better butter. Honestly, if I could get my hands of fresh that would be my pick :)(: salted or not!
Apr. 11, 2012 6:01 am
Candice, I'll have to keep both on hand. I think the unsalted will stay in the freezer since it doesn't have quite the shelf life as salted! Thanks for stopping by----virtually AND literally. We had a wonderful visit.
Apr. 11, 2012 6:03 am
Cheryl, yup! Looks like we are not alone! Cat Hill, fresh would be great! I'm not sure I've ever eaten fresh. Not straight from the farm, though on my grandma's farm in Idaho, I probably did but was too young to know.
Apr. 11, 2012 9:44 am
Late to the party as usual - I never buy unsalted butter - not sure why. Your cookies look great too.
Apr. 11, 2012 8:15 pm
Thanks, Doug. I'm not sure why I buy whatever butter I have in the past, either. Maybe because I'm so easily led!
Apr. 11, 2012 9:27 pm
(Please don't shoot me!) I used to ONLY buy margarine. Probably because that's what I was raised on, and the cost . . . But, we always just kind of generically calle dit "butter" - like bandages are all called Bandaids and facial tissues are all called Kleenex. I sent my husband to the store for "butter" - but when he came home, I gave him a hard time for buying BUTTER. He said, "THAT's what you asked for!" I said, "I ONLY buy margarine! We always call it butter!" Poor guy! Never stood a chance (=
Apr. 12, 2012 5:56 am
I understand about the margarine. Heck, I grew up with my grandparents who used to knead the color into the white glob of stuff to make it look good. You are so right about the use of brand names to describe other products! And, oh, I would never shoot you! :)
Apr. 12, 2012 9:43 am
Apr. 13, 2012 5:08 am
Beautiful pictures, Marianne! And your "experiment" was so carefully done! Thanks for the info!
Apr. 13, 2012 7:06 am
You are welcome, Bibi! See you in Vegas!
Apr. 13, 2012 8:28 am
Hi Marianne, LOVE LOVE your blog!!! So cute. I do have to thank all of my AR family for changing my attitude of using butter vs. plastic gunk. It makes soo much difference to use the Real thing. It is a head slapper! Lol. Can't wait to see you in Vegas!
Apr. 13, 2012 7:37 pm
At one point in our lives, we probably most of us used margarine. Patty, won't we have fun in Vegas????!!!
Apr. 14, 2012 6:27 am
Someone suggested leaving butter at room temp. I've done this many times. Until I made the mistake of leaving unsalted butter out too long. It went rancid. I assumed without salt it spoiled like delicate oil & nuts tend to do. I strongly recommend you make sure it's salted butter you leave out not unsalted kind.
Apr. 17, 2012 5:34 am
Even refrigerated, Pamela, it doesn't last as long, does it?! Thanks for the reminder!
Apr. 20, 2012 6:05 pm
Now, I have been told the unsalted butter is sweeter then the salted butter and that was the only difference. I also believe the best butter in the world was Amish butter, but I also found out it depends on which Amish people make it. Years ago I got the best butter in the world in Lancaster, PA. But to buy it today, well it's just not the same as their grand parents and them before them.
Apr. 20, 2012 8:14 pm
Cindy, isn't that the truth about so many things---that the items are just not the same any more? Not all of them, but so many things, from appliances to food items.
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About Me
As a child of Swedish parents who always cooked, I have always loved to serve up my love to others through food--just like my folks. Most of my favorite family memories are a result of meals, families sitting around the table talking, parties with good food, good wine, sparkling conversations.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite foods depend on the time of year, the occasion, and my hankerings. I'm easily coerced into changing my mind by mere suggestions (I am Libra rising): a bit of meat--yum; a pancake--I'm ready; potatoes--now what! Desserts, well, that's a whole new ball of wax! Whew!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Swedish pancakes are really a trademark I copied from my mother. These crepe-like pancakes are cooked on a cast iron griddle, spotted with sour cream and jam, rolled up and then sprinkled with syrup. I dare you to eat just one!
My cooking triumphs
When I cook vegetables and am actually able to eat them, I consider that to be a triumph! I grew up with a botanist father who grew EVERY single vegetable possible and could NOT for the life of me eat them. I'm the only one of four children who would sit at the table for hours until I finally convinced them I wouldn't eat. Now, only a few, and then mostly only raw.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married more than 40 years ago, I bought a bag of peanuts from someone "giving" them away for some charitable organization. Naive, yes. I made a meatloaf (supposedly a very good recipe) using those stale, sour nuts and ended up throwing the "result" against the sink when my husband suggested that perhaps this was not really an edible meal. I have since learned better ways to handle disappointments!
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