From spicy gingerbread to cookies for Santa to tart apple pie, many of the most beloved holiday desserts have one thing in common: butter.
Next time you whip up a batch of your favorite cookies, instead of taking the butter out to soften, try putting it in the freezer. Though it might seem a little unorthodox, this simple trick is a game-changer.
Here’s how it works: When you’re ready to mix your dough, grate the frozen stick with a cheese grater. Turns out baking with shreds of frozen butter has a few advantages.
First, it’s much easier and faster to work shredded frozen butter into a dough. Second, keeping the butter ice-cold when you incorporate it into a pie or biscuit dough prevents it from melting right away—locking in that incredible flaky texture as soon as you pop it into the oven. For recipes that call for softened butter (like cookies or bars), the shredded version is also superior because it softens much more quickly than a solid stick. After just a few seconds left out at room temperature, it’ll be perfectly soft but not melted.
Take advantage of this simple trick in all of your holiday baking for better results—think fluffier cookies, more tender pie crusts, and extra-light biscuits. Your tastebuds will thank you.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont