A lot of people make a big deal about what kind of butter to use when baking. I’m sure Alton Brown has at one point or another devoted a whole episode of Good Eats to the subject, and I’m equally sure that he falls into the unsalted-butter-only camp. But does it really matter what kind of butter you use in your cookies?
About half the cookies I’ve baked in my lifetime were made with salted butter; the other half were made with unsalted butter. Big whoop. The only difference in taste was that everyone liked the salted-butter cookies better than the unsalted-butter cookies. Yes, you read that correctly.
I think of it this way: I’d rather have a piece of crusty bread slathered with salted butter than with unsalted butter. Why? Because the salted butter tastes better than the unsalted butter…that’s why. I think the same is true in cookies. Better tasting butter makes better tasting cookies.
So what’s the take-away from this post? Butter of any kind—salted, unsalted, hand-churned by elves beneath the light of a full moon—is better than using olive oil in a sweet treat. Three words to prove my point: olive oil brownies. (Don’t ask.)
But seriously: Don’t stress about the butter thing. If you’ve got unsalted, use unsalted. If you you’ve got salted, use salted. Just taste what you’ve got before you use it. If your salted butter is really salty, use a smidge less salt in your dry ingredients. If you use unsalted butter in one of my recipes, add 1/4 teaspoon extra salt to your dry ingredients. Simple as that.