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Best method to soften butter or cream cheese - FAST

I need to make a cheesecake tonight when I get home. Of course the cream cheese has been in the refrigerator.

Any tricks/tips to soften evenly? While we are at it, how about butter too.

TIA

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  1. this may be too late, but...

    cooks illustrated recommends wrapping the cream cheese or butter in plastic wrap, then submerging it in a bowl of hot tap water for 5-10 min.

    ;)

    1. i microwave my frozen butter, 10 seconds per side, 6 sides in all, chop into bits if it's still rock hard. or if i'm not as impatient, i sit it out on one of the shelves of the old o'keefe and merrit gas stove-- that thing is like a radiator you can cook with.

      1. Martha Stewart recommends grating it, which works pretty well if the butter is really hard.

        1. I usually just throw them in my KitchenAid mixer and let it go for a while.

          1. I take it out of the metal wrapping and microwave for 20 seconds for cream cheese.

            I microwave refridgerated butter for 14 seconds. Works like a charm :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: yumcha

              Thanks, yumcha! I microwaved 1 stick of butter for 14 seconds and it really did work like a charm.