Vintage butter okay for cookies?

A:

The question of when butter is unsafe to eat is a tricky one. There are many food safety resources that have different recommended storage times for butter. So, I'm not surprised that you are unsure whether or not your cookie dough is good to eat.

The varying storage times are based on the type of wrapper that the butter came in, the temperature that it is stored at, and whether or not it is salted butter (salted butter generally lasts longer). Based on the information I have seen, the maximum storage time for unopened butter in the refrigerator stored at 32 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit is 4 months. If the package was opened, stored in the door of the refrigerator, or left out for a period of time, then the storage time will be only a couple of weeks. If you are not going to use the butter within a couple of weeks of purchasing, it should be stored in the freezer.

So, the butter you used may have been rancid which would cause a change in the color of the butter and an unpleasant flavor. Since your cookies will be baked, I would consider this a very low food safety risk. But it will affect the quality and flavor of your holiday cookies.

For more specific information on recommended storage times, trying looking on the website of the brand of butter you purchased.

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