Not everyone can crank out perfect biscuits or pillow-soft yeast rolls on the first try, but anyone can crank out Butter Dips from the get-go. The warm bread sticks known as Butter Dips have tender, biscuit-like tops and crusty, golden brown bottoms from having baked in a pool of melted butter. They are quick and easy. They really are.
Back when hot bread was commonplace on the dinner table, this type of recipe was a boon for time-strapped cooks. Butter Dips require none of the proofing and rising of yeast rolls and none of the delicate rolling and cutting of biscuits. Butter dip dough is stirred up with a fork in a single bowl, cut into strips, and baked in a dish. Voila. Hot, buttery bread in minutes.
This is the type of recipe that many home cooks once kept near the front of the recipe box or taped inside a cabinet door, assuming they didn’t know it by heart. Butter Dips were immortalized on the pages of classic cookbooks, such as Talk About Good! from the Junior League of Lafayette and the 1956 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.
The recipe is amenable to creative tweaks, such as adding a 1/2 cup of grated cheese to the dough, adding minced garlic or herbs to the butter, or sprinkling the tops with coarse salt or sesame seeds before baking. But with all that butter, they don’t need much else.
Butter dips are a fine accompaniment to soups, salads, and suppers, and also make a great appetizer or snack.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk
How to Make It
Position a rack in the center and heat the oven to 450°F. Put the butter in a 9-inch-square baking dish and place in the oven to melt, about 5 minutes.
While the butter melts, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, pour in the milk, and stir with a fork only until the dry ingredients are moist. The dough will be soft and sticky.
Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead about 10 turns, adding no more flour than is needed to keep it from sticking to your hands. Pat into a long, narrow rectangle that’s about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 12 equal strips with a pizza cutter or sharp knife dipped in flour.
Remove the dish from the oven. Working with one at a time, transfer the strips to the baking dish and turn to coat in butter. Nest the strips snuggly together in rows.
Bake until the strips are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot.