How to Cream Butter and Sugar
Creaming butter and sugar typically refers to beating softened butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes (closer to 10 minutes is recommended for best results). However you will see some recipes call for you to cream a mixture that doesn't contain either; in this case it usually means just to beat on high until the desired affect is reached.
Creaming is an important part of making many cakes and cookies and although many recipes don‟t call for you to do it, I recommend creaming the butter and sugar as it adds a great deal of texture, taking your cakes and cookies to a new level.
The typical fats used in creaming are butter or shortening. The sugars used are super-fine, table or brown. You can't substitute sugars like agave as the crystalline structure of the table sugar is required to cut into the fat, forming the millions of tiny air bubbles.
- Start with near room-temperature butter (or another fat if the recipes calls for it). You don’t want to heat your butter to room temperature or the creaming will easily fail, allow it to come up to temperature on its own.
- Cut the butter into restaurant-sized pads then use a paddle attachment if you have one and beat the butter on low just to soften up the butter.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat the butter for a minute or a bit more, until the butter is nice and smooth. Be sure not to over beat as the butter will get too soft and not be able to hold the air bubbles.
- SLOWLY, add the sugar in a very small stream or 1 Tbsp. at a time into the butter while you continue to beat on medium. Continue in this manner, regularly stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula, until all the sugar is used up and the mixture is very light in color (pale ivory), airy and holds ridges made by the beaters. This should take 5 minutes or longer. However, times may vary depending on the type of beater you use, the speed you add the sugar and the starting temperature of the butter so don’t worry too much about the time it takes, just get it to the desired color and consistency.
- Use the mixture right away; you can store your creamed mixture for a bit in the fridge but the air bubbles will escape as it sets.
Learning how to cream butter and sugar properly will improve the texture of many desserts and I highly recommend you do it.
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