Cutting In aka Creaming
Creaming simply means mixing your butter and sugar together until well blended, leaving you with a fluffy light yellow mix. Just do not over mix!
Butter and sugars are over mixed when the butter begins to separate. The reason we cream butter and sugar together is to create little air pockets in our dough.The air will mix with the leavening agent expand making cookies rise.
Chilled butter is too hard to break down and fully blend with the sugar. Overly soft or melted butter will whip up into frothy air bubbles. These will eventually collapse into a greasy wet batter and bake into a heavy and soggy baked good.
Using chunks of butter the size of your thumbnail will yield the flakiest results. This technique combines fat and flour in a way that preserves shards of fat in the mixture.
These shards create a flaky, tender texture in the baked cookie by getting between the layers of flour and liquid in the dough keeping them separate as they bake.
Creaming can be accomplished with a pastry fork, a pastry blender, a food processor pulsed gently or your stand mixer.
The Tools You Need to Cream Butter and Sugar
Stand mixers are ideal for creaming butter and sugar, but hand mixers work well, too. You can gently mash sugar into your softened butter with the tines of a fork.
Then use wooden spoon and stir the mixture until it is light and fluffy.
A rubber spatula can be used to periodically scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl.
How to Cream Your Sugar and Butter by Hand
- Place the butter out on the counter for at least an hour, or until it becomes room temperature. The butter should feel soft, but not warm or melty. If your finger leaves a little indent when you touch it your butter is ready.
- Slice the butter into cubes or grate using the largest side of a grater, and put them in a large mixing bowl. Beat the butter with a wooden spoon until it is soft.
- Add your sugar to the butter and gently mash it with the tines of a fork. With your wooden spoon stir the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl periodically. The butter is creamed when it has almost doubled in mass and it has lightened to a yellowish white color. If it looks grainy and white it is over mixed.
How to Cream Your Sugar and Butter in a Mixer
Place the butter out on the counter for at least an hour, or until it becomes room temperature.
Use a grater or your mixer on low to break up the cubes of butter.
Then turn the speed up to medium and mix for 1 -1 1/2 minutes. Stop the mixer every so often and scrape the butter out of the beaters with a rubber spatula.
Set your mixer to medium speed. Begin adding in the sugar a little bit at a time. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl periodically.
The butter is creamed when it has almost doubled in mass and it has lightened to a yellowish white color.
Keep mixing on medium speed until the mix starts forming little peak-like ridges. This takes 6–7 minutes.
Besides looks, the feel of well mixed and over mixed will be different as well.
Under creamed and your mix will feel like wet sand or damp cornmeal.
Over creamed, and your mix will have the feel of oil and sugar on your fingers, rather like a facial scrub.
Your well creamed mix will be moist and light and the sugar will be nearly dissolved. You’ll barely feel any grit when you rub it between your fingers.