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By Nellie's Kindness Crew
Found in the instructions section of most cookie and cake recipes, creaming butter and sugar is an important step in baking. "Creaming" refers to the process of incorporating sugar and softened butter into a uniform, fluffy, and smooth mixture in which the sugar is dissolved and evenly dispersed. Though it requires a hand or stand mixer, it's worth the extra effort for delightfully chewy cookies and finely crumbed cakes.
Creaming butter and sugar before adding other ingredients like flour and eggs dissolves the sugar using the water contained within the butter, removing grittiness and ensuring that whatever you're baking will have the right texture. This process also beats air pockets into the butter, lightening the structure of the mixture. In a hot oven, those air bubbles will expand, giving your baked goods the proper height and rise. Eggs and flour can be easily overmixed, so taking the time to cream butter and sugar before adding other ingredients ensures that your batter or dough won't split or lose its structure.
There are three key elements to perfectly creamed butter and sugar: an electric hand or stand mixer, [softened butter](http://nelliesfreerange.com/blog/how-to-soften-butter), and patience.
While creaming butter and sugar isn't a difficult process, there are a few things that can go wrong. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to avoid overmixing, undermixing, and a chunky or greasy mess!
Hi! I make a French Silk Pie that is not cooked, so I sometimes have a gritty butter and sugar mixture. How do I get rid of the grittiness? Thanks!
Hey Nancy! You'll find that sugar won't fully dissolve with butter, because there's just not enough water content to do so. To best combat this, make sure your butter is as close to room temperature as possible, almost to the point of melting. In addition, beat the mixture for a longer period of time on a lower speed, allowing the sugar to dissolve a bit more. You'll always see some degree of grit, but we hope this will help you to minimize it as much as possible!
We're so glad you're finding it useful, Peris!
How do you know how long to cream the butter and sugar before it is too long? What does "too long" look like?
Hi there! Great question. If you overmix the sugar and butter, the butter will separate out of the mixture and it will be grainy or soupy, so be sure to stop once your butter becomes light and fluffy. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
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