By special request, I’m starting a new series on some of the basic techniques of cooking & baking. I know that I’m no expert, as I’m a pupil of the School of Trial & Error. The interwebz, my cookbooks, my mother & mother-in-law & my fellow bloggers have educated me & I’d like to return the favor.
Up until about a year ago, I had no idea that the secret to the perfect buttery chocolate chip cookie was creaming the butter.
Uh yeah. Whatever. We all have to learn at some point.
Thanks to this fantastic book by Martha Stewart, I learned this technique & was amazed at the difference it made in the confections I baked:
(This book? Is totally awesome. My mom gave it to me for my birthday & it’s been my Bible ever since. It has fantastic recipes in addition to tips, tricks, & lessons on technique. Perfect for any newbie-cook!)
First, you want to get your butter to room temperature. Don’t put it in the microwave or try to melt it by other means. Just let it sit on the counter for half an hour or so. Once you can press your finger into the stick & leave an indention without smooshing the rest of the stick, your butter is ready for some quality time with sugar.
Dump your butter & sugar into a mixing bowl. You can either mix it by hand with a wooden spoon:
Or be a lazy arse like me & use a mixer:
(Don’t hate. I earned my mixer. I creamed many-a batches of butter by hand with a wooden spoon before I finally conned/begged/pleaded Brandon into letting me buy a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.)
By hand, it takes about 5-6 minutes to get to the light & fluffy desired texture. In the mixer, only takes 2-3 minutes.
Once you’ve reached a creamy, paler shade… stop! You don’t want to overdo it as it can change the composition of your recipe.
It takes a little practice to get it just right, but the benefit is well worth it in the taste of your finished product!