Although it is such a simple process, many cooks are stumped when it comes to creaming butter and shortening. Most baking recipes call for you to cream butter with sugar, yet do not explain how to cream. This leaves the novice cook at a disadvantage in trying to prepare the recipe. Creaming is the process of transforming butter or shortening into a creamy fluffy shape. This occurs from air pockets formed during the process, which creates better cakes and cookies that rise when baked.
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Place butter or shortening on a kitchen table or countertop. Let it soften to room temperature.
Slice the butter or shortening into ¼-inch pats, and place it in the mixing bowl. Add the amount of sugar called for in the recipe you are using.
Plug in the hand mixer or stand mixer and set it on low speed. Put the mixer into the bowl and allow the butter or shortening to flow through the beaters. When the sugar is incorporated, turn the speed to medium.
Watch as the butter or shortening thins and transforms into a fluffy texture. The process takes from two to four minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally with a spatula to make sure all of the butter or shortening is incorporated. Once it is fluffy, you can add the other ingredients.