What is the Creaming Method for Cookies?
- Skill Level: Beginner
The creaming method is a mixing method used for making many different varieties of cookies. This method is similar to the creaming method for cakes, but does differ slightly due to cakes requiring more liquid in their batters than in cookie dough.
The creaming method gets its name from the first step of the mixing process where butter and sugar is creamed together. The process of creaming butter and sugar together helps to lighten and leaven your cookies. This process also increases the volume of your cookie dough which equals more cookies!
What Kinds of Cookies are Made Using the Creaming Method?
Many different kinds of cookies are made using the creaming method. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and most other drop cookies are made using this method. Shortbread cookies and sugar cookies are also styles of cookies that utilize the creaming method.
How Long Does Creaming Butter and Sugar Take?
The process of creaming butter and sugar together serves to force air to get caught in a web of fat and sugar. You aren’t just mixing the two together, you are aerating the ingredients.
I suggest mixing the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes at a medium high speed to properly cream the two together. You will also want to scrape down the bowl at least once during this process to ensure all of the mixture is getting creamed together.
How to Make Cookies Using the Creaming Method
Prep: Allow Ingredients to Come to Room Temperature
In order to properly execute the creaming method for cookies, you want to make sure your butter and your eggs are at room temperature. Butter should be soft but not greasy looking or starting to melt. I suggest removing them from the refrigerator about 1 hour before making your cookies.
If you are in a hurry, you can cut your butter into very small pieces and spread it out on a plate to bring it to room temperature quickly. I do not suggest microwaving butter to bring it to room temperature, because if it starts to melt you will not be able to cream it properly. Uncracked eggs can be placed in a bowl of slightly warm water to bring them to room temperature.
Step 1: Cream Together Your Butter and Sugar
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for your cookie dough until they are light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes on a medium/high speed. Scrape down the bowl at least once about half way through the mixture.
Step 2: Add Eggs in 1 at a Time
After the butter and sugar is creamed together, it is time to add the eggs and vanilla extract. You want to add the eggs into your creamed butter and sugar mixture one at a time, and mix just until combined. This will ensure you won’t break your creamed mixture and you don’t want to beat any air into the eggs at this point.
Step 3: Add your Dry Ingredients & Mix as Little as Possible
The next step in making cookie dough using the creaming method is to mix in the dry ingredients. I prefer to add in my baking soda, baking powder, and salt first and mix those in completely before adding the flour. I find this helps with even distribution.
Once you add the flour into your dough, mix the dough as little as possible, just until the flour is absorbed. Over-mixing your cookie dough can develop the gluten too much and create tough cookies.
Step 4: Fold in Your Mix-Ins
The last step of the creaming method process for cookies is to fold in any mix-ins your cookie dough might have. You also want to be careful during this step to not over-mix the cookie dough.