A common first step in cookie recipes, creaming aerates the butter, resulting in cookies with a light, tender texture. To cream butter, beat it with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until it expands, lightens in color, and becomes soft and smooth. This should take 3 to 4 minutes with a mixer or longer by hand. Then add the sugar and beat until the grains are completely incorporated. Test by rubbing the mixture between your thumb and forefinger; it should feel smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once during creaming to blend the ingredients evenly.