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Thread: Substitute butter for shortening in sugar cookies?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Substitute butter for shortening in sugar cookies?

    Every year for Christmas we make my Great-Grandmotherís Sugar Cookie recipe, which calls for 3/4 cups shortening. I just read in an issue of ďReal SimpleĒ that using shortening in cookies instead of butter produces fluffier cookies, BUT the trade-off is flavor. They recommend using half butter, half shortening.

    I donít want to do a test batch, but I donít want to ruin our annual sugar cookies either. Can I safely substitute half the amount with butter, or would just using butter-flavored Crisco give me the same flavor (which I'm currently using anyway)?

  2. #2
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    Don't know the answer but **bump** because I'd like to know too. I recently made some oatmeal raisin cookies & used all butter. (usually I don't buy shortening or margarine) the cookies spread more than I wanted. Not sure if a different fat or combo would have helped. I used to use margarine in them & they stayed thicker.

  3. #3
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    Butter and margarine are not 100% fat -- there are some milk solids and water in the mix. So, cookies made with them will spread more. Shortening (and lard), on the other hand, are 100% fat, so they retain their shape more.

    Will your sugar cookies look/taste different if you go to half and half? Well ... maybe. Will you like it better? Maybe, who knows until you try? But, the difference won't be as great as if you go to all butter.

    My mother always used half and half when making the Toll House Cookie recipe, and everyone always said they were the best choc chip cookies, and could never figure out how she could use the "same" recipe as everyone else and get a better result. *chuckle* One of our family secrets ....

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by funniegrrl
    Butter and margarine are not 100% fat -- there are some milk solids and water in the mix. So, cookies made with them will spread more. Shortening (and lard), on the other hand, are 100% fat, so they retain their shape more.

    Will your sugar cookies look/taste different if you go to half and half? Well ... maybe. Will you like it better? Maybe, who knows until you try? But, the difference won't be as great as if you go to all butter.

    My mother always used half and half when making the Toll House Cookie recipe, and everyone always said they were the best choc chip cookies, and could never figure out how she could use the "same" recipe as everyone else and get a better result. *chuckle* One of our family secrets ....
    I thought that was MY secret!! LOL

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    This recipe is 20 years old and from Southern Living and the only sugar cookie endorsed by DS#3 ! It uses all butter but for the past 5 years I have been using European style butter now that it's available in my area. As funniegrrl mentioned butter has water and US butter has more water than European style. Not sure if you have HEB's out in El Paso but they make sell this tyle under their own name. I believe a common brand is Plugra...anyway makes for a very tasty cookie!

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Old-Fashioned Teacakes

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 48 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories :

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    1 cup butter
    2 cups sugar
    2 tbs buttermilk
    3 eggs
    5 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    additional sugar

    Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add buttermilk, and beat well. Combine flour and soda; gradually stir into creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla. Chill dough several hours or overnight (Note: I have kept this in the fridge for several days since I normally double the recipe).

    Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into rounds with a 3 1/2" cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheet; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400ļ for 7-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies to wire rack and let cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen.


    Source:
    "Southern Living"
    Copyright:
    "November, 1984"
    Yield:
    "48 cookies"

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 118 Calories; 4g Fat (32.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 70mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Austin, Texas
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    I have switched back and forth between margarine and butter from year to year, but I don't think I've tried purely shortening. Regardless of which way you go - and it sounds like half butter would be a great one to try - you aren't going to RUIN your cookies. The shape may be a little different (for cut-out cookies, probably a less defined shape on the intricate cookies), and the taste will be different (better with at least some butter), but it's not as though you will have to throw them away. You may want to watch carefully as you bake - the times may be altered a little - I think they brown a little faster with butter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    7
    Has anyone else purchased European butter? I've not heard of it, but like the flavor so much better with all butter, that I'd love to try it. Any one know if Trader Joe's carries it? How does the cost compare? Thanks

  8. #8
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    Sep 2003
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    Right where I want to be
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    Trader Joe's does sell European butter. I can't remember how much it is exactly, but it's much cheaper than purchasing it at the supermarket. Costco was selling it for awhile, but I haven't seen it there lately.

    I've never used anything but butter in my sugar cookies--or any other baked goods. I've never had any problems with sugar cookies not holding their shape, and the flavor trade-off just wouldn't be worth it to me to switch to shortening. I'm sure you could go to half and half without too much impact on the final cookie. Since it's such an important part of your holiday celebration, I'd do at least half of a test batch to be sure. You don't have to cut them into special shapes--just roll, score into squares, and bake. Then you'll know for sure.

  9. #9
    I would sub margarine for the shortening - its closer in consistency as others have pointed out. I have a sugar cookie recipe that absolutely tastes awful when made with real butter but is great when made with all margarine oddly enough. (I won't touch shortening with a 10 foot pole.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    383
    The recipe I use calls for all shortening, but I split it 1/2 butter- 1/2 shortening. They are always good.
    Runs for food

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