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Thread: The new Crisco shortening....

  1. #1

    The new Crisco shortening....

    Crisco Shortening has come out with a new formula with 0 grams of transfat. It's taking the place of the old shortening (which will no longer be available) and comes in the same blue cans with a note on the label that it's transfat-free.

    (Crisco tried out a version of transfat-free Crisco a couple of years ago, and it didn't sell well. Apparently, that formula didn't work well in baking. I believe it came in a green can (?) though I never tried it. That version is gone.)

    I have been interested in this new Crisco, because we all want to eat healthier foods, but I do love baking, and some of my recipes (that are family favorites) call for shortening and I was curious how well this new product would work. So when I saw it in Kroger this week, I bought some.

    The first thing I baked was a recipe for gingerbread that we're fond of (I've been making it since high school, I think!). The gingerbread did not rise in the pan as it should - it was lower overall, plus one side rose higher than the other. Also, the taste was different - heavier. The "crumb" of the cake was not was it should be. The shortening itself is harder, not as creamy, when you're spooning it out, and doesn't dissolve as easily in mixing (I was stirring by hand).

    All of this does not look good. I'm wondering how this new product will perform in other recipes where shortening is used (biscuits, pie crust, some cookie recipes, etc.). I may be making biscuits this week as an experiment.

    I'm bummed out about this. There are certain recipes where shortening has always worked best (it's stable, it doesn't take on flavors). But I don't have confidence in this particular product. And, the old Crisco is gone!

    I thought I would pass this along to those of you who love to bake. I wondered if you were aware of the changes in Crisco and have any experience with it.

    Here is a link to the Crisco site with info about it:

    http://www.crisco.com/about/shorteni...mstransfat.asp

  2. #2
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    I use shortening in buttercream icing for my cakes. I used the trans-fat free version with no issues, but I'm not baking with it - just the icing.
    Terri _A
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by peachesncream View Post

    (Crisco tried out a version of transfat-free Crisco a couple of years ago, and it didn't sell well. Apparently, that formula didn't work well in baking. I believe it came in a green can (?) though I never tried it. That version is gone.)
    Hmm... I don't know - I've used it in pie crusts, cookies, cakes and frostings without much difference at all.
    Joe

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  4. #4
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    I've always been hesitant to bake recipes with shortening...I think I have this fear of shortening, don't ask me why...I've always thought that butter was a healthier choice but I have nothing to back that up....I'm wondering why I have this bias...

  5. #5
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    Before Crisco announced they would discontinue the old formula, Cook's Illustrated tested the transfat-free version exhaustively and concluded it performed exactly as well as the standard formula except for one small exception. I'm afraid I don't recall now what it was, but they said it wasn't significant enough for them to hesitate to give a "highly recommended" rating to the product. Maybe you'll have better luck with future recipes.

    ETA, I don't bake much but I did buy a can of the "green label" to make cc cookies and I didn't notice any difference.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  6. #6
    I decided to look up the article in Cooks Illustrated. The only one I found was written in 2005, which would have been right after the first version of transfat-free Crisco came out. Here is part of the article:

    "In fact, we couldn't tell the difference between the chicken fried in the original and new Crisco. The chicken tasted the same, and the skin was equally crisp.

    In the case of the pie crust and biscuits, we could not discern a different taste, but there was a slight difference in texture. The pie crust made with the original product was a bit more tender, while the crust made with the new product was a bit more stiff and crackerlike. Likewise, the biscuits made with the original Crisco were slightly more tender and also a little more fluffy than their Zero Grams Trans Fat counterparts. Because the overall differences were so slight, we would not hesitate to try the new Crisco in any recipe that calls for vegetable shortening."

    What's interesting to me is that they did find differences (not in a good way) but didn't consider them important. I guess the differences are subtle.
    Also, they didn't attempt cake-baking, or cookies. I'm inclined to think that cakes are where the difference would show most.

    I'm decided to try my favorite oatmeal cookies (which call for both butter and shortening) next.

    Maybe I'm being an alarmist. In any case, the transfat-free movement seems to be here to stay, and they aren't planning to make or stock the old Crisco.

  7. #7
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    I've used the trans-fat free crisco with success in baking cookies and cake. I have a few recipes that call for butter flavor crisco, but there isn't a trans-fat free version of that so I used recipes that call for butter instead. I do have a bit of butter flavored crisco left in my cupboard. I rarely use it.

    Peaches, creaming shortening by hand probably has a lot more to do with the finished product not having the crumb you desired than the fact that the shortening isn't made with hydrogenated fat. Creaming and aerating the fat/sugar mixture is essential to creating the perfect crumb.

    Erin, butter has more saturated fat, but it also has stearic acid which is heart healthy. It also contains cholesterol. I believe it is better for you than shortening, and it tastes so much better, too.
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  8. #8
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    I now use Spectrum Organic Shortening when I need to use shortening, but I did try several recipes with the green can/trans fat free Crisco and did not notice any difference.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by peachesncream View Post
    I decided to look up the article in Cooks Illustrated. The only one I found was written in 2005, which would have been right after the first version of transfat-free Crisco came out. Here is part of the article: ....
    Wow, either time passes a lot more quickly than I'd thought, or I read an out-of-date issue of the magazine (both perfectly feasible). But yea, that rings a bell. Maybe it *was* the "green label" version, because I didn't notice any difference in texture at all, so their evaluation made sense to me. But literally the only recipe I make that calls for shortening is chocolate chip cookies, and that's what I bought the TF-free Crisco for. Maybe it was dumb luck for me. Hope you find a suitable solution for those family recipes!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #10
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    The last time I bought Crisco, I was still able to buy the green label kind. I only use it to make pie crusts (which I don't do very often - usually around the holidays). We didn't notice any difference in texture or taste. I haven't tried the "new" Crisco yet, though.

    For Thanksgiving pies last year I bought leaf lard from an Amish company to use in place of the shortening. Wow! The crusts were incredible. But, there's still something very "naughty" about using/eating lard, even when it's only once a year!
    Cindi in KC

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  11. #11
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    My concern is that it is "0 grams Trans Fat Per Serving", indicating that there is less trans fat, but it is still present in the product. From what I have read, NO amount of Trans Fat is OK to use. I found a product called Earth Balance Shortening (scroll down to see the shortening) in the Health Food section of my regular grocery store. It is more expensive, but I find I am using fewer recipes that call for shortening anyway. I use that when needed, and then I am also trying to find more recipes where I can use canola oil for the fat.
    kathyb


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  12. #12
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    erinlovesmarc, I've always had a bias against shortening, too. Something about the way it looks just bothers me for some reason. There's a few holiday cookies I make that call for it, but that's the extent of my shortening use. I doubt that a couple of sticks a year is going to kill me, transfats or no. Maybe I should try lard?

  13. #13
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    I use the Spectrum Organic Shortening and have found it to work well for when I need it. I never used shortening much, but since my 2 boys can't have butter, sometimes I need something to substitute.

    I stear clear of the Earth's Balance stuff as it is a lot of Canola oil and Soybean both which I avoid (both are highly refined oils which go through processes that render them unhealthy according to the stuff I read) also I try to limit soy as it has phytoestrogens which can mess with your hormone balance (among other problems with it when it isn't traditionally fermented).

    Lisa

  14. #14
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    I also use the Spectrum Organic shortening in recipes where I need to use shortening, and so far it's been a great success. I have an oatmeal cookie recipe (the original Quaker Oats one from 1955) that calls for shortening...it tastes terrible with Crisco (the regular kind), but when I make it with the Spectrum shortening, they are very good (almost as good as when I make them with butter). I haven't tried the Spectrum in icing yet.

  15. #15
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    It is my understanding that the move to remove partially hydrogenated oil from the food supply is based upon these concerns:

    1. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol (as do saturated fats), but they also lower good cholesterol.

    2. A small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in meat which most Americans eat.

    3. With trans fat of any kind being harmful, why have an artificial product in the food supply that has so much trans fat in it?

    No matter what laws get passed, it will be awhile before this product is completely removed. As stated in the April, 2007, Nutrition Action: "One barrier to switching oils is the limited supply of alternatives. Fortunately, the sharp increase in demand for trans-free oils has spurred farmers and processors to ramp up production of canola, high-oleic canola, sunflower, and low-linolenic soybean oil."

    Kay

  16. #16
    Kathy B is right - there is still transfat in the latest version of Crisco. I found this information in a recent article in the Sioux City Journal:

    "Crisco still has a small amount of artificial trans fat but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows any product with less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving to list zero grams trans fat in its nutrition facts."

    So, it turns out that the new Crisco isn't transfat-free.

    Regarding the Spectrum Organic shortening, can someone tell me where this can be bought? And what the stats are on it regarding fats?

  17. #17
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    Shelf Life of Spectrum?

    I found the Spectrum Organic Shortening in the health foods section of my reguar grocery store (Basha's) and was going to buy it to make some cookies over the holidays, but the expiration date was only about 6 weeks away, and I knew I would never use enough of it to justify the price (4 times Crisco) difference before it expired.

    For those of you who do use Spectrum, did my store just have old stuff? Or does it have a very short shelf life (as compared to Crisco)?

    BTW, I did not make the cookies, since I did not want to use the trans-fat Crisco, and couldn't justify the price of the Spectrum, decided karma was trying to tell me I didn't need them .

  18. #18
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    The only reason I buy shortening is to "thin" melted chocolate to drizzle, and for gingersnaps. I've tried these cookies subbing everything I could think of for the shortening, but nothing quite makes it. I still have a small can of the TFF Crisco with the green label in the refrigerator (it expired on January 25). I tried to find a "fresh" can a few months ago for holiday baking, but couldn't find it at any store in the area. So it has been discontinued... that figures

    I think that I also made a pie crust with the green-can Crisco and it turned out well.
    Vicci


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  19. #19
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    Trans Fat Free Crisco

    I tried the product a year or so ago and was very pleased with it in all my cooking and baking. At the time it only came in a more expensive smalll can and I wanted to purchase it in the larger can, and it wasn't available. I was pleased to read that they were going to replace their product with the new trans fat free variety. Hope the price isn't any higher. Ann

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