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Sep 15, 2006 08:42 PM

Substitute for Cocoa Butter in a recipe

I'm making a recipe for Peanut Butter Shortbread with Peanut Butter Ice Cream that appeared in a recent Bon Appetit. The one item I can't find anywhere is Cocoa Butter so I'm wondering what I might substitute. Possibly a chocolate hazelnut butter (Nutella like stuff from Whole Foods).

Has anyone made this recipe or have any ideas? I don't have it on hand and I'm not even sure right now if the cocoa butter is cooked/melted but I think not. It's part of a "crunch" that goes with the dessert.

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  1. Kin Arthur's catalog has it. Good quality white chocolate is made with cocoa butter, inferior brands have little to none. You might experiment a bit with it. Read the lables to be sure what you are getting has cocoa butter in it.

    1. Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from the chocolate making process, and is mostly what constitutes white chocolate. It's sold as a solid (in a bar or chips). In a pinch I would substitute regular butter, one with a high fat content, or shortening, which will not taste as good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kishari

        I've been thinking about this more... What about ghee?

      2. Looking at the recipe, I'd say either use butter or use white chocolate (quality brands are mostly cocoa butter with dry milk powder and sugar as filler) and use a slightly darker chocolate than milk if you don't want it too sweet. But then again, I'm sure you've noticed that cacao nibs pretty much taste like dirt, so a tiny bit of extra sugar from white chocolate won't likely ruin it. Basically you're just gluing the cookie crumbs together and want something that will be solid at refrigerator/cool room temperature. Or, I noticed you're on the NW board, have you tried the Home Cake store up on 95th & Roosevelt?

        3 Replies
        1. re: babette feasts

          Hmmm... I've got some white chocolate at home, bought for something I never made. I'll have to see what the content is.

          I was worried that the cocao nibs was just me. Thanks for echoing my reaction when I tasted them.

          I haven't tried Home Cake but maybe on my next go round. Schlepping across I-5 from Queen Anne on a weekend always taxes me, though I'm hoping to get to the U-District Farmers Market tomorrow.

          1. re: SandraV

            Great idea. Use white chocolate and cut down on the sugar in the rest of the recipe.

            1. re: SandraV

              Well, shoot, if I'd known you were my neighbor, I would've stolen you some cocoa butter from work!

              Good luck, and let us know how it turns out. I know the dry milk and corn syrup in the ice cream have their purpose, but I just look at that recipe and think it's weird. Why not just use less milk and some cream instead of dry milk and butter? I don't know if they have a pacojet at Veil and have adjusted the recipe for that machine, or if that's just the way Shannon makes his ice cream - oh maybe because of not having eggs? Do report on your experience!

          2. This was one of my more frustrating recipe attempts. It's definitely not someone easily flustered.

            First off: the shortbread cookies. This is a soft, sticky dough and even with parchment paper, it's difficult to roll and cut. After my first attempt, I molded the remainder into a log, wrapped it in wax paper, refrigerated overnight and sliced and baked the next day. It was much easier that way. And, the cookies by themselves are a big hit. I brought the remainder (It must make almost 3 dozen, way more than the recipe calls for) to work today.

            Next, the ice cream: I have to say, I'm not sure what the purpose of the dry milk is. I made the mistake of getting low-fat dry milk rather than the nonfat called for but even at that, it didn't really thicken up in the ice cream maker (I have a Krups with freezer bowl). I must have run the thing for 50 minutes total which is very unusual (and my bowl lives in the freezer so it's good and frozen) and when I stopped it, it still poured out of the machine, rather than being scoopable. The base was chilled overnight (well, 2 overnights) and the peanut butter separates at that point, so it needs to be whisked back in before churning. After about 5 hours (when we initially ate it), it was still very soft, barely holding scoop form. After 24 hours in the freezer, it did freeze pretty solid. The taste is basically what I remember from the restaurant and it's more grainy than creamy, like ice creams without eggs sometimes are.

            The crunch that caused me so much trouble: I went with the white chocolate and given that there is no extra sugar in this recipe (hence no way to cut it back), and the cookies I used were filled (I only saw filled at the store), it's pretty sweet. I actually made a half batch and chilled in a square cake pan. It's pretty oozy at first so I shored it up with the foil to get the called for thickness and turned out pretty much as advertised. Very firm (I broke my biscuit cutter on it) The fact that it's super sweet doesn't deter my husband and I saved the cutting scraps for him to eat later.

            The sauce: No issues here. Pretty straightforward.

            Quite honestly, this dessert is just too much for me. I'm glad I didn't end up serving it for guests because I know they'd feel guilty about not being able to eat a whole serving after a full meal. If I had to server it for company, I'd probably keep the sauce and the ice cream and make lean a cookie against the side, since they're quite hard/crisp and take some effort to cut into with a spoon. Maybe the crunch in crumbled form might be nice over the top.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SandraV

              Thanks for the report.
              The cookie recipe does say chill until firm enough to roll out, but then again I don't think of shortbread as having eggs in it - usually just flour, sugar, butter - again, weird to my sensibilities.

              The dry milk is supposed to make a creamier ice cream by taking up some of the water from the milk. Was it grainy when you had it at the restaurant? (The bite I stole from my date seemed a bit icy when I was there.)

              Seems like you could simplify each of the elements - a more traditional shortbread, maybe use rice krispies instead of the cookie crumbs, adapt an ice cream recipe that you're familiar with. BTW, there is a professional product called feuillatine or crousticrepe that I would guess they are using for the pirouette cookie crumbs - one of those things that just isn't available retail.

              I think this recipe shows the problem with trying to translate restaurant recipes for home use - if you can't get the same ingredients and don't have the same equipment, it's pretty hard to recreate!