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Dec 1, 2006 04:04 PM

Shortening vs Butter

I am trying to substitute butter flavored Crisco in some cookie recipes for someone with a lactace intolerance. (I know. But something imperfect is preferable to abstaining) Anyone have hints on making the substitution from butter/margarine to straight shortening? I wondered about the crispness issue. Is one type of cookie more forgiving of such a substitution? I am already trying biscotti and meringues which just avoid the issue entirely by default.

The Crisco site says to add a slight amount of water to compensate for Crisco's different texture.


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  1. As you mention, adding a bit of water is correct. If you want to be exact, I believe butter is around 18% water, 82% fat, so when you sub crsico (which, I think is 100% fat) take that into consideration.

    I don't make enough cookies to help on the other fronts, unfortunately!

    1 Reply
    1. re: adamclyde

      To substitute shortening for butter, use the same amount if it's measured by volume, 20% less if it's measured by weight. Personally I'd use natural coconut oil rather than Crisco.

      People with lactose intolerance should have no problem with clarified butter aka ghee. But there are other dairy allergies.

    2. I'm wondering if goat butter would work. Many lactose-intolerant folks can tolerate it.

      1. I cook for a dairy allergic person and IMO the "butter" flavor is horrendous. Please taste it first. I just use plain Crisco and/or margerine when baking.

        Admittedly, most of the time I am making pie crust not cookies.

        1. I am lactose intolerant, neither butter nor margarine affects me, though a tablespoon of cream in a coffee drink recently did. Some margarines claim to be lactose (whey) free.

          I am usually ok with dairy if I take a lactaid just after eating.

          I used to make cookies using the prune stuff. I used to buy a jar (~12 oz) of pureed prunes, made especially as a fat substitute in baking, costs ~$3. My objective was reducing the fat in cookies. I was making toll house cookies.

          1. I would suggest you use margarine as a substitute for butter, rather than Crisco. It's not difficult to find dairy-free margarines (usually labelled "pareve"). The texture would be closer to butter in the final result.

            I have had to bake and cook non-dairy quite often over the years and although I won't say it's just as good, the results are usually decent enough.