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Nov 29, 2007 07:45 AM

Need opinions-shortening vs butter in cookies

I read a small clip in the paper about baking cookies. It stated that to get soft chewy cookies, you should use shortening. Butter yields crisper cookies. I have a great sugar cookie recipe that is very tasty, buttery and crisp, but I do want it softer. I do use butter in it, but what if I substituted the butter flavor crisco? Would that be better, or just find a new recipe, or use shortening?

Here is the page this "Fridge Clip" is on, down the page on the left.

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  1. I'm hesitant to suggest that anyone use something that is (1) "butter-flavored" and (2) Crisco. I believe that increasing the flour slightly will also make your cookies softer -- at least, that's what one of my chocolate chip cookie recipes says.

    1. I think shortening gives it a little flakier taste but I love the flavor of butter in cookies. I'd go with a mix of shortening and butter, rather than butter flavored Crisco. Plus, you can get transfat free shortening these days. The flakiest/softest cookies I've ever made are with lard but very rarely do that. I agree w/ Ruth about using more flour--it's the fat that makes the cookie crisper. Or, pull the cookies from the oven 30 seconds or so before you normally would.

      6 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        What about cream of tartar? I have seen that listed in several recipes for "soft" sugar cookies. Later on I will post my recipe, and hopefully you can help me modify it. I do use a cookie press, and maybe that is the problem. I used to roll and use cookie cutters and they were fine, but I inherited the cookie press with all the cute shapes, and now they just seem too crispy. Delicious although!

        1. re: danhole

          I have misplaced my recipe! WAH! I have used it for years and now it's gone into the black hole called my kitchen! It was a pretty simple recipe, too. Oh drat!

          1. re: danhole

            I'm happy to share mine, though they're more of the delicate and crisp variety than the soft and chewy variety...let me know if you'd like it.

            1. re: sarahvagaca

              That would be very nice of you to share! Thanks!

              1. re: danhole

                No problem! It's my Grandma Mabel's recipe, so of course it's the best. :)

                1/2 c shortening
                1/2 c butter
                1 c white sugar
                1 egg
                2 c flour
                1/2 t baking soda
                1/2 t cream of tartar
                dash salt
                1 t vanilla

                Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

                Enjoy whatever recipe you end up using!

            2. re: danhole

              This may not be your recipe but it was my grandmother's and it does contain cream of tarter. Generations of our family have grown up on these wonderful sugar cookies :)

        2. I'd skip the shortening and use the butter plus cornstarch = chewy plus butter flavour and quality.

          1. I generally find that if I use half butter and half shortening, I get the texture I'm looking for in a cookie. All butter usually creates a too thin and too crisp cookie for me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lamster

              Yes, half butter and half shortening is what seems to work best for me with cookies. I've tried all butter and the cookies do tend to spread too much and get hard/crisp once they're cooled. Personally, I wouldn't use the butter-flavored variety as my guess is that it would add an artificial taste that might overpower the subtle taste of a sugar cookie.

            2. Bottom line in my book ... shortening is nasty transfat that tastes terrible. There is no reason to use it. Endless cookie effects can be achieved using ingredients that aren't on every Top 10 List of Things That Will Kill You Quick.

              5 Replies
              1. re: foiegras

                I haven't used shortening in years, but they do have a new 0 trans fat version of crisco, which is the only reason I even thought about it.

                1. re: danhole

                  I happen to agree with foiegras regarding shortening. I find the idea of 0 trans fat shortening or margarine questionable, but this is not the forum to go into that.
                  Besides I just prefer anything with butter.

                  1. re: danhole

                    Good gosh, I wonder how they made that ... I suppose the same way transfat free margarines are made (whatever that is)? Thanks for letting me know ... I guess I'll continue to let Mother Nature contribute the fat for my cookies ;)

                    1. re: foiegras

                      Well, the number is rounded, so 0g really means <.5g per "serving," and a serving is 1T. It could end up being a noticeable amount of trans fat, depending on how much you're using (in baking, probably a lot more than 1T).

                      1. re: jlafler

                        Sure, you use more than that for an entire BATCH of cookies. But there are 16 tablespoon in a cup and most cookie recipes that would use a cup of Crisco would yield more than 16 cookies.
                        So you're not getting very much in EACH cookie you eat. If you get 4 dozen, you get less than a teaspoonful of shortening per cookie.
                        Don't eat a lot of cookies.