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Cookies without butter?

So I made and sent off to a friend 2 different batches of cookies, only to find out that she's lactose intolerant. One recipe had cream cheese and butter, the other one had oil. She could eat the second one easily but would have to take a pill ahead of time for the first one.

I've got 2 questions:

(1) Can I substitute margarine for butter in my cookie recipies? I'm sure the taste will be different, but what about the texture? Is it a dumb idea and not worth the effort?

(2) Does anyone have any tried and true cookie recipes that don't use dairy? Or know of any specific website where I can find some? I tried searching on Epicurious for "cookies without butter" and got recipes with ....butter.

I'd love to send her something she can actually eat without having to take a pill beforehand. Many thanks!

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  1. I ran across a dairy free recipe for Spicy Molasses Cookies over at Pioneer Woman. Here's the link:

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/

    Edit to add: The Oatmeal Crispies are dairy free too

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mattkn

      I make these same molasses cookies (except I up the molasses to 1/2c and the flour to 2 1/2c) several times a year. They are a family favorite and don't contain any butter - but you'd never know. They are chewy and delicious. For the holidays, I sometimes roll them in powdered sugar, so that their surface remains white, while the cracks come out deep brown - like chocolate cringles.

    2. Try meringue cookies. You can add nuts and or chocolate to them. They are really good and not real hard to make.

        1. Are you sure your friend's problem is with butter? Lactose is a naturally-occuring sugar in milk and most milk products; butter is almost pure fat with only trace amounts of lactose.

          The recipe you mention that she wasn't able to eat contained cream cheese, which is more likely to be a problem for someone who is lactose intolerant.

          1. The New York Times had an article about butter in cookies and what it does for them.
            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/din...
            I've never tried to substitute margarine for butter, but after reading this article I'm not going to even consider it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chocolateman

              you can sub margarine, but the cookies spread more. crisco website says to chill dough before baking to minimize spreading. also, crisco has a butter flavor shortening (with recipes) that my niece uses in a cookie. my mom loves those cookies. (i haven't tried them.). google "crisco butter flavor" cookie recipe".