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Can I substitute butter for shortening?

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Hi folks!

I want to make a batch of Mirro Josies cookies, that my mom made a lot when I was young.

The recipe calls for 3/4 cup shortening (half butter, half solid vegetable shortening). Could I use all butter, instead of the shortening???? The recipe says to cream the shortening and gradually add the sugar and cream the mixture.

It also calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Can I use self-rising flour and no baking powder?

I honestly didn't know that anyone used shortening anymore. And, I think this recipe was probably before self rising flour. Since I rarely feel like baking, I don't have shortening or baking powder (well, dad has baking powder, but it's dated 1998!!!) And I only have about 1/4 cup of all purpose flour. Dad has self rising. Being homebound, it is very hard to find anyone to "run" to the store for me.

Anyway, thanks a lot!
The village idiot in Tennessee

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  1. You can sub butter for shortening but the texture will be different, slightly more tender, they will spread out a bit more as they bake, and they won't be as firm at room temperature as all shortening cookies. I *think* you should be ok with only self rising flour but check the date on that as well 'cause if it's as old as the baking powder you won't get much rise. Either way the cookies will likely be fine, but don't expect *exact* results. But do post back and let us know what you did!

    1. 1) yes, you can sub butter for shortening. I do in most recipes. People do still use shortening for pie crusts -- some prefer it -- and other things. Its main advantage is that it's far cheaper than butter and easier to work with since it's already at room temperature. There are hydrogenated-oil-free natural shortenings on the market now.

      2) Check the ingredients on the self-rising flour. It may contain baking soda and baking powder, or it may also include salt. If it's just flour and baking powder, you're probably safe to use it. (Also, as a sidenote: I doubt the recipe was from pre-self-rising flour days, unless it's a hundred years old! 1-2-3-4 cakes have been around for 60+ years and they rely on self-rising flour.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: LauraGrace

        >>There are hydrogenated-oil-free natural shortenings on the market now.<<

        Wonderful! Do you have any name brands so I'll know what to look for?

        1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

          Spectrum is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. Whole foods and Trader Joe's might have in-house brands, too. I know there are a few brands available at WF, and the natural foods section of Kroger.

      2. You can substitute self rising flour for flour and baking powder but also cut back on the salt. I don't think there will be a problem using all butter, but you might get flatter crisper cookies.