Hmmm….Chocolate chip cookie question...
I just made chocolate chip cookies, basic recipe, two changes…
I had to sub half the butter for vegetable shortning (because I didn't have enough butter, and I wasn't about to run to the store, because in case you haven't heard, L.A. is experiencing it's worst storm in years…I think it rained for a whole hour tonight). Luckily I had some Crisco I keep on hand for seasoning my cast iron skillet…
The other change was that I added molassas. About a tablespoon.
The cookies were really puffy right out of the oven, then deflated really nicely. They have some cracks which actually make them look quite nice. They are soft and incredibly chewy….But they don't taste like much. Kind of blah and sweet. Chocolate chip blah cookies. Not bad, per se…just not like the Tollhouse refridgerated break-away ready made dough I bought last week. Those were pretty perfect. Is it the lack of butter? Maybe it needs that depth and richness? Tell me, expert cookie people!
veg shortening adds nice chew like you said but no flavour. It works great in a cookie like a ginger snap where there is a lot of spice to jazz up the flavour so you don't feel like your missing something.
ps I'm up by seattle on west coast and we have having a big wind storm too!
That's the problem w/ using shortening, I find. Extra salt would help, as would more vanilla and letting it sit in the refrigerator. Using more molasses would be the equivalent of using all brown sugar, instead of white/brown mix so I think it probably tastes better than if you hadn't added that. OTOH, if you like the premade cookie dough better, it might not be the butter difference because I don't think they have any butter.
Shortening (and also coconut oil) make very chewy cookies and moist baked goods in general because they're 100% fat, whereas butter is only about 85% fat. That's also why baked goods made with butter go stale more quickly than those made with 100% fats. That said, butter has a depth of flavor that can't be duplicated, or at least, not that I've been able to figure out.