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Substitute for shortening? & other cookie questions

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have some cookie recipes that call for shortening, but I have never been able to bring myself to buy the stuff. Is there anything I can use instead?

Also, if I reduce the amount of sugar in my cookie recipes, will that affect the texture? Does anyone do this? It seems like they all call for a cup and a half, and that is a ton of sugar!

Lastly, does anyone have any cookie recipes that are actually semi-healthy? I'd love to know what goes in them.

Thanks ladies!
post #2 of 19
Try using butter instead of shortening.
post #3 of 19
I usually just do all butter instead of shortening.

For some things I use part butter, part palm oil shortening (Spectrum makes one). It is organic and non hydrogenated. This mix makes a great pastry crust! (it is about 2/3 butter, 1/3 shortening I think)

Coconut oil is another option. I've used this for cookies as part of the fat - with butter.

Reducing sugar I am not as experienced with, but for something like chocolate chip or oatmeal I've found I can cut 1/4 without noticing any consequence for the recipe.

For healthy cookies, I like oatmeal cookies with nuts and dried fruit (dried cherries or cranberries are really yummy!). I add a little ground flax seed to the mix, too. I used to use a mashed banana for part of the fat, but now I'd rather have the fat I reduce the sugar a bit, too. I'm trying to learn to use alternative sweeteners (like honey or maple syrup) for baking, but am not experienced enough to advise on that yet! (would love to hear about that from others!)
post #4 of 19
For cookies, shortening can be replaced with lard, butter, coconut or palm oil. It is generally recommended that you chill the dough before you bake it (if you like chewy cookies), this helps keeps the cookies from over-spreading.

In most cookie recipes, the sugar can safely be reduced by about 1/3... this is in recipes from a fairly recent cookbook. From older cookbooks (1970s or prior), try reducing it by 1/4 (they used less sugar back then).
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. As for honey, I believe I read you can substitute 1/2 the amount of honey for the amount of sugar called for, but I have yet to try this. I also really like the advice about beefing up the oatmeal cookies. Too bad I'm breastfeeding, though. I ate some of my last batch of oatmeal cookies and felt engorgement all over again!

Cristeen - best wishes in your midwifery pursuit!
post #6 of 19
I experimented with something I read on line last CHristmas- substitute mashed white beans for 1/2 the fat in cookie recipes. I thought this was soo weird, but being on WIC I get more beans than a little, and thought I would try it out. I used 1/2 butter and 1/2 mashed white beans in place of shortening or butter called for. The cookies tasted great- not beany at all, but it did change the texture some- made them more cake like. My kids still gobbled them up, my family that tried them said they tasted good- however a few picky family members wouldn't even try them (they would have been the real test- should have kept my mouth shut till after they tried them) I changed the recipe in several other ways also- so it could have been my additional oatmeal baby food in place of hte flour, or other changes that helped with the texture change, but I think it was the beans. It wasn't a bad texture, just more cakelike.

I have always used less sugar in just about anything I bake than called for. I don't know how much less, just like if it calls for 1 cup, I don't fill the cup all the way- so maybe 3/4 cup for each cup called for. If it calls for packed brown sugar, I don't pack it.

Healthy cookies- I like oatmeal cookies- I make most of my cookies oatmeal. Molasses and ginger cookies have good things about them- molasses is high in iron etc. My most favorite cookie is a raisan filled cookie my mom makes- kind of time consuming, but freezes well- It is a roll out soft sweet dough (but slight sweet)- then you make a filling of raisans, pineapple, water and sugar- thicken it- you put 2 circles of dough- one on bottom, put a tablespoon of raisans on, then seal a circle of dough on top and bake. I would have to look for the recipe if you are interested in it.

Brenda
post #7 of 19
I usually use the organic shortening around the holidays for baking, but I, too, just cannot bring myself to buy the regular shortening.

I wanted to share an easy cookie recipe that I have had much success with. It doesn't require shortening, it uses oil instead. Maybe you've seen it... It's on the back of the Rice Dream half gallon carton.

Chip Cookies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup carob or choc chips
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Vanilla Rice Dream
1 Tablespoon baking powder

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
-Drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet (I use parchment paper instead).
-Bake for 10 - 20 minutes (depending on size) until edges begin to brown.

I love, love, love this recipe. It is so easy... no mixer, no creaming butter w/sugar, no egg, and very adaptable. I have tried many variations. And to make it even easier, I spread the batter into a 9x13 pan to make "brownies" out of them.

I have substituted organic sugar for the maple syrup and organic milk for the rice milk (this is my favorite). And, I usually omit the nuts.

It's my new favorite cookie/brownie recipe!
post #8 of 19
You can use butter or coconut oil in the place of shortening.
post #9 of 19
just a tip and a thought

I don't know if you are interested in pie baking, but be careful of substituting shortening for other things in this area. Cookies I know are more forgiving.

I come from a long line of master pie bakers, and of course everyone has their own opinions but, shortening makes the best crust. Lard and butter are the only other ones I've tried...they work, but not in the same way. I know the stuff is not nutritious at all, but if you want an awesome pie I would consider buying some to try.
post #10 of 19
I have some expeller pressed coconut oil, it has NO flavor at all and is supposed to be a good sub. for shortening. I just got it though and haven't had a chance to bake with it yet. I plan to try it soon!

Lard does make excellent pie crust, if you have no objections to using it. (At least I know how to make lard! I don't know how to make crisco...)
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by preggymeaggy View Post
just a tip and a thought

I don't know if you are interested in pie baking, but be careful of substituting shortening for other things in this area. Cookies I know are more forgiving.

I come from a long line of master pie bakers, and of course everyone has their own opinions but, shortening makes the best crust. Lard and butter are the only other ones I've tried...they work, but not in the same way. I know the stuff is not nutritious at all, but if you want an awesome pie I would consider buying some to try.
I was just wondering this exact thing. I love making pies and was wondering if there was a substitute. Ugh - which of the 2 evils is better?
post #12 of 19
I'd skip the Crisco. Not only is it not nutritious, it's plain bad for you. I guess you could buy the new "no trans-fat" version, but I don't trust it.

I use butter for my pie crust (and it's really good if I do say so myself ) but I've heard that lard is even better. I plan on using that as soon as I can find myself a good source of it. ("Leaf" fat, from the kidneys of the pig, is supposed to make the best pie crust lard)
post #13 of 19
I like butter and maybe a small amount of half of Spectrum Shortening (non hydrogenated) if you have issues with low quality butter or to cut the cost.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by leighann79 View Post
I'd skip the Crisco. Not only is it not nutritious, it's plain bad for you. I guess you could buy the new "no trans-fat" version, but I don't trust it.
Crisco's "No Trans Fat" shortening still contains hydrogenated oils. Read the ingredient list.

If you hate the idea of using butter or lard (which is what they used before Crisco was invented), try using coconut oil or palm oil. They're both solid at room temperature and give similar results. But I can't say that my pie crusts have suffered by the use of butter. I haven't used shortening in over 10 years, and I still get light and flaky crusts. I'd be more inclined to point the finger at the recipe than the ingredients. A recipe that relies on a specific ingredient to the detriment of the recipe does not meet my standards of versatility.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cristeen View Post
Crisco's "No Trans Fat" shortening still contains hydrogenated oils. Read the ingredient list.
Yeah, that's why I don't trust it. I know some people have different priorities than I do though.
post #16 of 19
Earth Balance shortening!

http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html#p6

We love this stuff around here.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by allnaturalmom View Post
I usually use the organic shortening around the holidays for baking, but I, too, just cannot bring myself to buy the regular shortening.

I wanted to share an easy cookie recipe that I have had much success with. It doesn't require shortening, it uses oil instead. Maybe you've seen it... It's on the back of the Rice Dream half gallon carton.

Chip Cookies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup carob or choc chips
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Vanilla Rice Dream
1 Tablespoon baking powder

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
-Drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet (I use parchment paper instead).
-Bake for 10 - 20 minutes (depending on size) until edges begin to brown.

I love, love, love this recipe. It is so easy... no mixer, no creaming butter w/sugar, no egg, and very adaptable. I have tried many variations. And to make it even easier, I spread the batter into a 9x13 pan to make "brownies" out of them.

I have substituted organic sugar for the maple syrup and organic milk for the rice milk (this is my favorite). And, I usually omit the nuts.

It's my new favorite cookie/brownie recipe!
Thank you so much for this! My DH's birthday is tomorrow and I always make cookies but we've gotten so much more health conscience so I was coming here to try to find a healthier cookie recipe and I came across this Thanks so much!
post #18 of 19
FYI on palm oil as a substitute.

http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/int/palmoil
post #19 of 19
I've never tried this, but on the back of my flaxseed meal package it says you can use it to replace shortening, butter or oil in baking recipes. It says to use 1.5 cups flaxseed meal for every 1/2 cup of butter, shortening etc.
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