Function of Shortening in Dough

In Australia, we don't have Crisco; the only thing that I believe comes close is Copha, which I've only used to make chocolate crackles. My question is what does the shortening do that butter can't? I have made a batch of Julia's sugar cookie recipe but substituted the shortening for butter, and found the cookie spread was very minimal and tasted lovely; still practicing the decorating though. Hope you can help with this question.

Original Post

Shortening has a higher melting point than butter and, so, cookies with it (keeping all other ingredients proportionally the same) will spread less and hold their shape better. The dough also bakes a bit crunchier with shortening for some of the butter. The other notable difference is that the dough will never get rock-solid after refrigeration, like a dough that uses all butter for the fat will do. As such, I find it easier to handle more quickly after chilling - and that the dough texture changes very little as the dough warms. Hope that helps.

Thanks Julia I used all butter with no shortening, thank you for your explanation especially being that your here, I know you would be preparing for your classes. I was so disappointed I missed a spot, maybe next time you come Sydney I'll get there. Thank you so much I will try a batch using your recipe using copha for the shortening portion.

I read somewhere, can't remember where, that someone used half butter and half shortening in their recipe. I've not tried it with shortening. I use all butter because I like the flavor plus the reasons Julia posted above. Either way I'm sure they're all good!!!

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