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.
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.
P.S. I was confused by this statement in your original post: "substituted the shortening for butter". Do you mean you used all butter in my recipe and no shortening? Or all shortening and no butter?
Also, @Liesbet recently wrote a great Toolbox Talk article here on Cookie Connection, all about shortening around the world, and its function. You may find more answers in it: http://cookieconnection.juliau...ox-talk-shortening-1
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!!!
Thank you for the answers it was much appreciated.
Hi Maxine, you can get Crisco and Solite vegetable shortening from cake decorating shops around Sydney if you wanted to try it �� Haven't found it in any supermarkets as yet..