This post was so helpful to me in another thread about hermits - that I'm re-posting it here:
" re: opinionatedchef bushwickgirl Jan 13, 2011
Well, margarine is in the recipe for moisture and flavor. I can say that if KAF(King Arthur Flour) posts a recipe that calls for margarine, then you could use it in good faith, but I prefer butter. I have a feeling that this KAF recipe may be a decades old version, when margarine was used with wild abandon, perhaps during WWII or later 50's and 60's. To answer your margarine for shortening question, if I understood you correctly, you want to use butter and margarine? No, don't use butter and margarine. Get some non-hydroginated vegetable shortening and use butter.
Shortening adds crispness and prevents dough spread in bar type cookies, although it doesn't have much flavor. Margarine has a high water content and will cause the most dough spread, over butter and shortening, so it's somewhat counterintuitive to use it in a bar cookie recipe. When a cookie dough recipe call for both butter/margarine and shortening, the butter adds flavor and only medium spread, and the shortening helps the dough retain it's shape (as in a bar.) Since I don't think margarine tastes very good, I use butter. For me, butter and shortening are the best of both worlds.
I would try the white whole wheat flour as well for baking, I personally can't afford to buy from KAF right now, but it's good to know Trader Joes carries it, as I have one nearby."
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By bushwickgirl on Jan 13, 2011 04:45AM
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