SUBSTITUTES for baking
General notes: Reducing fat will give baked goods a denser texture; to correct for this, try increasing the sugar in the recipe and/or beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter. Also try using a softer flour, like pastry or cake flour.
SUBSTITUTES for sauteeing or frying
NOTES ABOUT BUTTER
This is a delicious solid fat churned from milk. It's used in baking, frying, and as a spread on toast and muffins. Recipes that call for butter in most better cookbooks are referring to unsalted butter = sweet cream butter = sweet butter. Salted butter doesn't spoil as readily (the salt serves as a preservative)...
1 pound = 2 cups = 4 sticks. 1 stick = 8 tablespoons.
1 stick salted butter = 1 stick unsalted butter + 3/8 teaspoon salt. (The salt content of salted butter can vary between brands.)
Margarine. This has an inferior flavor, makes bread crusts tougher and cookies softer, and may make cookies more difficult to shape. Avoid using it in flaky pastries. (Also has some health risks. --Liz)
Shortening. This has an inferior flavor, and compared to butter it makes cookies crunchier and breads crusts softer.
Lard. This has an inferior flavor, but it makes flakier pastries than butter. Some cooks mix lard with butter to strike a balance between flavor and flakiness. Substitute four parts lard for every five parts butter called for in recipe.
Other health notes:
Nutritionists recommend that we cut down on saturated fats and cholesterol. Fats ranked in order of saturated fat content: coconut oil, butter, palm oil, animal fat, cottonseed oil, vegetable shortening, margarine, soybean oil, olive oil, peanut oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil. Fats with cholesterol: butter, animal fat.