Oil as fat may be too thin for baking


May 18, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

Q: When I'm baking, there are so many choices to be had in the fat category, even in the wrapped sticks of butter or margarine alone. What's the difference? Can I use a vegetable oil spread instead of butter in my baking?

A: There are many variables -- the quantity of cream used, the quality of that cream, how much filler has been added and how much salt is used for preservative.

Generally, the most reliable baking product is either unsalted butter or basic margarine. These two products have the highest content of fat and are not filled with gums or fillers that might affect the baking result in some way. While there are many reduced-fat options on the market now, because of added liquid, they won't produce satisfactory baking results as easily.

If you replace butter in a recipe with a vegetable oil spread, you will not get the same result, because the basic fat component will be oil and not cream.

Q: My granddaughter cannot have sugar. Do you have a recipe for cookies that does not contain sugar or honey, but uses artificial sweetener?

A: The following recipe offers some alternatives for sugar-free cookies.

Almond sugar cookies

5 tablespoons margarine

4 packets saccharin or 8 packets aspartame (Equal) or 4 packets acesulfame-K

1 tablespoon egg white

1/4 teaspoon almond, vanilla, or lemon extract

1 cup unbleached flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of cream of tartar

32 almond slices

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-size bowl, combine margarine and sweetener, beating until light and fluffy. Mix in egg white and almond extract. Gradually stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar; mix well. Form into 1/2 -inch balls. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Dip a flat-bottomed glass into flour and press down on each ball to flatten cookie. Top each cookie with an almond slice.

Send questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Using a touch-tone phone, punch in 6180 after the greeting.

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