Ideas For Shortening Substitute
If you would like to start eliminating fats from your diet then using a shortening substitute may be the answer. Shortening by definition is a simple solid fat that is made from vegetable oil. It has no taste and its purpose is to add moisture and texture you a food. It can also be used for prepping a pot or pan before cooking or to fry a food in. It is also commonly used in baking. But adding shortening to a recipe increases its fat and calorie count.
Luckily, there are many alternatives for shortening. Some are healthier then others but you may need to sacrifice a bit of taste for health. Some can even enhance a dish and make it taste better. This all depends on what dish you are cooking and what the shortening substitute is being used for.
Many recipes that are baked call for shortening as one of the ingredients. Sweet cakes and cookies are just a few of these foods. You can cut out extra calories and fat by substituting applesauce for shortening. Just make sure that the recipe is sweet or it will not taste right. Applesauce also has a tendency to make a baked dish a bit denser, but it should not matter with either cookies or cakes. This way your family can indulge in these sweet treats without worrying about extra unhealthy fats.
If you would like to bake an item and you need to coat the bottom of the pan with shortening, instead of doing that you can use a sheet of parchment paper. This obviously adds no extra calories and the food item will not stick to the sides, for easy removal. Another non stick option is using a non stick cooking spray. You just apply a thin coat of the spray to the bottom of the pan and the baked good can also be easily removed from the pan. Be aware that some of the top cooking sprays contain chemicals that can be way more harmful then the shortening. So check the labels for the healthiest versions.
You can always use butter or margarine for a shortening substitute. They are slightly healthier but you must also consider the taste. Both butter and margarine have distinctive flavors that can either enhance a dish or ruin it. When using butter or margarine, make sure that the flavors are compatible before using them as a shortening substitute. There are also butters and margarines that are made with fifty percent less fat and calories then the regular brands. You can use these too but make sure that they can be used to cook with. Some of these do not melt well or burn when they are introduced to heat.
Another great way to get healthier baked goods is to substitute shortening with powdered flax seed. You cannot use the flax seed straight. It has to be mixed with fifty percent butter or margarine before you can add it to a recipe. This is an excellent way to make cookies that are healthy and delicious. The cookies may turn out denser then usual and may not taste as sweet. But the flavors are all still there and for a healthy version of a cookie, they are very good.
Using olive oil helps when you are trying to eliminate shortening. Instead of frying eggs or making a grilled cheese sandwich using shortening, you can use olive oil. It has a light flavor that goes with many foods and more importantly it is a healthier type of oil. Remember that olive oil burns easily when introduced to heat so you may want to lower the heat source to avoid burning a dish.