What is the difference between using margarine (not less than 80% vegetable fat) for butter in a recipe-taste and healthwise? What is the difference when using one or the other in substituting for shortening?
Great question! Butter, shortening, and margarine are all types of fats. It’s the type of fat they contain that you need to consider when choosing the one that’s best for your health and the one that’s best for whatever you are baking or cooking. Butter comes from an animal source, so therefore contains cholesterol and saturated fat. It is great for baking, as it adds nice flavor and great texture for cookies and pastries. Shortening is made from vegetable oil, and then is made solid by the process of hydrogenation. Because the oil used comes from plant sources, it does not contain cholesterol, but may contain some saturated fat. It also works well in pastries and cookies, but doesn’t add the nice flavor that butter adds. Margarines vary a lot in the types of oils used, so you need to look at the labels. Those that contain higher amounts of fats are best for baking, as those with less fat will contain more water and will cause tougher baked products. Flavor varies with margarines too, so you need to find one that you like.