After feeling oh so guilty about letting you all know I use margarine half and half with butter in some cookie recipes because I think it improves the cookie texture, I decided I'd better do a little experiment to see 'for sure' if there was really a different between basic cookies baked with...
A. All Butter
B. Half Butter and Half Margarine (my accidental 'discovery' (ha) that I thought had the best texture but never really tested until now)C. All Margarine
Now usually, I would never use all margarine, but I wanted to just try it out and see what happened. I used the same basic chocolate chip cookie recipe from Good Housekeeping Baking, which is a great book that reminds me of Dorie's Baking From My Home To Yours in a lot of ways. This book has a lot of international recipes (my favorites!) and also 'downhome' favorites and classics, like the chocolate chip cookies. Now are these the best chocolate chip cookies ever? Nah, but they are great, and what one would expect a chocolate chip cookie to be.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 butter OR margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 375 (I did 350, I almost always do with cookies, just to be safe, I'd rather have them too soft than hard and crunchy) On a sheet of waxed paper, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. (I just whisked the ingredients up in plate bowls)
2. In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed , beat butter and brown and granulated sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Reduce speed to low, beat in flour mixture until blended. With spoon, stir in chocolate pieces.
3. Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are golden. With wide spatula transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
4. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
After mixing all of the doughs I scooped them out onto my exopat. The top horizontal row were the cookies with all margarine, the middle row were the cookies with half butter and half margarine, and the all butter cookies were on the bottom row.
I was really surprised when they were done baking, you couldn't really tell which cookies were which. Taste testers in my household (dh and I) couldn't even tell the difference. Wow. I guess that the claim on Blue Bonnet margarine "bakes like butter for less than half the price and without the cholesterol" is true. All of the cookies had a nice texture, nice 'puff,' slightly crispy bottom, soft chewy middle, just perfect. I have never tried this with any other brand of margarine so I'm not sure how the others would work. The funny thing about this is that before my first time using margarine half and half with the butter (because I ran out of butter and for some unknown reason I had Blue Bonnet margarine in the fridge) I would have never even dreamed of subbing margarine for butter and really looked down on margarine. I think the reason I had some in the first place is because dh accidentally picked it up when I sent him on a grocery run. I probably scolded him, saying something like, "uck, who uses stick margarine, it's disgusting and will ruin any baked good" hehehe, guess I was wrong, just this once though :)