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In the ever-present attempt to be healthier, I've started using peanut butter in place of crisco to keep the sugars together for my cookie dough snack (sans egg.)

How would the same substitute hold up if I made a normal batch for baking? I'm particularly curious about the melting point and the final consistency.

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sometimes i'll replace 1/2 the butter in my cookies with peanutbutter and will cut the sugar a little. they still turn out pretty well. replacing all the butter would be bad, but some of it won't make much of a difference.

  • Does the sugar cream up nicely in peanut butter? If so, I'd give going all the way a shot. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 5 '16 at 21:25
  • @WayfaringStranger - yes, sugar creams up just fine in PB - as I know from toying with "how to get peanut butter cup flavored substance without buying peanutbutter cups" - PB, sugar and chocolate chips can get quite close (confectioners sugar gives better texture in that application.) – Ecnerwal Apr 6 '16 at 2:03
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Shortening and regular butter don't work the exact same in a recipe. Sometimes it has to do with cookies spreading, humidity, etc. I've though used peanut butter for regular butter/margarine in recipes and haven't had any issue. I prefer the added flavor it gives. Do a small batch test run. Good things have often been discovered via experimentation.

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The simple answer is no, it wouldn't work.

Vegetable shortening is 100% fat. Peanut butter contains significant amounts of protein and starch, and carries a profound peanut flavor. These are going to drastically change any recipe it is used in lieu of shortening.

If you desire lower fat recipes, I suggest you look specifically for recipes designed with that aspect in mind.

See also:

Melting Point

Melting point is typically only significant in baking in two circumstances:

  • Use of the creaming method where sugar is cut into fat incorporating air as part of the leavening process
  • Making of laminated doughs such as puff pastry, croissants, or strudels

Peanut butter is a complex food, but the oil phase is either already liquid (in room temperature so-called "natural" peanut butters, or only contains a small amount of saturated fats in typical commercial peanut butters, and so has a lower melting point that pure hydrogenated vegetable shortening.)

Neither of these typically apply to cookies.

Consistency

Consistency is harder to predict. It depends on what is being cooked, but peanut butter has less fat than shortening (since shortening is pure fat, and peanut butter has a high percentage of peanut solids, starches and proteins for the most part).

The interaction of these various components in the chemistry of the actual product will determine the consistency.


  • 6
    I reject the flat statement that it won't work (without any mention that you've conducted an actual experiment); it won't be exactly the same (it may well be very different) but I rather strongly suspect that it will, indeed, work, possibly quite well, given that one expects "a profound peanut flavor" when using peanut butter. – Ecnerwal Apr 6 '16 at 2:11

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