Monday, April 19, 2010

Experimenting with Earth's Balance--Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have always baked with margarine and not really thought too much about it--the trans fats just struck me as a necessary evil that went along with pareve baking.
Recently, Earth's Balance was suggested to me as a healthier alternative to use in my pareve baking. Earth's Balance is a line of products made of palm fruit oil--an oil which is high in fat, but considered to be quite healthy and is also OU and pareve.
When I opened my shortening sticks, I was struck by the waxy appearance of shortening. Texture-wise, it doesn't soften to the same extent as other margarine even when you beat it with sugar. It was only after the addition of eggs and vanilla, that the color and consistency began to resemble what I am used to seeing in my mixing bowl.
In terms of the finished product? The cookies smell the same as they bake, but don't get quite as brown. In a effort to get them a little bit browner, I may have baked them a minute or two too long resulting in a more brittle as opposed to crisp cookie--though I was pleased not to end up with any burnt cookies in spite of the extra baking time (even those on the edge of the baking sheet)!
All in all, the cookies taste good, though they do have a slightly different flavor from my regular ones. I will definitely continue to use Earth Balance in baking to see how it does with pie crusts and cake and other cookies as well and will report back on my experiments!

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