I have learned that I am an idiot when it comes to shortening. I just learned the other day that not all shortening is lard; thinking that it was lard was the main reason why I refused to use it. I also think the only cookies I make well are oatmeal and ricotta cookies. I made some oatmeal butterscotch craisin, oatmeal ginger, oatmeal macadamia nut, lemon ricotta, raspberry ricotta, and almond ricotta cookies that were loved. (I don't eat any of my cookies.) I also made some chocolate chipotle that people loved. I tried making peanut butter twice to no avail, as well tried to make cherry, and sugar cookies. Womp-Womp.
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson
you can use butter or just peanut butter--yes it is a fat, but it's about the ratio of fat to other ingredients that determines the texture of the cookie. cookies with shortening generally have more of a chewy consistency and don't spread as much. butter makes cookies spread and be more crisp and brown. too much flour/not enough "wet" ingredients will make cookies dry
if your cookies are dry and crumbly you either don't have enough fat in them or are overbaking. i generally prefer using butter over shortening, but this is my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe from my blog:
baking is all about chemistry...the types of ingredients used and methods by which they are combined is what leads to different results. for example, in cookies you are almost always cream the butter with sugar and eggs and use an electric mixer. brownies will generally have melted butter and don't require a mixer, etc...
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