Fat is where the flavor comes from. Simple as that. But in addition to flavor, fat also affects the spread, aeration, and leavening, so the fat and the amount you use will ultimately set the tone for the cookie you'll end up making. Don't worry – it's not as scary as it sounds!
Most chocolate chip cookie recipes you're probably familiar with will call for butter, but we thought it would interesting to try out some other fat sources. Remember: we used the classic Nestlé Toll House cookie formula as our base recipe.
A Note From Our Writer:
Sure, softened butter is the go-to fat source for making cookies — but I wanted to test out some untraditional fats to see if there was another option! To be honest, they all worked pretty well (with the exception of the tahini), but some were better than others! The surprise winner? Vegetable oil. It made chewy, picture-perfect cookies. Who knew?!
What We Learned: Fat not only gives cookies favor, but significantly impacts their spread and texture — so choose wisely. Many fat sources also contain water (like butter), so you can't just swap one for the other without making some tweaks to the recipe.
The Biggest Takeaways: When it comes to picking out which fat you should use to make your chocolate chip cookies, keep these things in mind:
1. Fat is flavor: Fat carries flavor and coats your tongue, so you should treat it like a flavoring agent in your cookies.
2. Butter is both fat and moisture:Butter is about 15% water, and that moisture plays a big role in a cookie's composition — so you can't just swap it out for a fat source with 0% water and think it'll work just the same. (It won't.)
3. People who say you can swap butter with tahini are... mistaken: Sorry, this just didn't work! (But maybe it's just our fault! Who knows!)
4. Vegetable oil can actually be used to make excellent cookies: As weird as it may sound, the cookies made with 100% vegetable oil were some of our favorites.
5. Using a combination of fats instead of just one may give you more control: While the vegetable oil cookies looked beautiful, they could have benefited from some additional flavor from butter. This way, you can get the best of both worlds: the ideal texture with the best flavor.