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Butter for margarine- help!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

In this old thread started in 2007 http://www.cheftalk.com/t/32885/can-i-substitute-real-butter the question was asked by me and another member how to substitute butter for margarine in recipes. I asked specifically how I could change my rugelach dough recipe to swap the margarine for butter. No one responded.

 

Eight years later, I'm very desirous of kicking margarine out of my kitchen entirely. While the recipe handles well and bakes up well, I don't want to use margarine any more. I really don't want to turn this thread into a discussion about the virtues of one fat over another. Let's just leave it at that, please. :) 

 

Here's the recipe as I make it today, from Raymond Sokolov:

 

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted margarine

2 cups sour cream

 

I work the margarine into the flour in the food processor as if I'm making pie crust, then stir in the sour cream. I bring it together and refrigerate it at least 4 hours, or freeze it (tightly wrapped) up to four months- even a little longer.

 

Please help me substitute butter in this recipe. By the way, my avatar is a plate of these treats.

 

Mezz

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post #2 of 14
One of our resident scientists may come along and prove otherwise but I have always subbed margarine out with an equal amt of butter.
So 1:1 is my answer.
Happy baking!

mimi
post #3 of 14
Me too. I find butter makes a tastier cookie and not as flat as same made with margerine
post #4 of 14

It would probably work with a straight substitution as flipflopgirl mentioned. 

 

If you want to get into more rigorous numbers, read on.

 

Butter is about 20% water in the US, less if you're using a european butter. Margarine can be as high as 50% water, but where you're using a stick margarine probably more like 30-40%. So a tablespoon of butter (14 grams--the standard serving size for butter or margarine) has about 11 grams of fat, and the rest of the weight is largely water. You can find the same information for your margarine by looking at the nutrition panel on the labeling. 

 

In a pound of butter, 3.2 oz of it are water--6 tablespoons, close enough.  If you're substituting for a pound of margarine with 8 grams fat per 14 gram serving, the total water would be 6.4 ounces. You need to make up the difference of those missing 6 tablepsoons of water. 

 

To be simple about it, use all the butter. Use 1 3/4 cup sour cream. The 4 ounces of sour cream you didn't use will be where you substitute with water.  But for experimentation purposes, use vodka. Vodka is high % alcohol, inexpensive, near tasteless and gluten doesn't form in alcohol. This gives you some extra leeway in adding water and mixing it with less chance of overworking your dough.  Mix your flour and butter to the bean sized butter stage.Keep the butter large in your early experiments so you don't overwork the dough while you mix in the vodka.  Add 2 T vodka and mix. then add more vodka in tablespoon doses and mix to see if the dough looks and feels right. Then mix in the sour cream and proceed as normal. When you've found the substitution ratio you like best, switch back to water from then on. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I did once make it with a 1:1 swap, and the result was the dough was too soft and, in my opinion, too greasy. 

 

I know the traditional recipes use butter and cream cheese, so I presume they have less water in them. I'll try cutting back on the amount of sour cream, dribble in vodka (like they use in the Cook's Illustrated pie crusts, right?) and see how that goes. For now, I have a batch of the usual stuff to use up.

 

Any other observations?

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post #6 of 14
if you thought it was greasy with 2 cups of butter it will still be greasy. so if you put the full sour cream and cut the butter down to 3 sticks and two tablespoons. Add the water from there.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 14
Or maybe sub in some lard .
No clue how much tho.
Is there a particular reason that you are wanting to save this recipe?
Just wondering if you could just find one that uses butter from the get go.

mimi

Just a little money saving tip here.....while you are looking for your favorite recipe make half batches.

m.
Edited by flipflopgirl - 3/7/15 at 6:35am
post #8 of 14

Heya @Mezzaluna I agree with both @phatch and @flipflopgirl 

 

You cannot use that recipe you have for Rugelach if you are wanting to change to butter. Rugelach is made traditionally made with butter and cream cheese although they do have alternative recipes out there.

 

Here is my Rugelach recipe which turns out every time and my family look forward to each Christmas season as that is the only time I make them so I may stay true to my Jewish friends celebrating Hanukkah :) (although I have had some Hungarian friends ask for this for their wedding at the dessert table)

 

1 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

8 ounces cream cheese, room temp

2 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional) (I have played around with this and used almond or hazelnut extract as well)

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups AP flour

 

1/2 cup apricot preserves (pureed in a food processor)

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp milk (for glazing)

granulated sugar for sprinkling (optional)

 

 FILLING:

1 cup of walnuts or pecans, finely chopped (I reduce both nuts by half and combine for my filling)

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Using a food processor. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar and extract until soft.

 

Sift in the flour and salt and mix to make a soft dough. (still slightly crumbly) Divide the dough into four equal balls, flatten each one and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes.

 

Puree your apricot preserves and set aside.

 

Make the filling by mixing in a small bowl.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

 

Working quickly with one disk of dough at a time, roll thinly on a lightly floured wax paper surface into a circle approximately 9" diameter.

 

Brush the surface with the apricot preserves and sprinkle the dough with 1/4 of the filling.

 

Slice the dough with a sharp knife into quarter sections, and each quarter into 4 equal sections, to form 16 equal triangles.

 

Starting from the wide base, roll up to form spirals (like a croissant). You can curve into a crescent if you like.Place on baking sheet, glaze with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (optional).

 

Bake for 10 minutes until just golden. Continue with the other 3 disks of dough.

 

If you want larger ones, just divide the dough in half instead of fourths, roll each disk into a 12" diameter circle and use half the filling. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

 

Hope you like the results! ;)

 

 

Continue with the other 3 disks of dough.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

@flipflopgirl, I can't use lard; it's for my synagogue. :) @Fablesable, you may be right: I may have to give up this recipe and go with the traditional one. @Jim Berman also has an excellent recipe in an article he wrote here on Chef Talk. Having used this recipe for 10 years or so, I thought I'd try and salvage it, but there's really no sentimental reason to do so; my mom and grandmother never made rugelach. @phatch, I'll give your tweak a try though! It's worth giving it a go.

 

I'm trying to keep the flakiness from the recipe I use, as well as the tenderness from the usual cream cheese/butter recipe. Would method alone be enough to preserve that? Or would changing the fat and swapping the sour cream for cream cheese make that impossible?

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post #10 of 14
Sometimes Mezz ya just gotta sit down with yerself and say " self....what is the logical thing to do in this situation?".
After all ingredients are not cheap and the same can be said for time.
Do you really wanna keep throwing good money after bad?
Or go straight to the tried and true recipe that iwas written specifically for your new best friend butter?
It is a conundrum indeed.

mimi
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

Here is my Rugelach recipe which turns out every time and my family look forward to each Christmas season as that is the only time I make them so I may stay true to my Jewish friends celebrating Hanukkah :) (although I have had some Hungarian friends ask for this for their wedding at the dessert table)

 

 

Fablesable, I happened to notice your Rugelach recipe sounds like mine.  One question...you said 1 cup butter (4 sticks)...did you mean 2 sticks?  Anyway, it's good stuff!

post #12 of 14

@Skyler  Tehe.....thank you so much for pointing that out! Yes I meant (1 cup) 2 sticks of butter :thumb:

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

@flipflopgirl "self" says to try working with the traditional butter and cream cheese dough and see how I like it. If I'm not happy, I'll try monkeying with the other one.

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post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzaluna View Post

@flipflopgirl
 "self" says to try working with the traditional butter and cream cheese dough and see how I like it. If I'm not happy, I'll try monkeying with the other one.

Lol.
You can always go back to tinkering....maybe whilst munching on a plate of cookies made using your "new" recipe lol.
For example I have a pound cake recipe that measures in teacups and soup spoons and hens eggs.
It was the only thing my Gma Van had to remember her gma by.
Every once in a while I will take it out and give it a go even tho I know it will end up in the garbage.
it is more about memories and love than ending up with an edible cake.
This thread has me thinking it is time to get that teacup down and go looking for some yard eggs lol.
Thanks.

mimi
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