Cookie Bake-Off: Heavy v. Light

Last week, when I posted about the apple crumb cake, I mentioned that I had melted the butter (as I always do when I bake). Later, my friend Beth commented that melting the butter would ruin the texture of the cookie. I told her that I was pretty sure it didn’t make a difference and that I had been doing this since I was in high school. Well, Beth insisted, and the idea for a little test came about. In our discussion, I also happened to mention that I usually use light butter, instead of real butter; this too, became a part of our taste test. 

Softened Butter vs. Melted Light Butter: Can you tell the difference?
Here’s what went down:

I used the Nestle chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the semi-sweet morsels bag, halved the recipe, and in one half, used melted light butter, and in the other half, softened real butter. The results may surprise you. (Okay. Or not, but still. It did turn out well.)

I mixed the flour, baking soda and salt in one bowl, and set it aside.

In the larger bowl, I mixed the butter (and light butter), sugars, vanilla, and 1 egg in each.

You can see the difference the melting makes.
Then, I slowly added in the flour mixture, thickening the dough. After this was all mixed well together, I added the chocolate chips.

I then dropped the dough onto the cookie sheets and baked for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. After all the cookies were baked, and cooled, I brought them out to my official testers tasters: Josh, Nick and Greg, who were all over at our apartment for Sunday football.

The softened butter is on the left, the melted light butter on the right...
The Results:

Beth and I were both right! The butter made the cookie a little sweeter (“more buttery,” as one taster commented), but the melting of the butter didn’t change the texture at all. So, for all of you butter softeners out there, you now know that if you forget to soften the butter ahead of time, your texture will remain the same. All tasters said that while the light butter cookie wasn’t as sweet, it was still good and definitely not something they would turn away.

Light Butter

Real Butter
I’m considering experimenting with a little PAM Butter Spray the next time I bake cookies to see if the zero calories spray, which really does taste like butter, would make the light butter cookies equally as sweet. Have any of you ever tried this? Is it wrong of me to even consider making cookies without using real butter? Should I just give up and figure that if I’m eating cookies, I’ve already ventured far enough away from healthy eating that it isn’t even worth it? I’d love to hear from you!



  1. Go for it and experiment some more!! I'd be curious about the results. Although if you do find a healthier cookie recipe, you're probably going to overcompensate by eating more because "they are better for you!" And then you'll probably be in the same place you started when you baked it with real butter. Oh well! Live it up and eat some yummy cookies :)


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