Everything tastes better with butter. That’s the mantra of a lot of cooks. There’s even a blog called “Better with Butter” (betterwithbutter.com).
There’s some debate about what’s better for your health, though, butter or margarine. Butter is high in both saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, increasing our risk of heart disease and stroke. On the plus side, butter is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
On the other hand, margarine is low in saturated fat and has no dietary cholesterol. But because the liquid vegetable oil in stick margarine is hardened through a process called hydrogenation, it is high in trans-fatty acids. Trans fatty acids, or trans fats, are thought not only to raise levels of bad cholesterol but also to lower levels of good cholesterol, the kind that offers a defense against artery-clogging fats. This makes trans fats worse than saturated fat.
I’m not going to get much further into the debate here. But I will say butter is my favorite, especially when it comes to baking.
One of my favorite treats, rolled butter cookies (my Grandma Menard’s recipe), is made with butter as the name implies. And so are a lot of other bars and cookies my mom makes, especially during the Christmas season.
Here’s a recipe similar to one my mom makes, which comes from Land O’ Lakes. And, of course, it contains butter.
½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar for sifting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the crust ingredients and mix at low speed until blended. Pat into ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake near center of oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown on edges.
Meanwhile, prepare filling: Beat the eggs with the sugar, flour, baking powder and lemon juice. Pour filling over partially baked crust. Return to oven for 19 to 20 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely before serving.
Yield: Serves 16.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 147 calories, 39 percent of calories from fat, 6.5 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 2 grams monounsaturated), 2 grams protein, 42 milligrams cholesterol, no fiber, 75 milligrams sodium.