Substitutions when baking

Kathleen Purvis / The Charlotte Observer /

Published Jul 30, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

Q: My cookie recipes call for sticks of margarine. Can I substitute oil?

A: Baking substitutions are tricky, but they are worth trying to see if you like the result. However, oil doesn’t work exactly the same as something like butter or shortening that is solid when chilled.

Many cookies or cakes involve creaming, or beating air into the mixture of butter and sugar. Oil won’t hold air in the same way, so the cookies may have a crunchier texture and may dry out more quickly when you store them.

Try replacing half of the butter or margarine with oil and see if you like the texture. If you want to use all oil, use a little less than the butter called for, usually 31⁄2 tablespoons of oil for 4 tablespoons of butter.