Ask Evan: Can I Use Coconut Oil “Spread” In Lieu of Shortening When Baking?

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Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener. You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here. This week’s came from Diana:

Can I use coconut oil “spread” as a replacement for the shortening in pies crusts, cookies and biscuits?

Yes. Coconut oil is used as both an “oil” when melted (which it does at 76 degrees) or as a solid shortening when cold.  The trick when using coconut oil for pie crusts or scones, when the recipe would call for butter, shortening or lard, is to have the coconut oil very very cold and to mix or blend quickly and not with your warm hands which will quickly melt the solid fat.  So when making scones and pie crusts use a food processor and pulse.  When using in a recipe that calls for creaming butter as you do for cookies, beat the coconut oil first until smooth, then add the sugar.  Coconut oil is used 1 to 1 with butter or other fats.