Is it possible to use light butter when baking?

Ask Peggy

Ask Peggy

Dear Peggy: I received the new Healthy Cooking magazine and ran across a bar that uses butter. Is it possible to use light stick butter and get the same results as using regular butter, or do I need to adjust the dry or wet ingredients? —K.F., Bandera, Texas

I wouldn't recommend substituting light stick butter in place of real butter for brownies, bars, cookies or other baked goods. Light stick butter has water added to it, so you'll likely get a product that has a heavy, dense texture. You'll also lose some moistness and tenderness because the bars will be even lower in fat. While we do occasionally publish recipes using light stick butter, they are designed to compensate for that added water, and we are able to tweak the recipes as needed in our test kitchen.

If you are looking to lighten these bars even further, I would suggest omitting the frosting and dusting with confectioners' sugar. Or, cut the amount of frosting in half and make it into a glaze by adding less confectioners' sugar before drizzling it over the bars.

At Healthy Cooking, we strive to find the right balance between low fat and great taste. While formulating the recipe to use light stick butter is a possibility, I think it would compromise the final product and have a disappointing texture and flavor.