Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Face off: Butter vs. ICBINB Cooking & Baking Sticks

Recently, I told you about my interest in testing the difference between butter and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Cooking & Baking sticks. Well, I finally had a chance to put the two up against each other in a good old-fashioned taste test.

For the test, I chose to whip up two half batches of Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – one using butter, the other using ICBINB sticks.

I set up two bowls, each labeled with the fat of choice.

ICBINB vs. Butter

Next, I creamed the sugars and fats together.

ICBINB vs Butter

Then, I added the eggs and mixed until well combined.

ICBINB vs. Butter

This is when I noticed the first major difference – the texture of the ICBINB mixture was much softer and looser.

ICBINB vs Butter

Then, I added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

ICBINB vs Butter

Next, I lined two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and marked the underside of each sheet with either a B or I to indicate which batch was which.

ICBINB vs. Butter

Then, using a large spoon, I dropped the dough onto the appropriate pans. The ICBINB dough was significantly stiffer.

ICBINB vs Butter

Between batches, I switched up which versions cooked on which racks in the oven. When each batch came out, I noticed that the butter-based cookies consistently spread more and browned more.

ICBINB vs. Butter

In the side-by-side taste comparison, the ICBINB version was preferred 6 out of 10 times. My taste testers commented that the ICBINB cookies were moister and tasted a bit sweeter. Truth be told, I still preferred the butter version, even though I was outnumbered. But, I wouldn't turn an ICBINB cookie down. If I weren't tasting them side-by-side, I don't think I'd notice a difference.

ICBINB vs Butter

So, in the end, what does this mean? Well, if you're watching your saturated fat intake, the ICBINB Cooking & Baking sticks might be a better option for you and you don't have to sacrifice taste. That's good in my book.

ICBINB vs Butter 2

*This post is in no way endorsed by I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. I did this test because I was curious. = )

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Source: Quaker Oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

On a separate note, it's my blogiversary! A whole year ago, this little blog was born. It's been a lot of fun and I'm excited about the year to come!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eating local and Food, Inc.

Recently, I've begun looking into ways to eat more locally. That is to say, I'd like to support local farms and move towards eating more organically grown/raised foods. To that end, this year will be my first involved with a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, share and I could not be more excited!

It all began last summer when I stumbled upon Amy's blog, Eggs on Sunday. She documents the contents of her weekly shares and then spotlights recipes she made with those items. I was fascinated! Until that moment, I had never heard of the CSA concept before and had to know more about it.

To my delight, there are several CSA options in my area. Local Harvest is a great resource for finding a farm that you can sign up with! I found one that suited my needs and budget and signed up immediately! I'm so happy to be able to support a local farm and benefit from the foods I will receive.

Now, I've got my sights set on finding local resources for eggs, dairy, meat, and fruit. If you know of any good ones in southern New Hampshire, please let me know!

It was just today that I learned about a new documentary called Food, Inc. This film sheds some light on the realities of food production and manufacturing. It looks to be a real eye opener and I am looking forward to watching it, for sure.

Check out the trailer!

What efforts have you made toward eating locally, if any?