Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Use Shortening Powder--Yes you can make pie crust and sugar cookies

 Source:  janeyhenning
Storing fats long term is tricky.  Fats have a very short shelf life,  for example unopened Crisco shortening has a shelf life of 2 years.  That is not very long.  Shortening powder has a shelf life of 10 years making it a great option for long term storage.  Many of you have asked me how shortening powder works and how to use it.  Today we are going to take an in-depth look at how to bake with shortening powder.  

Whitney who write the blog Thrive with Hemasth is here to show us  how to make awesome and EASY pie crust and sugar cookies using shortening powder.  Whitney is a girl after my own hear, she experimented with shortening powder until she figured out exactly how to to use it.  She very graciously agreed to share it with all of us.  Take it away Whitney.

 Source: D Sharon Pruitt
It seems that my whole culinary life, I have been hunting for the best sugar cookie and pie crust recipes. This last year, I have stopped searching. I finally have a recipe for the perfect flaky pie crust, as well as for perfect sugar cookies (roll-out or drop).  Turns out the secret to both these recipes was shortening. I have never really used shortening before, but it makes all the difference in these recipes. My family loves them, and I knew I needed to find a way to incorporate them into our food storage options. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered THRIVE Shortening Powder. 

Lots of people say that this product can be tricky to work with. Hate to say it, but it's true. The good news is, however, I've learned all the tricks! And now I get to share them with you. Here are some of my favorite shortening powder secrets that will ensure awesome food storage recipes.
  1. The ratio on the THRIVE cans is correct. You want to 4 parts powder to 1 part water.
  2. The equivalency THRIVE publishes is not correct according to my experiments. I mixed up 1 cup powder + 1/4 cup water, and put it back into a measuring cup. It condenses down to only 1/2 cup reconstituted shortening, not 1 cup. I plan to write in to them about fixing that equivalency chart. The first time a tried my cookie recipe substituting shortening powder, it didn't turn out as well as I expected. Once I learned that it takes twice as much powder to equal the "fresh" equivalent, I tried my recipe again and it was awesome. So remember: 1 cup powder + 1/4 cup water = 1/2 cup shortening. 
  3. When you first reconstitute your shortening, the powder will float on top of the water. Keep mixing and it becomes a crumbly texture. 30 more seconds of whisking with a fork and you get a liquid cream type shortening.
  4. If you put this soft reconstituted shortening in the fridge for a while (30+ minutes) it will harden up like regular shortening.
    After 20 minutes in the fridge, reconstituted shortening has hardened enough to not fall out of the measuring cup.
  5. You can reconstitute the shortening before hand, but you don't have to. You can just add the powder in with the dry ingredients, and then add the extra water with the wet ingredients.
I tried making my sugar cookies both ways - reconstituting the shortening first vs.  just adding the powder in with the dry ingredients. They both came out great, but when I asked my husband which he liked more he said the dry ingredients batch was his favorite. I love, love, love this, because I can make the whole thing with just a bowl and a fork (you'll notice my pie crust recipe does not require a pastry cutter!), and I don't have to wash out a greasy shortening covered measuring cup. Bonus! This is what makes THRIVE Shortening Powder an every day time saver in our home, not just a "use only in case of emergency" product. 

Okay, so enough chit-chat, let's get to those recipes. Here is the sugar cookie recipe I love. Using other THRIVE ingredients, you can actually mix it all up ahead of time and store in the pantry, so all you have to do is just add water and vanilla. Put it in a jar with a festive ribbon, and you have a cute housewarming or Christmas gift.

Sugar Cookies
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c shortening powder
1 tbsp egg powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/8 c flour
1/2 tsp powdered milk (not Instant)

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl with a fork. Create a well in the middle and add 5 Tbsp of water and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Combine with fork until well blended.

Place cookie dough on a well floured surface and roll out to a thickness NO LESS than 1/4". Cut out with your favorite cutter and bake for 5 minutes at 375. (*NOTE* - the trick to the soft wonderful chewy cookies is to not over bake them. If they're browning on top, they're overdone. They should still be white on top, just barely turning golden on the bottom. You may need slightly more than 5 minutes depending on your oven and pan, but check after 5 minutes, because that's all it takes in my oven). This recipe will make about 1 dozen decent sized cut out cookies. It is super fast and super yummy.

And now on to the pie crust recipe. I will say, my "regular" recipe gives me the perfect flaky pie crust. Using shortening powder, and mixing all the dry ingredients first to avoid using a pastry cutter, I don't get as flaky a crust. It is a bit more tender than crumbly. But it is still wonderful, and so easy, you will want to try it.  

Pie Crust
1 1/4 cup THRIVE white flour
1 cup THRIVE Shortening Powder
1/4 tsp THRIVE salt
7 Tbsp ice cold water

Mix together all dry ingredients with a fork.

 Add the ice water and stir for a few minutes until soft ball of dough is formed.

Roll out on a floured surface to desired thickness. Makes one 9" unbaked pie crust.

You can then use the unbaked crust to make just about any kind of pie that requires baking. Just place it in the ungreased pie pan, fill with whatever filling you like (apple, chicken pot pie, quiche, etc) and bake according to that recipe's instructions. Or you can bake the crust by itself and fill with something non-baked, like pudding, fresh fruit, whipped cream, or what I did, Chicken Salad. I chose to roll my dough out and cut it with a round cookie cutter, and put the circles into a mini cupcake dish, thus baking mini crusts. Filled those with Chicken Salad, and they went over very well at the party I served them at. Everyone said they were surprised at how soft the crust was.

So thank you THRIVE Shortening Powder for retiring my pastry cutter, saving my dish soap, and adding cookies and pies to my list of food storage meals. Have fun experimenting with your Shortening Powder, and if you find a great recipe, don't forget to share it with me! 

 Whitney Hemsath is an independent consultant for Shelf Reliance located in AZ, Whitney Hemsath loves keeping her family eating healthy with THRIVE foods. When she's not cooking with her food storage, Whitney teaches piano, does Zumba, writes screenplays, and does anything she can to hear her two young sons giggle