In my baked goods, I've stuck with 100% real butter religiously. It's such a simple ingredient that I've never been comfortable with the idea of baking with anything else. Still, the saturated fat in butter-regardless of its naturalness-is indeed bad for you. And since I had a coupon for it, I decided to put away my prejudice and try I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Stick.
The first thing to understand about these sticks is that they have the same amount of calories and total fat as regular butter. So what's the draw? As the website proclaims "They contain a blend of nutritious oils, including soybean and canola, so I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Sticks have 50% less saturated fat than butter, no trans fat and provide an excellent source of omega-3 ALA per serving." O-kaaay. But what about the taste and baking performance? First, I tried this by itself on a piece of bread.
Unsurprisingly, it tasted just like butter. One thing I noticed, however, is that these sticks are a lot softer at room temperature than butter. They almost start to melt at room temperature, something that proved to be problematic with chocolate chip cookies. I had to chill the batter before baking the cookies, and had to make sure to keep the dough cold as I worked with it. For purposes where I melted the margarine first, such as brownies, it worked just as well as butter and tasted just the same.
A 1 tablespoon serving of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Stick provides 100 calories, 17% of the daily value of total and saturated fat and 10% DV for Vitamin A. Regular butter has the same amount of calories, but 36% of the daily value for saturated fat.
This is an easy substitution that will drastically reduce the heart-clogging saturated fat in bakery products. But still, the problems with baking may make me not reach for it the next time I want to make cookies.