Mmmm... there’s nothing like the first bite and creamy taste of butter as it oozes through the crevices of a freshly toasted English muffin. Or is there? To health-conscious people of all ages who are watching their fat intake and monitoring their cholesterol levels, butter is a villain. A delicious one, yes, but nevertheless one of the causes of pouches on men and muffin tops on women. Even Julia Child couldn’t deny the effects of butter, not that it influenced her or her recipes. But substituting butter “back in the day” couldn’t compare to the non-butter favorites we enjoy today ‒ like Country Crock.
Butter, Margarine and Spreads
First, let’s get the terminology right. By definition, commercial butter must contain 80%‒82% milk fat. Reduced fat and light butter have around 40% milk fat. Margarine must contain 80% fat, and the fat is usually derived from soy and corn oils. Any product containing less than 80% fat must be called a spread.
Comparing Butter With Country Crock
The packaging on some sticks of unsalted butter boasts their contents have an 85% butterfat content. That high fat content makes it great tasting, but the vital statistics include 12 grams of fat, 8 of which are saturated fat, and 31 milligrams of cholesterol. This adds up to 110 calories per serving, with all 110 of them total fat.
In general, salted butter contains 101 milligrams of salt, while a tub of Country Crock has 100 milligrams. Not much difference there. Country Crock also contains less saturated fat, 1.5 grams, putting it on the good side of fighting heart disease. But the verdict keeps changing as to the effects of saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
Country Crock’s unsalted baking sticks boast 11 grams of fat, 3.5 of which are saturated fat ‒ a much lower amount than the saturated fat in butter. It also has no carbohydrates. No sodium. No cholesterol ‒ all in a 100-calorie serving. With all that isn’t in Country Crock, what is?
Ingredients in Both Spreads
In its formula, the makers of Country Crock include water, soybean, palm kernel and palm oils, salt, soy, vinegar, and flavorings, in addition to some chemicals that you may recognize but don’t understand. It’s also gluten free, and the color and flavor remain consistent year-round.
Butter comprises sweet cream, and if it’s salted ‒ salt. That’s it. Specialty butter will be more yellow in the spring and summer because the cows have been grazing on fresh grass and more muted in the winter months. Be sure to check the expiration date on unsalted butter as it goes bad sooner due to the lack of a preservative ‒ salt.
Baking With Country Crock
The cooks at the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen had a field day and consumed an abundance of calories, when they baked and taste-tested butter vs. spreads. They found that Shedd’s Spread Country Crock, made with vegetable oil with a 79% fat content, did produce a very buttery-tasting cookie. In their remarks, the experts at the test kitchen also mentioned that they consider Land O Lakes butter the gold standard in baking.
Country Crock suggests substituting, one-on-one, its baking sticks for butter. They also boast that since it’s always in “soft” mode, even right out of the refrigerator, the last-minute baker can jump right into creaming butter and sugar instead of waiting for the butter stick to soften.
Test-drive Country Crock on that English muffin. Before you know it, the muffin top might be relegated to the muffin, not you!
My seventh grade English teacher didn't realize what she was unleashing when she called me her "writer," but the word crept into my brain. I DID become a writer. Of advertising copy, dialogue and long-term story for several network soap operas, magazine articles and high-calorie contents for the cookbook: Cooking: It AIn't Rocket Science, a bestseller on Amazon! When I'm not writing, I'm cooking!