I get asked all of the time if butter is really any better than margarine. People are eager to switch to margarine because it is cheaper and generally regarded as healthier than butter, although there is evidence to the contrary.
The answer I always give to the butter question is YES, you have to use butter and not margarine. It has so many benefits in baking and it just can not be replaced. Here are just a few things to consider about butter.
It adds richness to your cookies.
Butter, after all, began life as cream and it shows through in your baking. You get a creamier and richer flavor when you use butter instead of margarine.
It makes for thicker cookies.
Have you ever seen a thin chocolate chip cookie and wondered what happened? It probably was made with margarine. Because margarine has more water content and less fat, it thins out your batter as the dough cooks. That makes for a flatter cookie.
It tastes better.
You can not mimic the taste of butter. They make all sorts of butter flavored products but they can not capture the taste of the real thing. If you have two cookies, one made with butter and one with margarine, the butter made cookie will just have something about it.
It makes cookies softer.
Because it has more fat and less water than margarine, a cookie made with butter will be softer. The higher water content of margarine will tend to toughen a cookie.
As you can see, butter does so much for your cookie. You get a thicker cookie with better texture and better taste. Sure, margarine is supposedly a bit healthier than better but that has been challenged in the last few years and it is no longer a given.
In any case, cookies are meant to be decadent and that is also one of the best words to describe butter. They just go together.