The Three-Ingredient Shortbread That Uses Mayonnaise Instead Of Butter

One of the major reasons why baked goods taste so delicious and are so crave-able is the addition of sugar and butter. It's obvious that sugar adds to the sweetness, but what exactly is butter's primary role in baked goods? Butter adds delicious flavor and richness, but it also changes the structure and can make cakes lighter and airier. When it comes to making cookies, butter can be used in different ways. If you want to upgrade your run-of-the-mill cookies, add brown butter to the batter. Not only does it appear fancy, but it also adds nuttiness and depth of flavor. When making cookies, the temperature of the butter can affect the final texture of your cookies. If you want a more cake-like texture, use softened butter. If you like a chewy cookie, add in some melted butter. While butter seems central to cookies, there are some cookies where butter is not better.

Mayonnaise surprisingly makes a great substitute for butter in certain baked goods. Of course, while some people love it, others are disgusted by the mere sight of mayo. No matter what you think of it, mayo is simply a combination of eggs, neutral oil, and lemon juice or vinegar. Most cakes call for eggs and oil, so it makes sense that mayonnaise could be substituted in the batter. Cakes need moisture and mayo provides that without overpowering the flavor. Mayo isn't only useful in cakes; it can also come in clutch when making a delicious cookie.

Mayo cookies?!

During hot summer days, there's nothing like a refreshing glass of lemonade. For those that prefer to eat their lemon in dessert form, a lemon surprise bar is a sweet and tart cookie bar that is a refreshing, sweet treat. The "surprise" is that instead of typical cookie ingredients like eggs and butter, these cookie bars use only mayonnaise, flour, and sugar. Since mayo is essentially eggs and oil, it seamlessly works to bind the crust.

Even though mayo makes a great swap in lemon surprise cookies, you can't substitute mayo in every baking recipe. Butter adds flavor, but butter also traps air and is used for adding structural integrity to your baked goods. Pastry chef, Allie Reinmann, shares that if a baked good includes the word "flakey" in its name, it's a no-go for a mayo swap. This includes pies, biscuits, and short doughs. Butter contains a small amount of water which is essential to evaporate and help the baked good's crusts expand. 

If you want to use mayo, stick to recipes where it's explicitly called for, or do a 1:1 ratio substitution in cakes. If you choose to use mayo, be wary not to use Miracle Whip. The major difference with Miracle Whip is that it's made with high fructose corn syrup and has a higher sugar content. Just be careful to follow any recipe carefully, and your mayo will seamlessly blend right in with no mayo flavor to be found.