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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Substitute For Vegetable Shortening?

    I am making chocolate from cocoa powder to decorate my cake, and the recipe says that I need vegetable shortening for this. iI am not able to find any vegetable shortening in my city, is there any substitute for it?

    From the nigella team:

    Whilst you can make a chocolate paste which sets into a sort of "chocolate bar", this will never have the flavour, texture or "snap" of a proper chocolate bar. Vegetable shortening is a white fat and you may find it sold under the brand name of Crisco, Trex or Copha (depending on where you live). If you cannot find this then we would suggest switching it to butter, in equal quantities, for this.

    It may also be worth making a chocolate flavoured buttercream if you are having difficulty with the home-made chocolate. You will need to use double the quantity of icing (confectioners') sugar to butter and add cocoa powder to taste once the butter and sugar have been beaten together. A few drops of vanilla extract beaten in at the end will help too.

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