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Food Science and Nutrition Alumni

Reduced-Fat and Fat-Free Cream Cheeses May Be Acceptable Substitutions for Butter in Lemon Cookies

by Chad Crosson, Katie Hahn, Emily Reynolds

Chad Crosson, Katie Hahn, Emily Reynolds

This research project was designed to test if reduced fat and fat free cream cheeses were acceptable fat substitutes in a lemon cookie recipe using a commercial boxed cake mix (Duncan Hines). 

According to the USDA, Americans' over-consumption of fat is a major contributor to many diet-related diseases. Common sources of dietary fat are shortenings and oils used in commercially produced baked products.  Because fat provides nine kilocalories per gram, diets that are high in fat may contribute to more weight gain, resulting in an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and other diseases linked to obesity (Thompson, 184).  Reduced fat and fat free cream cheeses were chosen as a butter replacement because of their low fat content, firm texture, and creaming ability. 

The three variations of the recipe were a control using butter, a reduced fat variety using reduced fat cream cheese, and a low fat recipe using fat free cream cheese.  With these substitutions, the modified samples fit the government standard for "reduced fat" and "low fat" products.  Sensory evaluations were administered to random university student judges.  Objective evaluations were measured using food sensory equipment in the university lab.  The results of this study were that the modified cream cheese recipes were significantly different in all objective tests, including shear force, penetration force, and height.  In the sensory evaluations, they were significantly different in the lemon intensity and crunchiness tests, but not in saltiness and sweetness tests.The low fat and reduced fat variations were significantly preferred by the sensory judges.

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