As an avid dairy-free baker, I was once loyal to Earth Balance Shortening. It twas sadly discontinued, but Earth Balance Buttery Sticks have persisted and even expanded in options.
For years I was hesitant. Weren’t the Earth Balance Buttery Sticks just the Buttery Spread packed into another format? Were they really any different? In fact, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks have a blend that’s just a touch firmer. And it does seem to hold up a little bit better in many baking applications.
I use the Soy-Free version (red package) of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, but not just because they’re soy free. A wonderfully thoughtful reader named Emiliy emailed me with a theory she and her husband had tested about why Earth Balance sometimes tasted funny or almost “burnt” when baked. I’d heard this from many readers, so my ears perked up. She noted that many versions contain flax oil, which goes rancid at moderate to high baking temperatures. They tested with Smart Balance (made by the same company, but doesn’t contain flax) and found that the baked goods didn’t have that burnt flavor. After reading the labels, I discovered that the Soy-Free Earth Balance Buttery Sticks don’t contain flax oil. I put it to the test, and personally, I think the results were delicious.
The Soy-Free Earth Balance Buttery Sticks were amazing for making the Perfect Buttery Pie Crust. I’ve never been a crust fan, often eating the filling and leaving it behind, but I found myself nibbling on the baked crust alone!
I also used the Earth Balance Buttery Sticks to make a Dairy-Free Buttercream Frosting and it held up so much better at room temperature than the Buttery Spread usually does. That said, it gets really thick when chilled, so it needs a good whip before spreading.
We loved the flavor, too, and my friendly Sarena agrees. She made a chocolate frosting with it and said, “WOW! Earth Balance delivered on the buttery name. The frosting was truly decadent and had the wonderful flavor of an all-natural butter base.” She now uses it in many applications, including her Con Cookies, and says, “It is the perfect safe alternative for all of my dairy free baked goods that need butter for their structure.”
Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are non-hydrogenated, and made with an oil blend of palm fruit, canola, and olive. The “Vegan” Buttery Sticks also contain flax and soybean oils, but don’t let the name fool you. Both the Soy-Free and Vegan varieties are dairy-free and vegan.
The Facts on Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
Price: $3.29 per lb (4 sticks)
Certifications: Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are Certified Kosher Parve.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian. There are also Soy Free Buttery Sticks available. Nonetheless, always read the ingredient statement and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Earth Balance website at earthbalancenatural.com.
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What Others Are Saying ...
Fantastic for Baking
Yes, the sticks really do make a difference when it comes to baking. Just a touch saltier and firmer than the buttery spread, the sticks can tackle pie crust, cookies, and stable buttercream with ease. I do recommend the soy-free for taste. It doesn’t contain flax oil which may be the key to its better baked flavor.