Hi everybody - I'm a newbie from Australia and I have a question about shortening - is it a liquid or a solid - do you melt it before use if not specified in the recipe. I ask because here it is a solid mass called copha (Vegetable shortening) and lots of recipes say mix shortening and sugar (for example) but as a solid mass even if you chop it into smaller pieces and leave it out of the fridge you can't beat it like butter and sugar. so I was just wondering if its a different product here or if it is just understood that shortening has to be melted.
I'm in Australia too. Copha is a coconut based product. I wouldn't try to use it as the shortening called for in US recipes. It's a different product altogether, better keep it for melting it for chocolate crackles.
Depending where you are in Australia there are products you can buy as shortening, from cake decorating stores. I buy cream cup which is a vegetable shortening.
Shortening is solid, while oil is liquid. The most common brand of shortening is Crisco®. And here you store Crisco® outside of the fridge, so it's soft enough to mix sugar in there. I don't know, but I would imagine that you could melt your Copha down to an oil form, then mix it in with the sugar. I don't know about the product stability once it's melted though.