Some butter substitutes for cookie recipes include margarine, shortening, cooking oil, virgin coconut oil and fruit purees. Real margarine is healthier, and it produces different baking results than variations such as butter substitutes and vegetable oil spreads. Baking-quality shortening produces a thicker, less dense cookie than regular shortening.
Applesauce or pureed fruits, such as dates, prunes, figs or bananas, add some low-fat bulk and flavor. Pureed fruit should replace only about half of the butter in the recipe, as cookies need some fat for optimum flavor and texture. Avocado makes a good butter substitute in cookie recipes, but some recipes may need more liquid to thin out the batter.