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Expertly Answered FAQs

Have a baking question? Get an expert answer. Our baking connoisseurs from HERSHEY’S Kitchens cover some common baking quandaries

How to Bake

What is whipping?

Whipping is beating ingredients until aerated. This can be achieved by using a whisk, a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.

Why is salt added to cookie and cake recipes?

Salt enhances all flavors—savory and sweet!

In large preparations of cookie dough, especially more than double, should ingredients stay consistent with the proportions of a single batch?

I usually only double recipes because of recipe differences when you go higher than that. A key difference is that the leavening agent's effect diminishes over time, and when making large quantities of cookie dough, the time that your batter sits uncooked makes a huge difference to how the cookies turn out.

Do I follow the same temperature setting for a convection oven when baking cookies?

Convection baking requires some minor adjustments to either the baking time or oven temperature. The radiating heat of a convection oven creates an evenly heated atmosphere that cooks food more efficiently. To avoid over baking, drop the baking time by 15 minutes or decrease the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

Which HERSHEY'S chocolate product(s) are best for dipping?

Any of HERSHEY'S Baking Chips are perfect for dipping! Simply select the flavor you would like and melt the chips using a microwave or a double boiler. Then you will be ready to dip your goodies.

How to Use

What type of baking sheet is best for baking cookies (e.g., flat, rimmed, nonstick, aluminum, light, dark, etc.)?

Medium-weight shiny aluminum baking sheets are best. The dark ones tend to brown the bottoms of your cookies too much.

Quick Fixes

My chocolate chip cookies always seem to harden after baking even though I follow the recipe. They look soft initially, but end up hard. What am I doing wrong?

To keep chocolate chip cookies soft, do not overmix the dough or use too much flour. Bake your chocolate chip cookies on a shiny pan (not dark) for the minimum recommended time. The center might look softer, but once the cookies cool completely, you will have a soft center. Store them in an airtight container.

I would love for my chocolate chip cookies to be thicker or puffier. Is there a solution? (part1-Batter)

Use chilled butter and cream the butter with the sugar only briefly. • After pouring onto a tray, chill the dough for an hour before baking and ensure to use cool trays for new dough. • Add a couple of extra tbsps. of flour for added puffiness.

I would love for my chocolate chip cookies to be thicker or puffier. Is there a solution? (part 2 - Tools)

• Preheat your oven to the accurate temperature. • Ensure your baking soda is not expired and use good quality sheets for baking.

Why do my chocolate chip cookies sometimes go flat in the oven?

Dough spreads much quicker when it's warm, resulting in a flatter cookie. My favourite trick is to refrigerate the dough first and use a cool pan. Also, check your baking soda and baking powder: If these ingredients aren't fresh, your cookies won't rise the way they should.

My cookies spread out when they are baking. What can I do so they keep more of their shape?

Trying adding a pinch more flour. Be sure to test a couple of cookies before baking the whole batch—that might help.

I add half a tsp. of baking powder, plus a tsp. of baking soda to the cookie dough, as I was initially thought, making the cookies crispy. How to avoid this?

I wouldn't use both leavening agents in a recipe, unless it specifically needs them. Cookies can withstand both, but use either one. Baking powder does more leavening, while baking soda creates tenderness. However, regardless of which you use they won't cause your cookies to be too crisp -overbaking will!

What to Bake

Is there a recipe for HERSHEY'S KISSES Chocolates baked inside the cookie dough?

I like HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can find them on the Recipes section.

I want to make cookie dough ahead of time so I can cook them right before the holidays. What do you recommend?

Making cookie dough ahead of time can definitely make holiday baking easier! Double-wrap your cookie dough in plastic resealable freezer bags to protect it. You can freeze the dough for up to 3 months. You might need to bake cookies a bit longer than recommended, so be sure to watch carefully so they don't burn.

Refrigerating & Freezing

How long can cookie dough last in the refrigerator?

Homemade cookie dough can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days if kept tightly wrapped. For longer storage, wrap and seal in plastic wrap, then place in freezer bags. Place in freezer for up to 3-6 months.

Can I freeze Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies and Candy Cane Blossoms Cookies with the HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolates on top? If so, are there any precautions?

You can, but I wouldn't recommend it. When already-baked cookies freeze, they lose some of their texture. Also, sometimes a white filmy residue occurs when cocoa butter in the chocolate separates from the cocoa solids. Rather, freeze the dough for up to 3-6 months and thaw it out anytime for fresh-made Blossom Cookies!

If I freeze cookie dough in advance, do I have to defrost it completely before baking? If so, how do I do that?

We freeze our cookie dough all the time! Simply drop dough balls onto a parchment-lined cookie and put the entire baking sheet in the freezer. Once the balls are frozen, transfer them to a zip-top. It's best to bake cookie dough after it's thawed but to bake frozen, simply leave the cookies in for 2-3 minutes longer.

Substitutions

Is there a substitute for the peanut butter in the Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies?

Yes, certainly, you can use almond or cashew butter!

Do you have a recipe for sugar-free sugar cookies?

You can always substitute sugar for natural sweeteners like honey or artificial sweeteners.

Is there a substitute for cardamom instead of using a vanilla bean?

You could easily substitute in cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice for the cardamom.

What is the substitute for a baking chocolate bar when using HERSHEY'S Cocoa with butter?

To substitute for unsweetened baking chocolate, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of shortening.

Can I use Caramel HERSHEY'S KISSES Chocolates on Peanut Butter Blossoms rather than the Milk Chocolate ones?

Yes! Of course! You can use any flavor of HERSHEY'S KISSES Chocolates on top of Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Is it possible to substitute lowfat/fat-free cream cheese in any recipe?

Yes, you can swap it in any recipe with similar results. However, if one of the recipe’s main ingredient is full-fat cream cheese and you swap it), you may miss the creaminess that would come otherwise. A few tablespoons is no big deal, but when making something like cream cheese frosting, stick to the real stuff!

For brownies, I use HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK chocolate chips. Instead of adding the chips , will melting the chips and pouring them in the mixture have an effect?

By melting the chocolate and pouring it into the batter, you will create a brownie with a denser, richer crumb. For an ultimate brownie, add melted chocolate and then throw in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for added texture and chocolaty goodness.

What is the conversion for using cocoa in place of semisweet baking chocolate? I recall 3 tbsp. cocoa and 1 tbsp. oil for a square but how much sugar?

I use 3 tablespoons of sugar. However, HERSHEY’S says you can use a combination of 6 tablespoons of HERSHEY'S Cocoa, 7 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup of shortening.

What is a substitute for brown sugar?

In baking, substituting sugars will work, but you should expect a difference in flavor. 1 cup of granulated sugar can be substituted for a cup of brown sugar. Or, for results more similar to the taste of brown sugar, combine 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of molasses and 1 cup of white sugar.

What can I substitute for shortening?

You can use butter in place of shortening when a recipe calls for it, but the recipe may spread more when baking. Be sure the dough is cold before baking and think about doing a half-butter/half-shortening substitution instead of a full one.

Can you substitute Crisco or margarine for shortening?

In a pinch, you can substitute margarine for shortening. For every 1 cup of shortening in the recipe, you can swap in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of margarine. Be sure to use a pinch less salt in the recipe when substituting margarine for shortening.

My family has made the HERSHEY’S Rich Cocoa Fudge for years but I can’t get it right. It cools to a lukewarm temperature in the pan and then harden like taffy.

When it comes to fudge, it takes time to intuitively know when to heat, remove from heat or stir. Don’t let the temperature get above 234 degrees and avoid turning the heat too high. Use the soft ball/cold water test. Also, allow the fudge to cool naturally without stirring.

Where can I find vanilla bean paste?

Vanilla bean paste can be found online or in specialty food stores. If you can't find it in a store, you can always use a substitute—simply combine pure vanilla with natural vanilla bean seeds in paste form. 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste equals 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.