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

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.

Salt enhances all flavors—savory and sweet!

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.

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.

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

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

Quick Fixes

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.