(BPT) – The holiday cookie season – and baking season – has arrived, and home bakers are in a flurry finding favorite recipes, purchasing necessary ingredients and planning for the big baking day. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner in the kitchen, everyone can achieve baking bliss with a little help from the experts. Through Dec. 31, baking experts will be available every day (weekdays 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST and weekends 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST) at HersheyKitchens.com to help make homemade the easiest choice for holiday gifts and entertaining.
Hershey’s Cookie Headquarters offers step-by-step recipes, professional tips and exclusive access to a team of experts ready to answer your toughest baking questions. Bakers can submit questions to receive real-time answers and feedback and join in on the latest conversations with fellow baking enthusiasts. New this year, a team of 12 of the best bloggers in baking and entertaining will also be on-hand to ease your baking worries with how-to videos and gift ideas for “The Sweetest Thing to Bring” everyone on your gift list.
Many holiday bakers need help achieving the perfect cookie consistency. Visit Hershey’s Cookie Headquarters for expert baking tips like:
* To prevent cookies from becoming hard and tough, avoid adding more flour than necessary to the cookie dough or batter. Taking cookies out of the oven 1 to 2 minutes early may also help keep them soft after they cool.
* To avoid cookies that are too flat, try refrigerating the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before you scoop them on the tray. This will keep the dough from spreading too much when placed in a hot oven.
For a fool-proof holiday cookie, try this easy recipe for Hershey’s Peanut Butter Blossoms:
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Yields 4 dozen cookies
48 Hershey’s Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup Reese’s Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 375 F. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.