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 GLENDALE, Calif., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Baking for the holidays is a household tradition in most American homes. But when we are up to our elbows in flour and sugar, where do we turn for last-minute baking advice?
 The Nestle Baking Information Helpline is available to offer tips, advice and information on how to prepare traditional, as well as decadent, holiday desserts. In 1992, the Nestle consumer affairs department received more than 61,000 baking inquiries, with 70 percent of the requests for recipe advice handled during the peak baking season, September through December.
 This year, Nestle will extend its hours for the Baking Information Helpline from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., PST, from Nov. 8 through Dec. 23 (except for Thursday and Friday, Nov. 25 and 26). Consumers can call toll free 800-NESTLES or 800-637-8537. The helpline will also be open the weekends of Nov. 20 and 21, Dec. 4 and 5, Dec. 11 and 12, Dec. 18 and 19 and Dec. 23 during the same hours.
 The helpline provides consumers with feedback and assistance when they need it most. "We realize that consumers are often preparing their recipes at the last minute and don't know where to turn for advice," said Rob Kowalski, marketing manager, Nestle Toll House. "We have extended our hours to be available to walk consumers through recipes and help them bake the very best desserts for their families and friends."
 Consumer Concerns
 According to the Home Baking Association, most consumers have trouble measuring ingredients correctly. It's important to level a cup of sugar or flour; spoon sugar or flour into measuring cup, then level with a straight-edged utensil. Another concern is cookies with dark bottoms. To avoid this, use the correct size baking sheet for the oven. There should be at least a one-inch clearance all the way around the baking sheet.
 Common Baking Questions
 What is the best way to melt chocolate?
 Melt chocolate uncovered in the top part of double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Or, melt uncovered, over lowest heat in saucepan, stirring frequently. When most of the chocolate is melted, remove from heat to finish melting. Chocolate can also be melted, uncovered, in a microwave-safe bowl on high power about 1 minute. Stir, then microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Do not overheat. All utensils used during melting should be dry to prevent chocolate from tightening.
 Can I use Nestle cocoa in place of the unsweetened baking bars?
 Yes. One ounce (one square) unsweetened chocolate is equal to 3 tablespoons cocoa powder. You must reduce butter or oil in your recipe by 1 tablespoon.
 Is it necessary to refrigerate chocolate?
 No, but if you do, make sure it is stored in an air-tight container to prevent moisture from forming on the chocolate as it warms to room temperature. Chocolate becomes hard and brittle when cold, so allow it to come to room temperature before using it.
 -0- 8/2/93
 /EDITORS: Interviews with representatives from the Nestle Kitchens may be arranged by calling Judy Secreto at 412-456-7836/
 /CONTACT: Judy Secreto of Creamer Dickson Basford, 412-456-7836, for Nestle Baking; or June Reese of Nestle Baking, 818-549-7011/

CO: Nestle ST: California IN: FOD SU:

LV -- NYFFNS2 -- 8118 08/02/93 06:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 2, 1993

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