In the world of desserts there is whipped cream, and then there is whipped cream. Sure, there are lots of tubs of “whipped” “topping” out there, but why??? I’m not trying to be a whipped cream snob about this, but whenever I see tubs of said topping in the store, my brain…how do I describe this…kind of takes over and starts shooting red flag alerts into the sky like I am all of a sudden R2D2 malfunctioning and in need of a reboot.
I do want to say this, if you totally love the taste of cool whip and that could be totally possible because I know taste memories are powerful, then that’s cool. (ha! pun unintended). I have a similar affinity for store bought pie dough as it brings back vivid memories of my grandma’s Easter Pie. But for the rest of us, the entire world of fake whipped cream can literally be turned upside down with a few ingredients and five minutes, resulting in one of the most amazing treats ever from our very generous friend the dairy cow.
In our house, whipped cream usually marks special occasions like birthday treats, peak of the summer fruit tarts, pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, winter nights that call for hot cocoa and cozy pj’s, or when friends come for dinner. Now that I think of it, it kind of feels like we are always looking for a reason to whip up a batch, or maybe we are always looking for a reason to celebrate. Either way, it’s always a sign of good times ahead.
This may seem like a itty bitty recipe to devote an entire post to, but here’s the thing. Learn how to make this once, allowing your mind to compartmentalize the recipe and technique on its own, and you will have this up your sleeve for life. It really is as simple and beautiful as that. So let’s do a pretend cheers (imagine two bubbling glasses of champagne), and I’ll go first–Here’s to you, your table, and may you have many reasons to celebrate with whipped cream in the year ahead.
1 c. heavy cream (cold)
2 T. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
- Put a large stainless steel mixing bowl in the freezer and let it hang out for about a half hour. You can use a glass or ceramic bowl as well, stainless steel just retains the cold temperature better. You want the bowl to be really cold because room temp cream does not aerate.
- Remove the bowl from the freezer and add the cold heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl.
- With a large balloon style whisk, whisk the cream until soft peaks, semi-soft, or stiff peaks form. Choose the level of stiffness you want for whatever you are using it for. When you whisk, make sure you are not just stirring. You want to make sure the whisk is picking up air, incorporating it into the cream.
- I like to take turns between my left hand and right hand to take advantage of this sweet bicep workout. But you could also use a mixer with the whisk attachment and achieve the same results in half the time.
- Soft peaks are awesome for dolloping and stiff peaks are better for using as a filling. If you over whip the cream you will be well on your way to making butter. If this happens, take a look at the grainy, separated cream and don’t fret. You will realize how much whisking it took to get you there, and chances are it will never happen again.
Component in Action
- over pie, cakes, tarts
- over ice cream
- served with fresh berries
- use as a filling in pastries
- over hot cocoa