Whipped cream is the crowning jewel of many desserts and treats. Its flavor is so pure and simple yet it adds elegance to fruit, and takes dark chocolate to new heights in richness. Though easy to make, there are still a few tips for making perfect whipped cream:
1. Use heavy whipping cream for the purest, creamiest flavor, and do not buy ultra-pasteurized cream. Try to find a brand that has cream as the only ingredient.
2. The whipping cream must be very cold in order to whip properly. So be sure it’s not right from the grocer before you start. Chill it for awhile and place your bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for a few minutes as well. (It’s even better if you place the bowl you’ll be whipping the cream in inside a larger bowl of ice. But that’s one extra step you may not have time for.)
3. Whipping cream can be whipped up to a soft and flowing consistency or until soft peaks form. But super stiff whipped cream starts to turn to butter and tastes a little grainy so be careful.
4. Whipped cream can be heavenly when unsweetened, but most often it’s flavored with sugar and/or vanilla. Granulated sugar is more often preferred than confectioners’ sugar. The anti-caking agent in the powdered sugar leaves a “slippery” texture. The amount of sugar you add is totally up to you. Even if you don’t want your whipped cream sweetened, a little vanilla or other flavoring or even liqueur is divine. Cook’s note: One of my favorite baking Divas, Maida Heatter swears by adding the sugar and vanilla at the beginning to ensure the sugar dissolves properly. But you will see in the comments that a follower questioned this practice so I just tested adding sugar mid-whip. I will admit the peaks were a bit more stiff doing it this way. So, try this: Whip the cream until it’s thick with floppy peaks. Add the sugar and vanilla here and then continue to beat until you reach the stiffness you want.
5. Use electric beaters for ease. You may use a hand whisk if you have a very large balloon-type wire whisk.
6. Try to prepare your whipped cream as close to serving as possible. If you need to, store in refrigerator for a few minutes up to an hour. I have stored leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a day after serving with “okay” results.
From Good Dinner Mom and Maider Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts.