In the Kitchen With Laura, both the program and the blog post series, continue to be very popular. I really enjoy them too, so watch for more.
The holiday season is often a time for special holiday foods and homemade desserts even if they are rarely seen in your kitchen any other time of year. If you’re not used to cooking one way to make your cooking special is not to reach for commercial whipped topping (aka Cool Whip), but to make your own whipped cream. It’s very simple to make and is delicious. Some people who’ve only have had Cool Whip might only notice the difference from Cool Whip, but if you’ll give it a chance you’ll find it’s much better.
To make it you need some of the Laura Ingalls Wilder cooks’s best friend, heavy whipping cream. Heavy whipping cream is also the best thing to use for making butter. The fresher it is the better, so buy some just for this and check the expiration dates (grocery stores normally rotate product so grab from the back but still check the dates).
Normally I use our mixer, but you can also use an egg beater. Cold is your friend in getting the cream to whip properly so my grandmother always recommended whipping it in a metal bowl that you’ve chilled. In the winter setting it outside for awhile is just the ticket.
I’ve given the measurements for a reasonable amount of whipped cream that can be consumed in a couple of days. It will only hold the whipped form for that long when refrigerated so don’t make too much. If you have a large party coming you might want to make more, but see how much this makes first.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons of sugar (to taste)
- Put the one cup of heavy whipping cream into the pre-chilled bowl.
- Stir using either a mixer or egg beater. If you have a whip attachment for your mixer, use it.
- Watch the cream carefully. You want it to be thick enough that when you stop mixing you can still see the tracks that the whip or beater made. Be careful though because if you over beat it, the cream will turn into butter. Check regularly. Leave it a little underwhipped if you are unsure because you still have to mix in the other ingredients evenly throughout the mixture after it reaches the right consistency.
- After the cream is thick add 1 capful of Watkins vanilla or 1 teaspoon of any other vanilla and stir.
- Add the sugar a Tablespoon at a time. Mix and taste between adding more sugar. I like 3 Tablespoons, but you may find you want it more or less sweet. Don’t dip the same spoon back into whipped cream once you’ve tasted off of it.
- Transfer the whipped cream to another bowl either for serving or to a bowl with a lid to keep in refrigerator. Feel free to lick any bowl or mixer that you aren’t going to put back in the whipped cream you’re going to serve other people. (No eggs so licking is allowed.)
You can use genuine whipped cream anywhere you would normally use whipped topping. Puddings, cookies, pies, puddings, or, if you are truly lucky, steam pudding are always good choices to use your whipped cream. Keep in the unused portion in the refrigerator. You can expect it to last 2-3 days. Don’t make it too far ahead.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.