Whipped cream is the perfect topping to many desserts because it is sweet, creamy and has a luxurious texture. Whisked into perfectly stiff peaks, heavy whipping cream and sugar should thicken into a decadent topping that can hold its shape, but if for some reason your whipped cream has lost its air and deflated or it simply will not form more than a frothy soup, there are a few kitchen hacks for thickening up dairy or vegan whipped cream.
Whipping cream is easier done by hand mixer or stand mixer rather than by hand because it is much faster and will whisk more air into your heavy whipping cream.
How to Thicken Dairy Whipped Cream
When making dairy whipped cream, the colder your ingredients are, the faster the heavy whipping cream will turn into whipped cream. You can even chill the beaters and the mixing bowl in the freezer for about five minutes. This is why keeping all ingredients and tools cold is important for getting the whipped cream to form quickly. Keeping everything cold increases the volume of your whipped cream, too. Try not to beat the whipped cream too long because over-beating can cause it to curdle and fall apart. Also avoid adding too much sugar to the whipped cream; too much sweetener can prevent the whipped cream from properly thickening.
Some cooks prefer to add unflavored gelatin to their whipped cream as a stabilizer, especially in hot weather. If choosing this method, make sure the gelatin has completely cooled as hot gelatin will cause the whipped cream to melt and create liquid whipped cream. To fix whipped cream that is runny, try whisking it again with a half teaspoon of cream of tartar or with cooled unflavored gelatin to help stabilize the delicate topping, especially in hot weather.
When Coconut Whipped Cream Is Not Thickening
Making whipped cream with coconut milk is undoubtedly tricky. To start, you must use full-fat coconut milk or cream for this nondairy alternative to work. Even at its best, coconut whipped cream will never be as firm as traditional dairy whipped cream.
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Just like dairy whipped cream, coconut whipped cream must be cold to properly whisk up into a thickened topping. Chill the coconut milk or cream in the fridge overnight rather than in the freezer for best results. For the thickest coconut whipped cream possible, use only the hardened coconut milk or cream at the top of the can after it is chilled, leaving any liquids behind in the can. Do not discard the liquid, however, as it can be used in other recipes.
Add Powdered Sugar
Use a flour sifter to add powdered sugar instead of white sugar. Sifted powdered sugar is lighter than liquid sweeteners and granulated white sugar, so it will help keep the coconut whipped cream light and airy once it is whipped. Don't forget to also use a chilled mixing bowl and beaters. With these tips, you should see soft peaks form when whisking together coconut whipped cream. To re-thicken liquid coconut whipped cream, try sifting in powdered sugar to help thicken the mixture.
Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.