Call me crazy, but when I saw the headlines this morning that we're facing a shortage of whipped cream, I thought aliens had kidnapped all our cows. What's going on? We're running out of cream, but not milk, butter and cheese?
It's not that we're running out of cream. We're short on nitrous oxide, the gas that makes fluffy clouds of cream come out of a can. Apparently, there was an explosion at a plant in Florida that manufactures a lot of our nitrous oxide, and this is totally starting to sound like a Will Ferrell movie, isn't it?
All this is to say that if you happen to find yourself faced with the daunting task of whipping your own dang cream, fear not. The method is actually in the name.
You can whip cream by hand with a whisk or even a fork, I suppose, but it will take a long time and you may need to take breaks. You can also make whipped cream with a stand mixer, of course. Use the whisk attachment.
You can skip the sugar altogether if you want to. The cream will whip fine without it.
Also, and this is important: You will see heavy cream and whipping cream at the supermarket. Heavy cream actually whips better and holds its shape longer than whipping cream. Totally counterintuitive, isn't it? Now you'll always remember.
By the way, Pampered Chef has a nitrous oxide-free whipped cream maker. It looks remarkably like a French press coffee maker. Guess what? You can use a French press to make whipped cream. Just fill about a quarter of the way and pump. It's slow going, though -- plan on around five minutes. You can froth hot milk this way, too.
Once you have mastered the art of whipping cream, young grasshopper, you can experiment with other mix-ins, like peppermint oil (go easy), cinnamon, cocoa powder or even bourbon.
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