If you are dairy-free, you might have thought whipped cream was a thing of the past. Surprise!
It turns out that you can whip the heck out of a can of coconut cream and make yourself an extraordinary topping for pie, hot chocolate, or any dessert.
To make coconut whipped cream, you just need a can of coconut and a little planning. The can of coconut milk needs to be chilled for at least 8 hours before making the whipped cream. This helps the dense coconut cream to separate from the thin coconut water and solidify.
You only need the coconut cream to make whipped cream. The coconut water left in the can is great for smoothies or even to use as the liquid in bread recipes. You can poach veggies in it too!
When whipping the cream, start slowly and gradually increase the speed. The cream will start off very crumbly and grainy, but will gradually smooth out and then whip up just like regular whipped cream. Don't try to rush it. Total whipping time can be 1o to 25 minutes, depending on your brand of coconut milk and how well it whips.
I find that the best coconut milk for making whipped cream is full-fat coconut milk that does not contain any guar gum or xanthan gum. Two brands to look for that don't contain any gums are Natural Value and Native Forest Simple Organic.
If you cannot find canned coconut milk without guar gum, it will still work, but it's best to refrigerate the cans a bit longer to be sure the coconut cream separates. Avoid coconut milk sold in tetra packs or cartons since these usually have stabilizers that prevent the coconut cream from separating from the coconut water.
Also, avoid cans labeled "coconut cream." You'd think these would be the perfect shortcut for getting your hands on some coconut cream, but this product is generally sweetened and full of stabilizers, which will prevent the cream from whipping up.
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 to 2 (15-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Maple syrup or powdered sugar, to taste (optional)
Refrigerate the coconut milk overnight:
Chilling helps the coconut milk separate into layers of cream and water. The coconut cream will float to the top and harden.
Open the cans of chilled coconut milk and scoop out the coconut cream:
Do not scoop any of the liquidy coconut water. (The coconut water can be saved for another purpose.)
Begin whipping the coconut cream:
Place the coconut cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low for 5 to 10 minutes or until the big chunks of coconut cream start to break down into small pieces.
Increase speed to medium and continue whipping:
Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. If liquid starts to separate from the coconut cream, drain it off. The coconut cream may look curdled and ugly in the initial stages, but just keep whipping – it will eventually become smooth and creamy.
Once the coconut cream starts to look smooth and uniform, increase the speed to medium high and beat until soft peaks form:
Add vanilla extract and sweetener, if using, and beat until just combined.
Store the coconut whipped cream for up to 2 days in the fridge:
Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.