You want whipped cream that is foamy, airy, and delightful with gorgeous waves?
Here are some tips:
Make sure that your heavy cream is really cold.
Use a bowl and beaters that are clean and dry. Same goes if you choose to use an electric mixer, or if you beat the cream by hand with a whisk. It is a plus if you can chill them for a half hour before beating the cream. But don’t sweat it if you couldn’t spare the time!
It also helps to wrap a kitchen towel around the base of the bowl to keep it from moving around, if you are using beaters or whisking by hand.
The crucial thing, as you beat the cream, is to be on the lookout as the cream transforms.
First, from liquid cream to soft peaks, barely a mark on the cream and it holds peaks just for a second…
Then to medium peaks, when the cream starts to look wavy, and the waves can hold peaks for more time and don’t fall to either side of the wave. It is glossy and malleable at this point…
Right then, you may want to beat a bit more until you get stiff peaks: the waves can stay put as you lift the beater. Then you have to stop. If you continue beating, the cream will turn grainy and in a few seconds more will have been churned into butter.
If you want to add flavorings…such as sugar, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lime or lemon juice or zest, or some kind of alcohol, to name a few…incorporate them either right before you start whipping the cream, or after you beat it just a little and you achieve soft peaks. That way the flavorings have the opportunity to really blend with the cream.