Last week was a very stressful week, and when I get stressed out, I cook. The concentration required to work in a kitchen, a place with knives, boiling water or oil, fire, and slippery floors, takes my mind off whatever's gone wrong.
I made two pumpkin pies this week with the roasted remains of our jack o' lanterns, and as I took them out of the oven, I realized I needed whipped cream for them.
Most people I know buy Cool Whip for their pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, and I just plain don't get it.
Whipped cream is so easy to make, even without a machine, that I simply don't understand the appeal of Cool Whip. I mean, let's compare the ingredient lists:
Whipped Cream: heavy cream, sugar, pure vanilla extract.
Cool Whip: Water, corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), high fructose corn syrup, sodium caseinate (from milk), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene color.
Let's put this in perspective: Cool Whip is water whipped with non-dairy creamer and not one, but two kinds of corn syrup, a host of preservatives you can't even buy at the pharmacy, and a little shot of yellow-orange color. Whipped cream is cream whipped with sugar and vanilla.
Why on earth would anyone want to eat fake cream? It doesn't taste remotely like whipped cream, it doesn't behave like whipped cream, and it isn't any better for you than whipped cream. There are 25 calories in a 9g "serving"--about three tablespoons--of Cool Whip, and 21 calories in the equivalent mass of whipped cream. The whipped cream has more fat, but the Cool Whip has much more sugar.
This year, say no to the fake cream and top your Thanksgiving pies with real cream. The recipe is below and it takes two minutes--yes, that's right, two whole minutes--to do by hand.
(If you do try it, I recommend Trader Joe's heavy whipping cream, in the plastic jug with the pink lid and the blue label. I don't know why, but it's thicker to start and it tastes much better than the normal brands of cream.)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
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1. Put the cream in a metal or glass bowl (try not to use plastic, and use a bowl that looks larger than necessary).
2. Whip it with a wire whisk until it starts to thicken.
3. Add the sugar and vanilla and whip it until it reaches the consistency you want, anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes if you whip it energetically.
That's it. It takes two minutes, maybe three. All the parts can go in the dishwasher and you can walk around with the bowl while you're whipping and keep up your conversation.
I mean, come on, people. Your guests deserve better.