Ready-made dessert toppings are convenient, but they don't compare to the flavor of real whipped cream. Plus, kids love watching the cream transform from liquid into billowy peaks. For best results, use chilled cream and a chilled metal bowl. (And if it's hot out, stand in front of the air-conditioner while you whip the cream!)
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
1. Whip the cream on high with a hand- or stand mixer. After the cream has begun to thicken and is almost at the desired consistency, add the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until the cream holds droopy, soft peaks.
2. Whipped cream doesn't hold its shape for more than about 24 hours, and is best used immediately. To make far ahead of time, drop dollops of whipped cream onto a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper, and freeze. Store in a Zip-Lockô bag.
Makes 2 cups of whipped cream.