My first attempt failure
I’ve seen vegan whipped cream all over Pinterest and the healthy food blogosphere for ages now – it’s not particularly ground-breaking. But all of the recipes I found have sugar or sugar-containing ingredients. No thank you, said me. As per standard protocol, once several months ago I did try whipping up the coconut cream from a can and planned to add some stevia to sweeten. The cream never whipped, so I abandoned the effort.
I’m not a quitter, but to be entirely honest, I’ve never been a massive fan of whipped cream anyway, so frankly I just wasn’t all that bothered. Call me crazy, but it never did much for me. So when I didn’t make it work, I wasn’t particularly devastated nor motivated to revisit the effort immediately. I just thought it would be a nice topping for a raw vegan key lime or mocha mousse or a raw vegan chocolate hazelnut pie. But no harm done to just go without.
Berries and cream
But berries and a nice coconut cream most definitely appealed as the weather warmed, and a cute little red-white-and-blue treat seemed appropriate for the 4th of July. And celebrating food freedom (from sugar and processed crap) seemed particularly suitable! So I picked my can of coconut milk off the shelf, put it in the fridge, and vowed to get it right.
My original failure had me believe that it was not cold enough. Or too cold. Or maybe I whipped it too much, or not enough. Honestly, I had no clue. So this time I read several different recipes, searching for little tricks here and there (which, to be fair, I had done before. But maybe I’d missed something the first time…?). I chilled the bowl. Made sure the milk was in the fridge overnight. Check, check. I learned that different brands of coconut come at different consistencies, so that can definitely be a factor (eg.. maybe my failure wasn’t my fault…!?). I knew I shouldn’t get any of the liquid underneath the cream, cuz that would make it too runny. But I also knew the lack of volume from skipping the sugar might be a factor.
So I got whipping. And sure enough, it was too runny. Not a firm, creamy, peaky consistency at all. Just a very thick liquid. I added the vanilla and the monk fruit anyway, cuz what the heck it would at least still taste good. But I also started brainstorming: what non-sugary, non-floury, gluten-free substance could I add that would help it thicken? Corn starch wouldn’t do, because I don’t do corn or any of its products (hello GMO and everything that’s wrong with agriculture and the food industry in our country).
Makin it happen
And then I remembered: I had arrowroot starch in the freezer. Pure white, gluten-free, and very fine. So I added a teaspoon, upped it to a tablespoon, then added another. It still wasn’t very thick, but it tasted fine, and the flavor was more balanced, less overpowering. I took my photos, then stuck it in the fridge for later consumption. Yummy it certainly was, but still not so thick.
A few hours later I took it out and lo and behold, it had thickened into an undeniable cream – success! So that’s the trick: mix it up and then cool to set, and you’ve got a vegan, 100% sugar-free sweet and tasty cream!
Vegan whipped cream: dairy-free, sugar-free recipe
What you need:
- 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (or at least several hours, until the cream has set on top)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1-2 tsp monk fruit (start with one and taste test)
- 2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- 2 tbsp arrowroot starch/flour
How to make it:
- Chill the mixing bowl for 10 minutes (just do it to be safe).
- Remove the can of coconut milk from the fridge and scoop out just the cream from the top into the chilled bowl.
- On medium speed whip the cream – depending on your brand of coconut milk, it may whip up on its own.
- Add the vanilla, monk fruit, and lemon juice. If it’s thick enough, serve immediately.
- If it needs to thicken, add the arrowroot and mix in thoroughly.
- Scoop the mixture into a bowl, cover, and let it set in fridge for a few hours, up to overnight.
- Serve chilled. Will keep in the fridge for several days.