Cream whips best when it is cold. Keep your cream as cold as possible, and use a chilled bowl (refrigerate for at least 15 minutes; metal bowls get colder than glass). It helps to chill your whisk or beaters as well—warm metal will transfer its heat to the cream.
If it's warm in your kitchen, you may want to keep the bowl in a larger bowl of ice-water during and after the whipping process—or (in winter) work in front of an open window!
Cream splatters—especially when using an electric mixer. To reduce splatter, start out slow, and gradually increase speed. As the cream thickens, its tendency to splatter is reduced.
Some cooks prefer to use powdered sugar, because the finer texture dissolves in the cream more readily than regular (granulated) sugar. However, either will work, as will Sucanat and other sweeteners. (Think maple syrup!)
Adding sugar too early in the whipping process will reduce the volume of whipped cream. For maximum whip, wait to add sweetener, vanilla, and any spices until after the texture starts to thicken and soft peaks form). Add them slowly, from the side of the bowl.
Whip it Good—but Don't Overdo
Whipped cream is ready when the cream forms stiff peaks. The process takes several minutes working with a whisk (depending on cream temperature and your technique), but be careful if using an electric stand mixer because it works quick. Over-whipped cream will separate and turn to butter—delicious on toast, but not a topping for your pie! (Note, if you catch the cream when it's just starting to curdle, you may be able to salvage it by adding more cream and whisking by hand.)
If possible, whip the cream immediately before use. If not (or if you have leftovers) you can cover and refrigerate whipped cream for up to 24 hours. If cream separates during storage, simply beat or whisk until cream has incorporated again. You can also revive "tired" whipped cream that has been sitting out by putting it in the freezer for 1/2 hour or so (or twice as long in the fridge). Then remove, rewhip, enjoy.
Organic Whipped Cream Recipe
1 pint Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp sugar
For Spiced Whipped Cream—add 3/4 tsp cinnamon
For Maple Whipped Cream–substitute 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup for sugar