Choose Powdered Sugar For Fluffier, More Stable Whipped Cream

What's an add-on that easily takes treats such as hot chocolate, ice cream, and bread pudding from delicious to over-the-top good? Why, it's whipped cream, of course. This simple but oh-so-dreamy fluff of heavy cream whipped with sugar and occasionally a flavoring such as vanilla extract is beloved around the world and the topping is not just for desserts in America, but also in France where whipped cream is known as chantilly. In Italy, it's also used to fill the sweet brioche buns called maritozzi, and in many more places.

Happily, whipped cream is extremely easy to make, so bringing that extra pizzazz to your favorite desserts isn't challenging at all. However, it's not the most durable of treats. All of us, at some point, have tucked some into the fridge to use at a later point, returning to find a bowl of, well, cream that's no longer whipped. Since whipped cream gains its height from air bubbles that are beaten into the cream, it makes sense that those air bubbles would eventually deflate — and, along with them, the fluffiness of the cream. Looking for a longer-lasting whipped cream? That's where powdered sugar comes in.

Swap granulated sugar for powdered for more durable whipped cream

Since whipped cream is so easy to make at home, it's likely that we've all thrown some together at the last minute to top an improvised dessert. In these cases, we reach for any kind of sugar we have on hand. Both granulated and powdered sugar work for whipped cream. Even though the former's crystals are substantially larger, they'll eventually dissolve in the cream and sweeten it right up. But whipped cream made with granulated sugar doesn't last long, generally deflating within two to three hours.

For whipped cream that will stay fluffy for about 12 hours in the fridge, make sure to reach for powdered sugar. Because its sugar crystals are smaller, they won't weigh down the cream as much, keeping it perky, and the sugar also contains a small amount of cornstarch to keep it from clumping. The cornstarch acts as a stabilizer, helping the whipped cream stay thicker for longer.

What to do if you don't have powdered sugar on hand

Hoping to whip up a long-lasting whipped cream, but finding your pantry sans powdered sugar? Have no fear — it's super-easy to make powdered sugar at home. As you can probably imagine, powdered sugar is simply granulated sugar that's been ground up even more finely, and you can do this at home in a food processor, high-speed blender, or even an electric coffee grinder. You'll want to mix in cornstarch, too, due to its stabilizing properties mentioned above.

Just use one tablespoon of cornstarch to every cup of granulated sugar (you might have to work in batches if using a coffee grinder), add the mix to your appliance of choice, and grind away until you've got powdered sugar. That's it! While perhaps not the most practical hack of all time, it certainly comes in handy when you only need a small amount of powdered sugar — either for whipped cream for your morning mug of hot cocoa or for dusting over cookies or brownies at an impromptu dinner party.