You Should Be Infusing Your Whipped Cream. Here's How

It's hard to imagine that something as soft, sweet, and sinfully satisfying as whipped cream could be made even better, but, if there's one thing our kitchen experiments have taught us: where there's a will, there's a way. We think you just might have the will, so let's take that whipped cream up to 11, shall we?

According to Food 52, to infuse something, you just need to steep or soak a flavorful ingredient into it, and, as it turns out, cream can be the perfect host of such an ingredient. There's an endless list of ingredients that can be infused into cream: "fresh or dried herbs, spices, coffee, tea, citrus zest, rose petals, toasted nuts, and seeds." If you chill the cream, you can whip it (whip it good) into an inspired dessert topping or impressive filling. Of course, there's a little more to it than just pouring in another ingredient, whipping it, and hoping for the best.

The hot or cold game: two ways to infuse whipped cream

What fun would it be if there was just one simple solution for everything? In whipped cream, some ingredients work better when they are infused hot, and some deliver better results infused cold. Food 52 recommends cold infusing fresh mint, tarragon, lemon verbena, teas, dried lavender, coffee beans...the list goes on and on. To prepare the infused whipped cream, flavor ingredients should be chopped with a sharp knife, stirred with cold cream, covered, and refrigerated for 8 to 12 hours. When you're ready to use, remove the mixture from the refrigerator and strain. Pile some loving spoonfuls onto fresh fruit or pie. Rockstar status achieved.

Ingredients like toasted coconut, toasted nuts or sesame seeds, cinnamon sticks, and even dried chilis, are a good fit for a hotter approach. For this method, combine the flavor ingredient with the cream and heat the combination until the cream is scalded. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and steep for 5 to 30 minutes or more depending on the ingredient. You may have to use a little trial and error here: tea shouldn't be steeped longer than five minutes, but roasted cocoa nibs can steep for 20 minutes before releasing bitter notes. Strain the ingredients, add additional cream if necessary, and pile the hot, sticky sweet mixture onto your pie, tart, or flan of choice (via Food 52).

Need some dessert inspo to get started? Martha Stewart suggests making whipped cream infused with warm spices for apple tart, pairing orange peel-infused whipped cream with pumpkin desserts, and topping pecan pie with robust, coffee-infused whipped cream. Or maybe just fire up an episode of The Great British Baking Show and you should have some ideas in no time.