The Unexpected Ingredient You Should Be Adding To Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is the kind of dessert topping that you loved as a kid and still crave as an adult. It's more than a decorative garnish: Whipped cream adds just the right finishing touch to so many of our favorite sweet treats and beverages. A dollop in your hot chocolate after playing out in the snow, a spoonful to top off your favorite pie, or a quick spray from a can of Reddi-wip to make happy faces on your kids' pancakes — these all make whipped cream one of the ultimate weapons in your refrigerator when you want something special.

According to Food & Wine, whipped cream dates back to the 16th century and used to be called "milk snow." The simplicity of this creamy topping can be traced to the minimal ingredients needed to make it. Per Allrecipes, all you need to make whipped cream are heavy cream, a little sugar, a splash of vanilla, and an electric mixer (or a whisk and arms like Linda Hamilton from "Terminator 2"). But if you really want to add a new level of elegance to your whipped topping, along with a subtle but pleasing flavor, there is an unexpected ingredient you can use to do just that. The best news of all: You might already have a bottle of it in your home bar.  

Add a few drops of bitters to your whipped cream

According to Lifehacker, if you want to make your whipped cream the talk of the party, you can add some cocktail bitters to it. Bitters are liquor-based flavorings infused with aromatics such as spices and fruits — so adding a dash to your whipped cream is similar to using some vanilla extract for a subtle background flavor. A small amount of bitters won't overwhelm the overall taste of your cream, but it will give a more sophisticated feel to the end product.

As for what kind of bitters to use, Lifehacker suggests classic Angostura or orange bitters. Bon Appétit recommends trying those made with cardamom and cinnamon, which would be especially nice for desserts in the fall. Feel free to experiment. Just remember to use only a few drops; bitters are highly concentrated in flavor, so too much could negatively affect the taste, texture, and color of an otherwise perfectly fluffy whipped cream.