This whipped cream is just delicious. But better still, 1 cup only contains 15 calories and has 22% of the daily value for calcium!
How is this possible?
The secret is using unsweetened almond milk with a little gum stabilizer and a siphon. No, not the kind of siphon that you use to get gas out of a car or water out of a fish tank. This is a special siphon that was invented especially for chefs!
Siphons are also known as whipped cream whippers. Usually you add heavy cream to them and then insert a charge of nitrous oxide (N2O). The whipper makes whipped cream as needed and you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 10 days (according to ISI, a whipper manufacturer). The whippers cost anywhere from $30 to $100 but heavy cream is a lot cheaper by the ounce as compared to whipped cream in a pressurized can ($0.13 per ounce versus $0.46 per ounce). So really it can pay for itself after a few months if you are a whipped cream aficionado. Plus, a whipper is a fun family kitchen tool.
Chefs love whippers too. They use them to make all sorts of foams, hot or cold, sweet or savory.* You can use the whipped cream canister to make a lot more than just whipped cream. The secret is to combine a liquid with a stabilizer like xanthan gum.
This discovery comes from a hot trend in cooking called "molecular gastronomy." Molecular gastronomy was started at El Bulli, a restaurant in Spain. The chefs there started playing with the concept back in the 1990s, and though the restaurant is no longer serving meals, the chef-owner Ferran Adria has plans to turn it into a research kitchen and school. His cookbooks go for hundreds of dollars on Amazon.com. Barcelona is definitely on our culinary tour wish list because his brother is launching restaurants by the score.
That said, you don't need to go to Spain or spend hundreds of dollars on cookbooks in order to make this delicious whipped cream. You don't even need to leave home. Just a few clicks on Amazon.com can get you all the tools you need We recommend getting a whipper and some N2O, at the very least.
The whipper is very versatile. You can use whipped cream all by itself. Or you can use any liquid, like fruit juice or almond milk, with a gum stabilizer. The most popular gum to use is xanthan gum.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide secreted by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. It's available in the baking section of most grocery stores as well as on Amazon.com and through the Bob's Red Mill site. You only need 0.5 to 1% of gum to thicken solutions and xanthan gum contains about 7 grams of fiber per tablespoon. It has become more readily available for consumers thanks to the gluten-free trend. We also like to use xanthan gum to thicken fruit purees without having to heat the puree.
1% is 1 gram of xanthan gum per 100 grams of liquid.
We have found that this comes out to roughly 1/4 of a teaspoon of xanthan gum. The greatest challenge is usually finding a scale that will be that accurate with such a small amount.
Now here is the moment you've been waiting for -- the recipe for skinny skinny whipped cream!
Skinny Skinny Whipped Cream:
- 1 ISI pint-sized siphon
- 2 N2O cartridges
- 1.5 cups of almond milk (Enough to fill to the "maximum fill" line on the 1 pint canister)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4-1/2 tsp xantham gum
- Place the almond milk, vanilla extract, and gum in a bowl and mix well with a whip.
- Add the milk to the siphon. Allow to stand for a minute.
- Charge the siphon with 2 N2O cartridges.
- Turn the canister upside down and spray what you'd like into a bowl. It is common for a little liquid to come out first before the consistency is more like whipped cream
- Serve the whipped cream with fresh fruit. We especially like it with berries, as pictured below.
- For a touch more sweetness, add 1/2 tsp sugar to the siphon.
- Store the extra milk in the whipper in the refrigerator for later use. It keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- We used almond milk that is unsweetened. It only contains 30 calories per cup. Since the whipped cream doubles in volume when whipped, 2 cups of it only contain 30 calories. The nutrition information will vary depending on which almond milk you choose and how much sugar you add.
The skinny whipped cream is great on coffee too:
The ISI siphon is available on Amazon.com, as are N2O cartridges. You can also make real whipped cream in the siphon -- this will not require the xanthan gum. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and recipes.
Want to see a video? Here is what it looks like - taken with an iphone in the kitchen.
By Judy Doherty, PC II and Founder of Food and Health Communications
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* Note that if you are using hot foams, you will need the professional version of the siphon.