What is cream?

socksDecember 21, 2012

I'd like to follow a recipe from Cooks Illustrated for "Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes." It calls for "heavy cream." Would that be half and half in the store? Not sure what to buy.


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No, half-and-half is the opposite, it's light. Heavy cream is whipping cream.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:14AM
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You'll cream near the milk, probably. It comes in 1/2 pint, pint and quart sized containers. You can use either heavy or whipping cream--whichever your store carries.

Heavy cream will have between 35-40+% butterfat.

Light cream has less butterfat,

And half and half will be even less

As far as making mashed potatoes go, you can use milk or one of the creams, but for making ahead, the higher fat content may be important for them holding well. Personally, I'd use milk to avoid adding so many extra calories, but with this being a first-time recipe for the holidays, it's probably best to follow it to the letter to make sure it works as you wish.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:49AM
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Yes, Azzalea, I would normally use whole milk, but I think I need to follow the recipe. I thought whipping cream would have sugar but I guess not.

I'm off to the store, so thanks Azzalea and Sushipup.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Half and half is, as the name suggests, half cream and half milk.
Whipping cream is called that because it has enough butterfat content to make it suitable for whipping. If you want it sweet, you have to add the sugar.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:37PM
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Often the verbage can be confusing. Whipped cream, is cream whipped and normally will have sugar added to it while whipping the whipping cream.

Then to throw another monkey wrench in, the Brits have "double cream" which some say is the same as whipping cream and some say is higher fat yet!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 10:15PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I respect a good recipe but would never consider mashed potatoes worthy of adding that many extra calories which could be saved for dessert while the potatoes taste perfectly delicious with just milk. If you would like to get opinions about altering the recipe to a more sane calorie level, I'm sure folks here would help you fix something equally delicious and not unnecessarily calorie filled or expensive.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:58PM
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If I recall, English double cream is 48% BF, while whipping cream where I live is 35-36%. The Brits also have a triple cream which is well over 50%. Then there is Devon cream - the stuff in which you can bend a spoon.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:18PM
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I could be remembering wrong, but I think I've seen cartons of cream labeled heavy whipping cream. I guess I always assumed (and we all know what that means) that whipping cream and heavy cream were synonymous.

I'll frequently tell myself to follow the recipe exactly the first time I make it, but so many times I disobey myself, and tweak it. I can't help it. I want to be good, but it's so hard. lol


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Socks - you don't have to worry about following the recipe to the letter. If you can't find cream, you can use butter. NOT margarine! If you don't have butter, you can take your heavy cream and whip it until it's whipped cream and then keep on whipping it and low and behold, some liquid will separate and you'll have little globs of fat.

That's butter. The liquid is buttermilk. People today think buttermilk is a cultured product similar to yogurt, but it's really the liquid left when you take the butter out of the cream. In recipes like mashed potatoes, heavy cream and butter are pretty much interchangeable - it really doesn't matter if you put in a little more or less and you can't really predict the outcome unless you know how dry the potatoes are, so add a little warm milk and use butter and it will be very much the same as if you'd used heavy cream.

And they will keep very nicely either way. I've done it many times, both ways.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 4:47PM
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