Making your own coconut whip is an easy process and can add a nice touch to many desserts, fruits, smoothies, and more. However, there are some things you want to keep in mind before you attempt this if you have never tried it before.
The most important thing to know is that not all brands of coconut milk are created equal. What I mean by that is the result can vary widely amongst some of the most popular brands. Native Forest has been my go-to brand for all of my cooking and baking needs. I like the fact that it is organic and comes in a BPA free can. With that said, I wish I could easily tell you to run out and buy a can of Native Forest and you will end up with some light and fluffy whip. Sadly, that just doesn't seem to be the case. And after hearing other people voice the same concerns, I decided to do my own comparison of 3 different brands to see which one would yield the best results.
The three brands I am using are Native Forest, Thai Kitchen, and Whole Foods Organic 365 Everyday Value Coconut Milk (full fat). With all 3 brands, I placed the canned coconut milk in the refrigerator the day before. The reason for this is to allow the cream to rise to the top of the can and the coconut water will separate and remain on the bottom. The next day, when you open your can, you will remove the cream from the top and only use the cream to make the whip. You can set the coconut water left at the bottom aside and use it in smoothies. Then, your next step will be to use a hand mixer to whip the coconut cream and hopefully ending up with some beautiful coconut whip. A little raw, local honey and some vanilla extract are added in for flavor. So now that you understand the process in a nutshell, here is how my experiment went.
Starting with Native Forest, I opened the can upside down to make separating the cream from the water a little easier. When you open it at the bottom, you can simply pour out the water into another container if you are saving it, and you will be left with the cream, making it easy to scoop out. So I scooped out the cream...so far so good. Then proceeded to whip with my hand mixer. Unfortunately, I was unable to create a smooth, silky texture. It was more grainy in texture no matter how much or long I whipped.
That was very disappointing of course. But I just put the cream and the coconut water back into a mason jar and stored it in the refrigerator for some other cooking needs. So at least it wasn't a total waste.
Next up was Whole Foods brand. As soon as I opened the Whole Foods can, I knew there was a problem. The cream at the top was not hard as it should have been being that it was refrigerated. I scooped (poured) it out anyway to see what would happen. I noticed towards the bottom of the can the liquid became clearer, as if it were the coconut water on the bottom. So I did not include that in the bowl.
I whipped it with the mixer and I was actually surprised that it did whip up a bit. It definitely had a thinner consistency though and was really not ideal for a topping as it would probably just run down the sides of whatever it was you were putting it on. So strike two there.
Lastly, I am trying Thai Kitchen and crossing my fingers. Upon opening the can, I am relieved to see that the cream did in fact harden and was at the top of the can as hoped. I carefully scooped out the cream and placed it in my mixing bowl.
Next, I whipped it with my hand mixer and was delighted to see a nice fluffy whip was forming. After I had achieved a good whip, I added the honey and vanilla. I whipped it up a little more and success was achieved!
So, a few things to consider when making coconut whipped cream. Thai Kitchen doesn't use BPA free cans. That is a bummer for sure. Neither does Whole Foods brand but that doesn't make good whip anyway. Guar gum is also used in canned coconut milk. There is no evidence that guar gum is harmful to you, however, it can create some digestive issues for some people with sensitivities. So if either of these issues are of concern to you, I would recommend you try my Sweet Cashew Cream recipe instead. It does not have the light and fluffy texture as the whip, but it is delicious and makes a great cream topping!
1 can Thai Kitchen (my recommendation) full fat organic coconut milk
1 Tbs raw, local honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Refrigerate can overnight. When ready to make the whipped cream, open the can and carefully remove the solid cream from the top and place it in a mixing bowl.
2. Reserve the coconut water left in the can for later use if desired.
3. Using your hand mixer, mix the cream on high speed until you reach a light and fluffy consistency. Add the honey and vanilla in and mix a few seconds more so it is all incorporated.
4. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It will harden a little so you just need to whip it up again when ready to use.