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I remember being in the store, handing out treats. I don’t remember what they were, but I remember what we had slathered on them.

The people in the store–they didn’t care what the treat was; they wanted to know what was on them. I remember that.

It was a caramel nut whipped cream topping.

It was made like whipped cream, exactly like whipped cream. We used heavy whipped cream with the highest fat content we could find. We whipped it until we had stiff peaks and then whipped it some more.

We put a stabilizer in it, meringue powder, enough that it qualified as whipped cream frosting. So, it wasn’t like ordinary whipped cream that would melt in a couple of hours.

And it was easy to make. Instead of vanilla, we used caramel flavor. (We were on a “caramel is the new vanilla” kick.) We used brown sugar instead of white so it had a warm creamy color, not white.

But what set it off was the mixed salted snacking nuts. We chopped them and folded them into the topping.

It was fabulous! The contrast between the soft folds of whipped cream and the crunch of the nuts was incredible. The salt from the nuts against the sweet caramel added complexity, like sea salt on dark chocolate does.

No wonder that’s all they could talk about.

Eight More Ways to Make Your Desserts Extraordinary

Pineapple Strawberry Cupcakes

It was a Saturday again and we were feeding goodies to people in the store. I had made that whipped cream topping again. This time, instead of caramel, I had added a strawberry pastry filling. The flavor was great, but it needed a bit of strawberry flavor to be where I wanted it to be.

I had a ripe pineapple on the counter, almost too ripe. I took the pineapple and minced it with a chef’s knife like you would if you were chopping celery. Then I put the minced pineapple in paper towels and wrung the juice out. I folded the pineapple into the strawberry frosting.

We were serving cupcakes that day. We swirled big domes of pink strawberry-pineapple frosting onto the cupcakes. Those cupcakes were a real hit in the store. They wanted to know how we got fresh pineapple in our frosting.

Note about the cupcakes: These cupcakes were frosted with a thick fudge frosting and then topped with strawberry whipped cream frosting.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Frosting

You’ve probably never thought of peanut butter whipped cream, but it works. Cream the sugar into the crunchy peanut butter and add it to the whipping cream. We added enough meringue powder for a stabilizer that it was more of a frosting than whipped cream. After whipping, we added more chopped peanuts.

It’s great on brownies. Let your brownies cool and then spread it on about ½-inch thick. Your house will be the favorite place in the neighborhood.

We made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes here by adding cocoa powder to the whipped cream frosting.

Maple Pecan Filling

We made little round cookies. I don’t remember whether they were maple cookies or butter cookies. They were soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, not crunchy. We made a maple nut filling like the caramel nut filling but used maple instead of the caramel flavor. We used chopped pecans and brown sugar and whipped it until it was stiff.

We paired the cookies back-to-back with a teaspoon of maple filling between. As soft as the cookies were, we still had a little filling that squished out on the bite, but no one cared.

Apricot Spread on Warm Pumpkin Nut Bread

I love our pumpkin walnut bread. It’s not a sweet bread. It’s a yeasted bread with a texture like other homemade breads but a little moist from the pumpkin in the mix.

I’ve been tempted to make a ham sandwich with this bread but never have.

This day, we had a loaf of pumpkin walnut bread baking in the test kitchen. I made a cream cheese spread, not a frosting, with softened cream cheese and apricot syrup. I made it with the stand-type mixer with the paddle attachment. As I was beating the cream cheese, I drizzled in the apricot syrup until it was soft and full of flavor.

I took it down to the store that day and served it on warm homemade bread. We sold a lot of bread mixes that afternoon.

Little Banana Bread Fingers with a Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread

I love good banana bread. This was cinnamon chip banana bread from our banana bread mix.

This is a simple spread made with cream cheese, strawberry pastry filling, and a little sugar. You can make it by taste. With a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and then add if the pastry filling. If you don’t have pastry filling, use jam, adding enough jam to get the flavor right. It only takes minutes.

Orange Cloud Whipped Cream or Frosting

This is terrific on strawberry shortcakes. It’s made with orange flavor and orange zest. If you want, add a couple of ounces of softened cream cheese for a cheesecake flavor. But before you add the cream cheese, mix it with granulated sugar so you don’t have any lumps.

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange flavor
  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest

Place all ingredients in the bowl of your stand-type mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Add more flavor to taste if needed.

Note: 1/3 cup meringue powder is what we usually use to make frosting. For whipped cream, use 2 tablespoons.

Chocolate Cloud Whipped Cream or Frosting

With this much dairy, this is milk chocolate–not dark chocolate. Use good quality chocolate.

  1. Cream the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. This is necessary to avoid lumps in the finished product.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and whip until stiff peaks form.

Note: 1/3 cup meringue powder is what we usually use to make frosting.

Chubby Cherry Whipped Cream or Frosting

We carry a cherry topping that is excellent. Of course, we had to try it. It makes a wonderful flavored whipped cream or even frosting.

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar.
  2. Add the meringue powder, one teaspoon of flavor, the cherry filling, and the cream. Whip the cream into stiff peaks.
  3. Add more sugar or flavor to taste and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
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