Published August 1, 2005. From Cook's Country.
We didn't think prepared whipping toppings could beat real whipped cream—but could we find one good enough to keep on hand for emergencies?
Either you grew up eating prepared whipped toppings or you didn’t. That’s what we learned when we held a blind tasting of the three most common brands. Tasters who grew up on these toppings had no trouble picking out their childhood favorite: “The fact that I know this one tells me I eat too much whipped cream.” “I know my childhood favorite when I see (and taste) it!” “It is what it is.” Moreover, if you’re familiar with these whips, tasting them side-by-side is equivalent to comparing apples and oranges: you just can’t do it. That’s why, despite clear preferences among individual tasters, the overall scores for the three toppings were very close.
We held a second tasting and this time included homemade whipped cream, which handily beat the packaged substitutes. In fact, the other contenders in this tasting took such a whipping that many tasters said they would sooner skip whipped cream than swallow a supermarket substitute. For the rest of us, keeping a prepared topping on hand for emergencies (hot fudge sundae—we need whipped cream, stat!) isn’t a bad idea. One brand lasts indefinitely in the cupboard, while the other two will keep for several months in the freezer and refrigerator, respectively.