Whipped cream is a great way to top off just about any dessert. It is sweet and light, just as good for breaking up the intensity of chocolate cake as it is to bringing some richness to a bowl of strawberries. The white is a good contrast for the colors of many desserts, but when you are looking for a colorful dessert, you might want to dress up your whipped cream, too. Dying a whole batch of whipped cream a bright color can be color overload, but adding a few swirls of color to a batch of white whipped cream can add a color without being overwhelming.
The process of making colorful whipped cream is easy:
Start with a piping bag, red and blue food coloring, and some toothpicks. I like gel food coloring for its vivid colors and thick consistency, but regular food coloring will also work. Fold the top of the pastry bag down until you get close to the tip of the bag (maybe 5 inches or so).
Dip a toothpick into the red food coloring and draw a line on the inside of the bag, from the tip up. The line only needs to be 2-3 inches long, and it is best if you get it close to the tip of the bag. Dip another toothpick into the blue food coloring and draw a second line close to the red line. Repeat the two lines on the opposite side of the bag.
Fill the bag with whipped cream (homemade Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream, of course), cut off the corner and pipe it onto the dessert of your choice. The food coloring will dye the whipped cream as it comes out.
To create a swirled effect, simply turn the bag or rotate your dessert as you pipe the whipped cream into place.
For other holidays, you can use the same technique with a variety of colors. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a large ziploc bag. You might end up with less evenly spaced swirls, since it is a little harder to judge how the whipped cream will fill the bag than it is with a piping bag, but the results will still be eye catching and fun.