It’s easy to over-mix whipped cream. When this happens, the fat molecules in the cream stick too closely together, creating lumps and giving the whipped cream a granular texture. Although some cookbooks advise you to discard the over-whipped cream and start again, cream that is only slightly over-whipped can usually be corrected. If the cream has visible large lumps, then it is best to start over with fresh cream and use the over-whipped cream for something else.
Try to Salvage It
If the whipped cream has just started to develop a granular texture and doesn't have obvious large lumps, it is likely that the texture of the whipped cream can be corrected. Place the bowl of whipped cream and the whisk or beaters into the freezer but do not let the cream freeze. After 10 to 15 minutes in the freezer, add some fresh cream to the bowl of over-whipped cream. Incorporate the fresh cream by hand until you reach the desired consistency.
If the whipped cream has started to develop visible lumps, you can continue beating it to make fresh butter. Simply continue mixing the cream until large masses form. Drain the liquid buttermilk from the bowl, saving it if you wish. Rinse the butter solids under cold water or squeeze them in a cheesecloth to remove any remaining buttermilk before collecting them into one large mass. Fresh butter can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. If your cream was sweetened with sugar before being whipped, you can add a drizzle of honey and a pinch of cinnamon to your butter; honey butter is delicious on pancakes and sweet potatoes.
Over-whipped cream can also be used to make chocolate ganache. Gently heat the over-whipped cream. As soon as it starts to boil, pour it over an equal amount of chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. Allow the cream and chocolate to sit for a few minutes before whisking the chocolate sauce to a smooth and glossy consistency. Let the ganache cool slightly before using it to top cakes or ice cream.
Freeze and Reuse
If you don’t have an immediate use for the over-whipped cream, drop large spoonfuls of cream onto a sheet pan lined with waxed paper and freeze it. Once the cream is frozen, transfer the mounds to zip-top plastic bags and return them to the freezer. The frozen mounds of over-whipped cream can be substituted for fresh cream when making rich sauces or creamy soups.