Angela flips the can before opening it so that the solid coconut cream is on the bottom, and you can easily pour out the translucent liquid. Since not all cans are easy to open from the bottom, I've just put the cans upside down in the fridge and then opened them right side up. Even if you forget to do this, you can still pretty easily scoop the solid stuff out of the top of the can, leaving the liquid at the bottom. I usually save the liquid to make smoothies out of.
Now put all that nice, solid coconut cream into a large bowl and beat it with a hand mixer. It helps if you've chilled the bowl and the beaters in the fridge or freezer beforehand, but I've done it without chilling them first and it still worked out okay. I like to start off with the regular beater attachments and then if it's not getting fluffy enough, I'll switch to the whisk attachment.
After it's nice and fluffy, go ahead and add some sweetener (I used a tablespoon of sugar ground fine with some cardamon seeds) and vanilla extract if you like.
And that's it! I use this on my magical pumpkin spice lattes, on ice cream sundaes, and anywhere else you'd normally use whipped cream. You can store it in the fridge for up to 10 days in a sealed container, and if it gets too hard, you can always whip it again.
Now sometimes I open a can of coconut milk and find that the cream didn't rise to the top and harden. Instead, I get a homogenous, opaque white liquid. You can try pouring it into a sealed container and chilling it some more to see if it'll separate, or you can make coconut dulce de leche!
Coconut Dulce de Leche (adapted from Bon Appétit)
makes 1 1/4 cups
1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk coconut milk, sugar, and coarse salt in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to medium-high and boil until mixture is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Transfer sauce to small jars. Cool completely, then cover sauce and chill.
The coconut dulce de leche kind of reminds me of kaya (coconut jam) from Southeast Asia. I've been stirring it into my (unsweetened) magical coffee in the morning and topping it off with coconut whipped cream.