Start with a chilled can of coconut milk, that has been stored in the fridge overnight. (You can also freeze it for 30 to 60 minutes to speed the process.) When you remove the chilled can, be careful not to shake it. You want the cream that floats to the top to stay separated from the liquid portion at the bottom.
Carefully open the can of coconut milk and scoop the thickened cream into a large bowl. The amount of cream may vary in each can, but you should get roughly 1 cup (give or take) of coconut cream per 15 oz. can. Reserve the remaining liquid in the bottom of the can for a morning smoothie.
Add the pure maple syrup and vanilla extract to the coconut cream in the bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat everything together until smooth. This should take 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and add more sweetener, if needed.
Serve the coconut whipped cream right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. The cream will thicken up even more when chilled, but you can whip it again to help it fluff up, or just let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes, and stir well. For a "piped" look, scoop the cream into a piping bag with a frosting tip, and squeeze it onto your favorite desserts. (See brand recommendations in this post to see which brand of coconut milk works best for this.)
Nutrition information is for roughly 2 tablespoons of coconut whipped cream, made with only 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. This information is just an estimate, and not a guarantee.I also tested this recipe with organic powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup will work as an alternative to the maple syrup. I assume honey would also work, if you don't need this recipe to be vegan.