Definition: Half and half is a dairy product consisting of equal parts light cream and milk.
With a fat content of between 10.5 percent and 12 percent, half and half falls between light cream, which contains anywhere from 16 percent to 29 percent butterfat, and whole milk, which has about 3.5 percent butterfat.
Half and half is the equivalent of what's known as "half cream" in the U.K.
Half and half can be used in cooking, but keep in mind that it has a much lower fat content than heavy cream. Thus, it won't hold its peaks when whipped, and it won't provide the same thickening to a sauce.
Most recipes in the culinary arts that call for cream generally call for heavy cream, because its higher fat content makes it more stable in sauces, and doesn't tend to form a skin on top when heated. Heavy cream will also hold firm peaks when whipped.
Still, some recipes will specifically call for half and half, in which case using something else might not give you the results you want. To make your own half and half from other dairy products, the simplest scenario would be to mix together equal parts light cream and milk.
Unfortunately, light cream (16 to 29 percent fat) isn't commonly available in the U.S. So you'd have to blend whole milk with either heavy whipping cream (36 to 40 percent butterfat) or light whipping cream (30 to 35 percent butterfat).
If you have access to both heavy whipping cream and milk, you can make half and half by combining four parts whole milk with one part heavy cream. If you only have light whipping cream, use three parts whole milk and one part light whipping cream.
One cup of half and half has approximately 315 calories, mainly from fat. One fluid ounce (30 ml) of half and half represents around 39 calories.
Also Known As: Half cream (UK)
Also see: Evaporated Milk