Place a medium-large sized mixing bowl and the beaters into a freezer for about 15 minutes.
Dissolve the gelatin in a small bowl with the water. Allow to sit a few minutes until thickened. Then microwave about 10 seconds until it turns back to liquid.
Pour the cream, sugar and vanilla into the chilled bowl. Beat on low until the ingredients are mixed together, then beat on high until a soft peak forms (about 1 minutes). Then slowly mix in the liquid gelatin while the beaters are on. Beat until a soft peak forms or it reaches the texture of cool whip.
Refrigerate until ready to use. It will stay stable for 24 hours. Replace in any recipe using cool whip, cup for cup.
This recipe can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge.