Pass the cookies!
Consuming cannabis in edibles such as brownies and gummies has been popular almost as long as smoking it, but we’ve seen a huge culinary resurgence in recent years. This is due to the legalization movement, the widespread rediscovery of cannabis health benefits, and cooking entertainment such as Bong Apetit, Cooked with Cannabis, and CHOPPED 420. Many see it as a healthier way to consume the active ingredients without the harmful carcinogens attached to inhaling burning flower.
It doesn’t take a cannaisseur to know there are multiple aromatic components in cannabis, known as terpenes. These sticky flavor bombs are the same compounds that are found in foods like lemon zest (limonene), pine needles (pinene), and fresh hops (myrcene). There are over 400 known terpenes in cannabis and they act as the main flavor differentiator when sampling strains side-by-side.
These natural compounds are powerful antioxidants that reduce cancer-causing free radicals, protect cells from outside damage, and offer antifungal and antibacterial properties. Emerging research claims that cannabis consumption may prevent COVID-19 and its variants from attaching their spike protein to cells, actively preventing infections after consumption. Sounds pretty chill to me!
When crafting your own edibles, there are tons of resources available in books and online, and techniques vary depending on what your final product might be. I use HERB by Laurie Wolf and Melissa Parks for questions, guides, and recipe inspiration. The most critical ingredient is the budder itself, which will contain all the activated THC and CBD from the flower and is the starting point for any kind of edible.
Dosing, however, is the difference between a laughter-filled Friday night or a paranoid snooze fest. Everyone has a different tolerance level to the active effects of marijuana, so it’s recommended to start with a half serving (5mg THC) if it’s your first time-consuming. Edibles can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours to start feeling the effects, so make sure you wait before you go for another bite!
Below is a simple guide for budder beginners and experts alike, as well as some sweet and savory recipes. Enjoy responsibly!
This is my own recipe and a starting point for any edible-infused recipe. The toasting or decarboxylation of ground cannabis unlocks the full flavor and psychoactive effects — it’s optional but definitely encouraged. Store in a cool, dark place, and use within 6 months.
Makes: 4 cups
Serving size: 1 teaspoon
- 1-ounce cannabis flower, medium ground or 2 ounces cannabis leaf (shake), medium ground
- 4 cups oil (canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, clarified butter, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 240°F. Break-up cannabis flower or cannabis leaf into smaller pieces with your hands. Spread the ground material evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure it toasts evenly (note: this will smell up your kitchen). Remove from oven once toasted.
- In a large saucepan, add oil and heat over low heat. Stir in the cannabis and cook for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes (note: between 200-250°F is the goal — a crockpot works too!). Don’t let it come to a rolling boil or the material will burn.
- Line a strainer or sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl or separate large saucepan. Once the time is up, pour oil through the cheesecloth and press down on cannabis using a spatula to extract as much oil as possible. The leftover plant material can be used in some applications, but most people toss it.
- Let the oil cool to at least room temperature before transferring to a glass jar with a lid and store it in a cool, dark place or the freezer.
Salted Almond Butter Chocolate Bites
Sweet, salty, nutty, chocolatey and totally delicious. The strong flavors of chocolate and almond butter almost completely mask the herbaceous oil so it’s a great recipe for first-time cooks. The sweet bites might inspire you to make it without the active ingredients!
Makes: 16 bites
Serving size: 1/16 piece
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons prepared cannaoil
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, crushed
- 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar (plus more, if needed)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain almond butter, divided
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Flaky salt, like Maldon sea salt, as needed (optional)
- Line an 8”x8” square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, prepared cannaoil, crushed graham cracker crumbs, and confectioners’ sugar. Stir in 1 cup of almond butter and if the mixture is too soft, add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Press evenly into the baking pan.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of almond butter with the semi-sweet chocolate chips over a double boiler, or in the microwave stirring every 20 seconds. Stir until smooth and spread over the almond butter layer. Sprinkle the chocolate with flaky salt, if desired.
- Chill in the refrigerator until completely firm, about 2 hours. Let sit on the counter for 10 minutes before removing it and the parchment from the pan. Slice into 16 equal-sized pieces.
- Cover leftover bars tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Enjoy!
Try this chimichurri sauce on grilled chicken, pan-fried tofu, cast-iron steak, poached fish, roasted vegetables, salads, and much more! The herbaceous-infused flavors play well with the fresh parsley, savory garlic, and bright lime juice.
Makes: 1 cup sauce
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
- 1 bunch Italian parsley (~2 cups), chopped
- 4 each cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons prepared cannaoil
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Pinch red chili flake, or to taste
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the Italian parsley, garlic cloves, budder, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, dried oregano, salt, black pepper, and red chili flake. Pulse until pureed.
- Enjoy grilled steak, pan-fried tofu, avocado toast, roasted vegetables, tomato salad, poached fish, and much more!