There’s a new ingredient being used across kitchens in America: cannabis. As recreational and medical marijuana programs are expanded at the state level, more home cooks and trained chefs are incorporating cannabis into their cuisines.
Edibles are one of the most popular ways of using cannabis to relieve pain or feel psychoactive effects, and baked goods made with marijuana are becoming favorites of those who love macarons, brownies, donut holes, and all other sweet treats. Budding home cooks with access to recreational or medical marijuana need only an oven range, a couple of baking basics, cannabis flower and some ingenuity in the kitchen.
If it’s your first foray using cannabis in your baking, no worries, this guide will walk you through the essentials, best practices and what to avoid.
Making cannaoil and cannabutter
All baked goods start with some common bases — none more important than the fats, like oil and butter. Although some more accomplished chefs can make marijuana flour, sugar or milk, the easiest way to using cannabis in the kitchen is infusing marijuana into cooking oil and/or butter.
The resulting products, cannaoil, and cannabutter, can become versatile bases for any baking confection you’d like to make.
Step 1: Pick your flower
Do you want your baked goods to produce a relaxing body high or mental stimulation? Perhaps relief from chronic pain or anti-anxiety effects? These outcomes depend on the strain you choose.
Sativa strains of marijuana can have heady effects, while Indica strains can have euphoric or body effects. Hybrids have been known to combine the best of both. Basically, the question you may want to ask is you do you want to eat this cookie before a social event or before sitting down to watch a movie at night?
As to how much flower you need, 1 cup of marijuana is equal to 7 to 10 grams.
Step 2: Decarboxylate the marijuana
This is a hugely important step for making either cannaoil or cannabutter. The process of decarboxylation, or “decarbing,” is necessary to activate the cannabinoid compounds in the marijuana. This is done by baking the marijuana buds, which achieves the same chemical reaction as smoking does so that the marijuana works upon ingestion.
- Preheat your oven to 245 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Break down the marijuana buds into manageable pieces (you’ll grind it all up later).
- Spread the contents in an even layer across a nonstick baking sheet.
- Leave for 30-40 minutes, periodically checking and tossing the buds.
The marijuana is decarboxylated once the buds have turned from green to a reddish-brown hue.
Recently harvested flower may take longer, while older dried-out buds will take less time. You can also set the oven to up to 300 degrees and decarb for less time; but like barbeque, low and slow is the way to go.
Step 3: Grind it up, heat the butter/oil and add the cannabis
As mentioned, once the decarbing process is done, grind up the marijuana. You can do this with a traditional hand-held grinder or a cutting board and knife.
As you’re doing that, starting bringing your oil or butter up to heat in a saucepan over a medium flame. As the butter melts or the oil heats, add the ground cannabis and turn the flame down to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for two to three hours, stirring occasionally and never allowing it to come to a boil.
Step 4: Strain it and store it
Once the infusion process is complete, place cheesecloth, fine mesh or a sieve over the lid or mouth of your preferred storage vessel and carefully pour the mixture through. Allowing the oil or melted butter to pour slowly will help with straining out plant material.
Refrigerate the butter or safely store the oil and voilà you have a cannabis-infused baking base to substitute in your favorite chocolate-chip recipe.
The dos and don’ts
Here are some helpful pointers for the process of making cannabutter or cannaoil, and what comes after:
Do decarboxylate – Many well-intending home cooks have tossed marijuana flower into butter, whipped up an entire batch of cookies and not felt a thing. Decarboxylation is critical to activating the THC and CBD, yet many bypass the step. Always be sure to properly prepare your ingredients.
Don’t use a food processor or coffee grinder – Using these appliances to expedite the process may result in marijuana that is too finely ground. This can lead to inefficient straining, which itself leads to a bad-tasting product.
Do stir thoroughly – Remember, 1 cup of marijuana is equal to 7-10 grams, and ensuring those contents are spread evenly through the product is important. You may need to stir whatever you’re using diligently to prevent one puffed rice square from containing no cannabis and another having too much.
Don’t forget to test – Once you’ve made your butter, take a ¼ or ½ teaspoon (a pad of butter or so) and spread it on toast or some other snack. Wait an hour and note the effects. This helps establish a baseline for consistent and safe dosing, as you can multiply up for different recipes.
Do have fun – This is the time to get creative with your baking creations. If you’re a fan of the many bake-off shows airing today, maybe you want to replicate a favorite entry with cannabutter. And if your initial cannabis-infusing effort doesn’t go well, don’t worry, you can take what you’ve learned and try again.
Recipe ideas for baking with cannabis
Now that you have a cannabis-infused product to bake with, there’s no limits to what you can use it for.
Some baked goods you may want to think about using cannaoil or cannabutter in are:
- Apple turnovers
- Chocolate fudge
- Sugar cookies
- Cake pops
- Cereal or oatmeal bars
Have questions about edibles and cannabis? Contact Verilife today to learn more about recreational and medical marijuana dispensary options in your area.