Cannabis baked goods
With the general public’s stance on marijuana decidedly different than it was a decade ago thanks to changes throughout the US, allowing both medical and recreational usages in various states, a happy byproduct is that we have better information than ever when it comes to making weed edibles — a delivery system that continues to reinvent the way that people get high.
While weed edibles these days run the gamut from Thanksgiving recipes to cupcakes, there is no denying that baking cookies or brownies remains an all-time classic. However, knowing how to make edibles requires a certain amount of knowledge, both of cooking and marijuana, to craft the perfect batch.
After all, people are looking for something that both tastes good and is potent. Unfortunately, you can’t get that by simply slapping some pre-bought mix on a cookie sheet, adding crumbled weed, and lobbing it in the oven. Never fear, though. We’ve got you covered when it comes to how to make weed edibles and the perfect edibles recipe.
The actual items you need
So you’ve got some weed and want to start making edibles. That’s a good start. In fact, many might be more at ease handling the marijuana aspect of this gambit than the cooking. But rather than think of your weed edible’s potency as the number one goal, instead think of getting some quality chocolate, such as Guittard or Scharffen Berger.
From there, you’ll want to also pick up six large eggs, two sticks of unsalted butter, vanilla extract, sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. From a utilitarian perspective, you’ll also need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a weed grinder, food processor, wooden spoon, cheesecloth, and two large pots.
Still with me? Good. Then let’s learn how to make edibles so that these weed cookies can eventually turn into weed cake in the future.
Pick your strain
Like with junk food, picking the right strain for making edibles depends on the mood you’re in and the social situation you’re planning for. A simple question to ask is, “Daytime cookie or nighttime cookie?” Although weed impacts everyone differently, sativas give users energy and indicas are better for relaxation and sleep.
Want your cookies to make you want to get up and conquer the world? We suggest Sour Diesel, White Widow, Casey Jones, Golden Goat, or Lemon Skunk. But if you prefer something for you, your Netflix account, and a planned rendezvous with your bed, opt for strains like Bubba Kush, Granddaddy Purple, or White Fire Alien OG.
There’s a reason why marijuana is most commonly smoked rather than eaten. Without heating it up or burning it, raw weed is actually non-psychoactive, chock full of THCA, and actually considered a “superfood” by some, who note 400 different chemical compounds inside the plant, including vitamins, essential oils, and acids.
Thus, to begin the weed edible process, a chef must prepare the weed so the elements that make a person feel high are present in the pastry. As High Times noted, “If you want to get high, you’ll need to cook it, and you’ll need to do it right so you don’t waste it.”
The boiling temperature for THC is 314ºF, and heating your cannabis too much for too long will result in lowered potency. The process itself, however, is rather straightforward:
1. Preheat your oven to 240ºF. If you have an oven thermometer to gauge the oven’s true temperature, even better.
2. Break the leaf down into more manageable pieces and place on a cookie sheet as if toasting spices. Don’t overload the marijuana so pieces are on top of each other.
3. Put the sheet in the oven and monitor for 30-40 minutes (depending on oven strength and the strain of weed). You’re looking for a golden brown color as opposed to the more vibrant green of an untoasted leaf.
4. Take out of the oven and let the toasted marijuana cool. Then put the weed in a food processor and pulse it for a second so it is ground coarsely.
With a major step out of the way, it’s time to make “cannabutter,” infusing your active marijuana into a food perfect for baking: butter. While there are numerous methods for achieving this, some of which take up to eight hours, here is a wafer-simmered version that is both simple and heralded by The Cannabist as the best cannabutter in the US.
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring a quart of water to the boil on the stove. Once boiling, add your sticks of butter and allow them to melt completely. After that, add your marijuana and reduce the heat to simmer. The real key here is that the weed should always be floating about 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. The butter should cook at a low heat for three hours until the mixture starts to get thick at the top.
From there, you’re nearly finished. Take the mixture and place it in a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Then squeeze out the remaining liquid butter. After allowing the liquid butter to cool for an hour, put it in the fridge until it takes on the consistency and texture of a spread.
We swear we’re almost to the part where you can actually eat your weed edible.
Do you get the killer munchies after smoking and want to kill two birds with one stone? We've got you covered with our how to make edibles guide.
Cannabis-Infused Baked Goods Offer Sweet Opportunities
Freshly Baked: Cannabis bakeries are diversifying their offerings to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse marketplace.
This is where it all began—just ask Alice.
Alice B. Tolkas published her famous cookbook in 1954, and it included a recipe for “Haschich Fudge.” The recipe, submitted by a friend for use in the book, was reportedly meant as a joke.
But that joke was heard ’round the world. Sales of the book took off, and its famous recipe—soon dubbed “pot brownies”—put the concept of cannabis edibles on the map.
Today, legal cannabis baked goods like cookies and brownies are staples in dispensaries. According to Cannabis Products data partner BDSA (formerly BDS Analytics), Boulder, CO, based on consumer feedback gathered in March and April 2020, about 70 percent of cannabis consumers have consumed edibles, and 45 percent have tried baked goods. And within the cannabis baked goods category, cookies represent about 55 percent of total sales, with brownies comprising about 20 percent of sales, per BDSA data from January to April 2020.
Sweet Grass was founded in 2009 in Denver, making it one of the first legal cannabis bakeries in the U.S. industry, notes Jesse Burns, marketing manager. “Since inception, the brand has prided itself on a true crop-to-cookie delivery method made special with slow-simmered, triple-strained, full-flower cannabutter.” The product line is distributed to nearly 400 recreational and medical dispensaries throughout Colorado. “In March of 2020, Sweet Grass joined the Infusiasm family of cannabis brands,” he notes. “Sweet Grass will continue to specialize in delicious and innovative baked goods as part of this new portfolio.”
People like the nostalgia of baked goods. “I think it brings back memories of Grandma’s cookies, or memories of their first edible,” says Pete Feurtado, Jr., CEO, Big Pete’s Treats, Santa Cruz, CA, which has been in the California industry since 2009. “Long before cannabis was legal, people were infusing brownies and cookies at their home. We hear a lot of stories about that from our customers. In most cases, the customer would rather buy one of our cookies and know exactly how much cannabis is in each cookie.” He notes that it’s hard to know how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is in each cookie unless you go through a thorough testing process.
Big Pete’s Treats offers a wide range of mini cookie varieties, including Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon & Sugar, and Lemon, each with 10 mg THC per cookie. The Double Chocolate cookies come in an indica-specific variety. The products are distributed to over 100 California dispensaries.
The newest flavor, launched in July, is a Birthday Cake cookie. “It’s a vanilla-flavored cake batter cookie with sprinkles,” says Feurtado. “Over the last few years, we’ve noticed this as a new, exciting flavor that young people gravitate toward. We are also in the final R&D stages of our Coconut cookies that will be vegan and gluten-free.” Brownie Bites are also in the works, and he plans to offer a retail cannabutter product.
The cannabis industry encompasses a wide range of shopper demographics these days, so offering a variety of product options is more important than ever. To that end, Big Pete’s Treats also makes its Chocolate Chip cookies in a sativa-specific variety with 5 mg THC per cookie, as well as a 10:1 cannabidiol (CBD) to THC variety.
Lauren Finesilver, kitchen manager, Sweet Grass, notes that a top trend in edibles today is microdose products, loosely defined as portions consisting of 2.5 mg THC or less. “In baked goods, this trend is manifesting as smaller, snackable pieces that help educate the consumer on how they experience a measured serving of THC,” she says.
“Baked goods, inherently, have a nostalgic appeal,” says Finesilver. “Infused baked goods companies are using unique—yet familiar—flavor profiles to tap into those fond memories from the past.”
This emotional connection opens up opportunities for specialty products released as limited-time offers. “We’ve seen more and more seasonal offerings associated with events and holidays throughout the year,” says Finesilver.
The rise in home baking also dovetails nicely into edibles trends. “Even prior to recent lockdowns, we observed, and participated in, a big uptick in infused ingredients for DIY baking at home,” says Burns. “This has empowered home chefs to put gourmet twists on everyday products.”
Sweet Grass offers a range of recreational cannabis-infused cookies, including Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, White Chocolate Chip Butter Pecan, Peanut Butter, and Ginger Molasses, all offering 10 mg THC per cookie, as well as a Double Chocolate CBD Cookie, made with a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Other bakery products, like its Peanut Butter & Jelly Cup and Brownie Bites, have 10 mg THC each. Medical products include a 50:50 ratio Chocolate Chip Cookie with 65 mg each of THC and CBD, a Peanut Butter & Jelly Cup and mini Pumpkin Pie (seasonally) with 75 mg THC each, and a range of 100-mg THC cookies. Sweet Grass also offers its house-made cannabutter for sale to the public.
“The ‘pot brownie’ is the quintessential cannabis edible,” says Burns. “This baked good paved the way for infused baking as we know it today for the simple reason of how easy it is to make with infused cannabutter.” He notes that this product format is highly prevalent in popular culture and familiar even to non-consumers.
“Everything we make is with cannabutter,” says Feurtado. “This is the highest-quality way to make edibles, because the slow-cooking process of our butter gives our cookies a full spectrum of cannabinoids.” For vegan cookies, they can use a coconut oil infusion.
Feurtado notes that Big Pete’s Treats works with local farms to secure the best-possible trim (the cannabis remaining after trimming harvested flower). “The cannabutter recipe is our secret sauce,” he says. “We slow-cook the cannabis with butter and water. Then we process the butter into blocks. Once the cannabutter is processed and fully homogenized, we test the butter for potency. This allows us to adjust the amount of cannabutter we use to ensure each batch of cookies is consistent.” A key benefit of cannabutter is the fact that it provides a full spectrum of cannabinoids.
Finesilver notes that Sweet Grass makes all of its cookies and brownies with its cannabutter. “This infusion method is much easier than using solvents to extract the THC,” she says. “For this reason, products that can be made with butter have been extremely popular for years.”
The cannabutter at Sweet Grass is a key quality-control measure for its baked goods. “It all starts with cannabis flower,” says Finesilver. “The quality of the input will dictate the quality of the final product. Quality, as it applies to cannabutter, is determined through potency testing.” After decarboxylation of the flower, where the THC is activated through heat and time, the flower is measured, tested, and then slow-simmered in butter for a proprietary amount of time. “Lastly, the butter-flower mixture is strained, cooled, and tested a third time before it can be used to create baked goods.” Staff test product potency again once the cannabutter has been baked into a cookie or brownie. “Strong SOPs in the kitchen ensure consistency between batches.”
Burns notes that Sweet Grass is vertically integrated with its own cannabis cultivation so that the business can directly control its quality inputs.
“Cannabutter is an infusion, meaning the THC from the plant actually bonds with the fat molecules in the butter,” says Finesilver. “This allows for maximum absorption by the liver and a more-robust cannabis experience.” She notes that “mix-in” concentrates, on the other hand, can be more difficult to work with given their high concentration and sticky consistency. “Homogeneity, meaning the even distribution of THC, is key for cannabis food products.”
Offering a homogenous product allows consumers to titrate products (incrementally adjust the dosage) and still have equivalent experiences, says Finesilver. She suggests that it’s always easier to achieve homogeneity with a cannabutter infusion versus a mix-in concentrate.
Feurtado sees a strong future for cannabutter sales for home baking. “I think people will get more and more creative as time goes on,” he says. “DIY products are exciting. You can’t find a cake at a dispensary, and it would be hard to make that in a compliant way to sell at the stores. I think people will be into making their own edibles at home for special occasions.”
Looking toward future opportunities, Burns sees great potential for baked goods in social, public settings. “As social consumption laws are fleshed out around the country, there will be more opportunity for infused baked goods in more traditional bakery and coffee shop settings.”
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This is where it all began—just ask Alice. Alice B. Tolkas published her famous cookbook in 1954, and it included a recipe for “Haschich Fudge.” The recipe, submitted by a friend for use in the book, was reportedly meant as a joke. But that joke was heard ’round the world. Sales of the book took off, and its famous recipe—soon dubbed “pot brownies”—put the concept of cannabis edibles on the map. Today, legal cannabis baked goods like cookies and brownies are staples in dispensaries. According . . .