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How to Cook with Cannabis: Cannabutter, Infused Oil and Edible Recipes

Local contributors share recipes for THC-infused foods

A pile of chocolate-covered pretzels drizzled with white chocolate
Chocolate-covered pretzels by Kit Grimes (Courtesy of The Edible: Incredible!)

For this year’s 4/20 issue, we reached out to three Charlotteans we know to be exceptional cooks when it comes to THC-infused foods to see if they’d be willing to share their favorite recipes. They were all happy to do so — under differing levels of anonymity, of course — so hit the store and get in the kitchen with these instructions.

Intro to Decarbing and Infusion

The key to great edibles starts at the root: All cannabis (flower and concentrate) must first be decarboxylated, aka decarbed. This process converts the THCA in the plant into THC. It is what gives edibles the psychoactive effects. Without doing this, you will not feel a buzz when eating edibles.

Decarbing is simple. Take the flower and grind it up into smaller pieces, throw it on some parchment paper and a baking sheet. Toss the baking sheet in the oven at 240 degrees. Let the bud bake for about 45 minutes. Remember to gently mix the buds around in the baking sheet every 10-15 minutes.

Decarbing concentrate is similar, so still use the parchment paper and baking sheet method. Concentrate does not take as long to decarb — maybe around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the concentrate while it’s in the oven. As soon as you see it start to bubble, it’s been decarbed. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Place it in the freezer to bring the concentrate back to its normal consistency in about 10 minutes. Do not leave your flower or concentrate in the oven longer than necessary. This will cause the THC to bake off, thus losing its full potential.

Now that your cannabis has been decarbed it’s time to infuse! When baking, I find it easier to infuse butter with flower, and olive oil with concentrate. Obviously, there are many other methods, but these methods have been proven to be the most effective for stoners worldwide. – Jessie Rae

Simple conversions for edibles based on the average super funk from your local street pharmacy:  

1 gram of bud = 200 milligrams of THC
1 gram of concentrate = 500 milligrams of THC

How to make cannabutter

Keeping in mind the THC conversion guide just mentioned, decide how much cannabutter you want to make. The average stick of butter is 1/2 cup. This is where some math is going to be required. Remember it’s always easier to infuse the butter with more THC than you may need for one recipe, so that way you will already have cannabutter for next time! When cooking, you can dilute the weed butter by using half weed butter and half regular butter. Or 1/4 cup of butter and 3/4 cup cannabutter … you see where I’m going with this.

On low heat, melt regular butter in a cooking pot. Once butter has melted, add about a cup of water.  Now add your decarbed flower. Let this mixture come to a low simmer. It’s useful here to use a thermometer. You do not want to overcook your butter or else you will lose the THC! Simmer for about two hours at 200 degrees. Never let the mixture come to a boil. After time has passed, remove the pot from the stove. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl. It’s important to use glass because plastic or wooden containers will cause the THC to stick to the sides.

Pro tip: As tempting as it is, do not over squeeze the remainder of your bud through the cheesecloth. This will pull chlorophyll from the plant into the butter causing your butter to taste bad.

Now it’s time to refrigerate. Let the butter hang out in the fridge for about eight hours. Any excess water collected at the bottom of the bowl can be poured out after eight hours. Congratulations! You now have weed butter. – Jessie Rae

How to make cannaoil

On low heat, pour olive oil into a saucepan. Allow olive oil to heat up. Add desired amount of decarbed concentrate. Let simmer over a span of about 10 minutes. Constantly stir the mixture with a nonstick spatula to evenly infuse. Once you no longer see clumps of concentrate, remove the pan from heat. Let cool for a few minutes. Pour the oil into a glass container. Congratulations! You now have weed oil.

Sidenote: If you happen to be an avid concentrate smoker, you may already have decarbed wax just laying around. Any resin found in your rig has already been decarbed. Just use a torch to burn the excess resin out of your piece. Allow the resin to drip onto a sheet of parchment paper. Now you have wax that’s ready for cooking … and a clean rig for smoking! – Jessie Rae

Dosing

If you have never used edibles before, it’s important to start small; 5 milligrams of THC is recommended for a beginner dose. Wait at least an hour to feel the full effects. You can smoke cannabis every day of your life, but anytime you eat cannabis it will be a different experience. This is because the THC is broken down in your body through your liver. In large amounts, users report vivid trips, and in some cases panic attacks. Thankfully, if you do overindulge, you’re not going to die. But you might have a bad time. – Jessie Rae

5-10 milligrams: light affects
20 milligrams: average dose for users
30-50 milligrams: altered reality
50-100 milligrams: you’re really feeling it
100-500 milligrams: intense psychoactive affects

Learn More: How to Grow Weed at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide


Vegan Brownies

Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cannaoil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together. Then add in the water, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix all ingredients together until it becomes a well-blended consistency. Spread mixture into a well-greased 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. You will know the brownies are done when the top layer becomes shiny. Remove from the oven. Let brownies cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting them into even-sized squares. Bong appetite! – Jessie Rae


Stoney Treats

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of cannabutter
1 10-ounce package of marshmallows
6 cups of fruity pebble cereal

Directions:
On low heat, melt cannabutter in a saucepan. Add marshmallows, then stir with nonstick spatula until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Fruity Pebbles cereal. Stir until evenly distributed. Using wax paper or well greased spatula, evenly press the mixture into a 13x9x2-inch pan that has been previously coated with cooking spray. Let cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Enjoy! – Jessie Rae


Infusion expert Kit Grimes is the founder of The Edible: Incredible!, through which she offers services including hospitality consultation, private cooking, workshops and product manufacturing services. Learn more at kitgrimes.tv.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:
1 pound large mushrooms, stems removed
8 ounces lump crabmeat, drained and picked over
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup cannabutter
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Clean the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel and place them in a greased baking dish, with the cavity facing up. In a medium bowl, mix together the crabmeat, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, cannabutter, breadcrumbs, green onions, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Spoon the crab mixture into the mushroom caps, dividing it evenly among them. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is golden brown and bubbly. Serve the crab-stuffed mushrooms hot and enjoy! -Kit Grimes

Four crab-stuffed mushrooms in a circle on a plate with lemon and green onion
Crab-stuff mushrooms by Kit Grimes (Courtesy of The Edible: Incredible!)

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:
1 bag of pretzels (any shape)
8-10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or melting chocolate
2 tablespoons cannabutter (add lecithin to prevent separation from chocolate)
Toppings (optional): sprinkles, crushed nuts, coconut flakes, etc.

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Melt the chocolate chips or melting chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until fully melted and smooth, stirring in the cannabutter as you go. Dip each pretzel into the melted chocolate, using a fork to fully coat the pretzel. Tap off any excess chocolate. Place the chocolate-covered pretzels onto the prepared baking sheet. If using toppings, sprinkle them over the chocolate-covered pretzels while the chocolate is still wet. Allow the chocolate to fully set by placing the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Once the chocolate is set, remove the pretzels from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature before serving or storing. Enjoy your delicious homemade chocolate-covered pretzels! -Kit Grimes


Butterfingers

Ingredients:
1 cup candy corn
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup corn flakes
2 cups milk chocolate melts
1 1/2 tablespoons cannabutter (add lecithin to prevent separation from chocolate: 1 tsp per one cup of cannabutter. This would be 1/10th tsp of lecithin for emulsification, but more can be added as necessary.) Here are some extra tips on using lecithin with cannabutter for edibles.

Directions:
Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. If you have a silicon multi-square mold, that would work well to create individual bites. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the candy corn for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds until fully melted. Stir in the peanut butter until well-combined. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Remove the candy from the baking dish and cut into desired shapes (you can use a sharp knife or a cookie cutter). In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and cannabutter in 20-second intervals, stirring in the lecithin between each interval, until the chocolate is smooth and fully melted. Lecithin is used to emulsify and combine the butter and chocolate. Dip each candy piece into the melted chocolate, tapping off any excess, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to set. Let the chocolate set completely before serving. This can take up to an hour. If using a mold with individual squares: Pour your chocolate into the molds first and let them set, then place your mixture in the chocolate squares, cover the bottoms of the squares with more chocolate and let it set, pop individual squares out and enjoy! -Kit Grimes

A close-up of a butterfinger candy bar with a bite out of it
Butterfingers by Kit Grimes (Courtesy of The Edible: Incredible!)

The anonymous author of the following recipe reminds readers that these can be dangerous if you have the munchies. “You’ll get even more stoned and then you’re stuck in a vicious cycle.”

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:
3 cups raw almonds
3 tablespoons cannaoil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons or 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to lowest setting — do not exceed 265-270 degrees. In a bowl, mix the almonds with the cannaoil and sea salt. Pick the leaves of the fresh rosemary sprig, mince garlic by hand (use pre-minced, but never a garlic press, it will make it clumps of garlic), add to the almonds and stir well. Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes (may take longer, until almonds are lightly toasted, olive oil has started to evaporate/absorb and almonds have a dryer look to them) stirring halfway. -Anonymous


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