Naughty or Nice? Cooking with Marijuana

Use your canna-butter to make naughty or nice baked goods like these.
Use your canna-butter to make naughty or nice baked goods like these.

The Golightly Gourmet, Dana Zia

I thought I’d never see the day but here it is, marijuana is legal in Oregon.  Pinch me. I think I’m in a long winter’s night dream but here we are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stoner type, but I just love the jolly idea of it all!
With marijuana being made legal this year an astounding amount of edible products infused with marijuana have begun to flood the market, like visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.  If you go to the dispensary, like the one here in Manzanita, you’ll see caramels, truffles, brownies, cookies, snack bars and nut butters all infused with marijuana butter or oil. It’s just like Christmas!
Things have come a long ways from the days when I was a teenager and the cookies were baked with the grass itself. We would sneak down to the Saturday market in Portland and find the East Indian baker and ask for her “special” cookies. With a wink and a nod and she would sell you a weed filled cookie that made you feel like a reindeer chewing (and chewing) away on hay mixed with a bit of cookie dough. (Soon after that, you could fly like one of Santa’s reindeers too!)
The secret to sophisticated baked goods that would impress even Santa is to bake with “canna-butter” or “bud butter”. Canna-butter is butter or oil is that is simmered for a long time with marijuana trimmings in it to extract the chemicals like THC and CBD, from it. The chemicals in marijuana are activated by the heat, leave the trimmings and then bond to a fat molecule, the butter or oil.  The weed is then strained out of the butter and you have a product that isn’t full of grass (very literally) but is full of all the compounds that relieve stress, pain and inflammation. Use the butter/oil in any baked good recipe instead of regular butter. Santa would think these treats are quite nice. (After he was done driving, of course)
There are a dizzying amount of different marijuana strains now days that is being compared to wine. They range from naughty to nice. (Heavy stoner weed to gentle buzz weed) If you are looking for pain or stress relief or sleep aide make sure and request a strain at the store that targets what you need. I suggest using the trim off of the buds, not the buds themselves, to create the canna-butter. I believe trim is available for purchase from cannabis stores. You can also ask around and most likely you have a neighbor or friend that is growing a few plants and will happily give you their trimmings.
Remember that your canna butter will be as strong as the marijuana that you use. Go gentle and only try a few bites of your edible marijuana till you find the right fit to your wondering eyes. So dash away, dash away and make your canna-butter and then fly away like the down of the thistle. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good high!


Naughty or Nice Canna Butter
2 quarts of water
1 pound of butter or coconut oil
7 grams of bud trim or leaf

Ok, here we go, trying something racy for the New Year. Get out a large heavy sauce pan, preferably stainless steel.  Bring the 2 quarts of water to a gentle simmer over medium high heat and then carefully place the butter or oil in there and allow it to melt. As soon as it is melted stir in your marijuana till it is completely submerged.
Bring this green fun mix to a gentle simmer then turn the heat down till to keep it just simmering, on my stove that is medium low.  Let it do its magical chemical reaction for about 2-3 hours stirring once in a while. (Your house will begin to smell like the Oregon Country Fair so maybe don’t invite Aunt Mildred over this day.) You will be able to tell it is done cause the top will get this waxy look to it as the oil rises to the top.
Before the canna butter is done, set up your operation to strain the green stuff out. You are going to want something to strain out the leaf and a heat proof mixing bowl. I use a beautiful stainless steel strainer that I use over a stainless steel mixing bowl.  I pour the butter/water mix through the strainer then press out all the moisture through the strainer with a rubber spatula. (There is a lot of moisture in the leaf so make sure and squeeze it)
Some people set up a cheesecloth in a strainer set over a heat proof bowl, secured with clothes pins or a rubber band. Pour the butter/water/leaf mixture through the cheesecloth then when all the liquid is strained undo the secured cloth and squeeze out the liquid.
Put a cover over the bowl with the strained liquid, (yes, it is green) and let it cool down to room temp. Then tuck it in the fridge overnight. In the morning you will have a magical separation waiting for you. The butter/oil will of rose to the top and the water will be on the bottom. Take a knife and cut the hardened butter/oil loose from around the edges of the bowl and carefully remove. Pour the water down the drain, being careful not to spill it. (It’s really stinky) Cut the butter/oil up into quarters and freeze them wrapped up in sturdy plastic till you are ready to bake with it.
Don’t thaw or soften in the microwave as it kills the compounds in it. (Such a bummer!) Use it in recipes that call for butter/oil but be careful! This is not an exact science and you have no idea how strong it will be. I recommend using in recipes that are very rich, like brownies, and only take a nibble or two at first. Wait for 2 hours for the full effect of the THC to come on before you take any more bites.  It’s best to start small and work up. It is VERY uncomfortable to overdue but if you do, eat a banana, drink a bunch of water and go to bed. Know better next time!

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