Home Cannabis A Brief History Of Cannaballs And The Origin Of Pot Brownies

A Brief History Of Cannaballs And The Origin Of Pot Brownies

Did you know that the original marijuana brownies weren’t really brownies? Truthfully, they more closely resembled what we would now call energy balls.

In a nutshell, the story goes like so: Alice B. Toklas, lifelong companion of Gertrude Stein and Paris salon fixture, was writing an autobiographical cookbook in the 1950s. The book included several guest recipes from her bohemian buddies. One of her mischievous friends, Brion Gysin, submitted a recipe for something called “Hashish Fudge,” which comes with the warning that moderation is key and that these little treats might induce thoughts on “many simultaneous planes.” The recipe didn’t actually include any chocolate, but was rather a melange of spices, nuts, and dried fruit, pulverized and formed into little balls.

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Apparently, Toklas didn’t do much recipe testing, because the recipe was submitted in the manuscript and printed in Britain, where it caused quite an uproar (Toklas claimed ignorance, stating that she didn’t recognize the Latin name). It was omitted from later printings, but you can’t un-ring that bell: Alice B. Toklas would be forever associated with cannabis baking.

Photo by Jessie Moore
Photo by Jessie Moore

This simple recipe is inspired by Brion Gysin’s confections. They come together in minutes, but provide much more than one afternoon’s delight.

Canna-Balls

Makes 14-16 servings

  • 1 cup dried figs
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup toasted nuts (I used a mixture of pecans and walnuts)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons cannabutter, melted

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet; set to the side.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except the cannabutter in either a powerful blender (such as a vitamix) or in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Pulse until the ingredients resemble a coarse meal. It should be loose, but when you clump it together, it should stay together.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the melted cannabutter, and gently “knead” the mixture with your hands to evenly distribute it among the mixture.
  5. Using your hands, grab a small handful of the mixture. Press it together, and form into a ball. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Continue with the rest of the mixture. I personally ended up with 14 balls, each about the size of a heaping tablespoon.
  7. Store the balls in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Photo by Jessie Moore
Photo by Jessie Moore

Recipe notes:

These balls are naturally gluten-free; you can make them vegan, too, by using canna-butter made with coconut oil or a non-dairy butter substitute. Remember: it can take up to 2 hours to begin to feel the effects of cannabis-infused treats, and the effects can last for several hours. Enjoy in moderation!

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