Before you run, you need to walk. That is to say, before you can make mad delicious weed brownies, you’ve got to master the magically intoxicating key ingredient: cannabutter.
Cannabutter is exactly what it sounds like: cannabis and butter (or, if you’re vegan, a non-animal based fat such as coconut butter). It’s made by slow-cooking the aforementioned ingredients with a little water; this “low and slow” cooking allows you to extract the THC from the fat-soluble cannabis. It takes a while to make, but at the end of your culinary caper, you’ll be left with a slightly green-tinged spread which can be employed in any number of ways: as a topping for some bread, an addition to baked goods, or a palate-pleasing addition to mashed potatoes.
Making cannabutter is not difficult, but it does require a little time and the proper technique. Pick a day when you’re going to be around the house; while the recipe doesn’t require a lot of active time, you have to be around to monitor the progress for several hours.
Serving suggestion: You don’t necessarily need to substitute cannabutter for regular butter in a 1:1 ratio in recipes, especially if the recipe calls for a lot of butter. Personally, I budget for a few teaspoons per person per serving in whatever recipe I’m using. So, for instance, if I was making a cookie recipe that yields 12 cookies, I might use 12 teaspoons of cannabis butter and use “regular” butter for the remainder called for in the recipe. Of course, this can be adjusted to your taste and tolerance.
Note: This is a fairly small batch. The recipe can be scaled for larger quantities; simply follow the same ratios.
- ¼ ounce marijuana
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 pint water (may need more during cooking)
Just as you would toast nuts to bring out their flavor and prime them for baking, you want to toast your marijuana before making cannabutter. This process is called decarboxylation. Scatter the marijuana on a lined, rimmed baking sheet; toast at 240 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, turning a few times throughout the baking. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely.
Finely grind the cannabis, using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the butter. Once the butter has melted (it will be pretty quick) reduce heat to the lowest simmer you can, and add the ground cannabis.
Cook for about 3 hours, stirring every now and again, and making sure that the marijuana doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. In terms of doneness, you’re going to notice that as the water evaporates, the liquid will become thick and glossy.
When it’s starting to look almost done, set up either cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer perched above a heatproof bowl. Strain the cannabutter over the bowl, making sure to get every last drop from the pan. If using a cheesecloth, squeeze to strain out any last bits of liquid; if using a strainer, press down with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Let the liquid cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill thoroughly. After about an hour, you can remove the cannabutter from the bowl and scrape off any excess cooking water. You’re ready to get baking!
Store well-wrapped cannabutter in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.