Nobody who has seen the rise of culinary-based reality television could disagree: cooking is, without question, an incredible art form. At a minimum, cooking demands time, patience and attention to detail — and a whole lot of love.
Baking is often characterized as chemistry: formulaic combinations of wet and dry ingredients. Even if you’re not baking from any new recipe, your results can vary wildly if you’re not careful to follow instructions.
When it comes to baking with cannabis, an already formulaic process gets a little more complicated. It’s not enough to just incorporate the cannabis, you have to be mindful and smart about how you bring a bud into your baking. Here are some of our best tips to start you off in the right direction:
- Don’t try cooking with raw cannabis without decarbing it first. This is a crucial first step to baking. Decarboxylation, or decarbing, converts the THCA (or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) into THC at the right temperature. This process won’t only make your edibles and concentrates more effective, it will also make them safer to consume.
- Why safer? Decarboxylation will greatly reduce the risk of botulism bacteria growth in your butters, oils and tinctures. The bacteria takes time to develop, so make sure to use your baked goods sooner rather than later. If you leave any food out long enough without preservation it can make you sick; in this respect, cannabis is really no different from anything else you consume.
- Set your oven to 220F/105C. If you’re using full buds, grind them up and lay everything out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Break down any larger pieces with your hands; about the size and consistency of table salt is fine. If you’ve got too much for one sheet, you’ll need to lay it out on a separate sheet. Aim for a fairly thin layer, so that all of the moisture can get released.
- A little can go a long way! You can use shake, stems, and leaf trimmings in this extraction process. You can even use mix and save the quality, AAAA-stuff for smoking.
- Place it all in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Depending on how fresh your cannabis is, it may take a bit longer to try out. If the material you’re using is already well dried, 25 minutes should be long enough; otherwise, allow another 25 minutes for a fresher, more dank batch.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness. When making concentrates like tinctures and oils, or any other cannabis product you plan to consume orally, always make sure to use carefully sanitized tools.
Once you’ve decarbed your stash, select your method of infusion and get cooking! There are a wide range of ways you can use your newly decarbed cannabis but for now, we’ll stick with something quick and easy.
On its own, coconut oil has plenty of health benefits: high in healthy saturated fats and it can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Cannabis-infused coconut oil is easy to make and super versatile. Coconut canna oil can be taken alone or baked into all kinds of tasty edibles. Naturally, whichever strain you used for the decarbing process will give the coconut oil that same effect, which also makes it very customizable. For this you’ll need:
- A metal strainer or sieve
- A large bowl or measuring cup
- A jar to store the canna oil
- ~40g of decarbed cannabis
- 2 cups unrefined coconut oil
- Ratio is important to remember. Use 0.5 – 1.5g of cannabis per 1tsp of the coconut oil. As a helpful baseline, 1.5g doses would be great for a more experienced user. First time? Try using just 16g of cannabis to 2 cups of oil.
- Combine all your ingredients into a clean, small saucepan over very low heat. Once all of the coconut oil has melted let your mix simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring every so often.
- Strain the mixture through two layers of cheesecloth in a sieve over a bowl. Let it drip for an hour to make sure everything gets into the bowl, and gently squeeze the rest out by hand.
- Pour the strained mixture into a glass jar and leave it uncovered until it reaches room temperature, at which point it should start to solidify. Keeping the lid off the jar is important; you can’t let condensation form inside the jar.
- Once it’s cooled slap the lid on your container and store it in the fridge. You’ll have concentrated butter for up to a year!
Now you’re finally ready to whip up your baked goods. If this is your first time trying a batch of canna oil, here’s your chance: measure out ¼ to ½ of a tablespoon and taste, waiting at least 2-3 hours before taking more. After checking in with how you’re feeling you should have a good idea of the potency you’re working with.
As a general rule, it’s always better to stick with the baking recipes you’re most familiar with. Knowing how many servings each recipe can produce will help determine roughly how much THC you’ll get per muffin, cookie or tart based on how many tablespoons of oil you used. Add more oil for stronger stuff, or use half butter and half oil for a more mild experience. Whichever route you take, make sure to stir your baking mixture as thoroughly as possible for an even distribution of THC in your batch.